Ottawa Senators: Predicting the Opening Day Lineup

OTTAWA, ON - NOVEMBER 27: Erik Brannstrom #26 of the Ottawa Senators skates in a game against the Boston Bruins at Canadian Tire Centre on November 27, 2019 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)
OTTAWA, ON - NOVEMBER 27: Erik Brannstrom #26 of the Ottawa Senators skates in a game against the Boston Bruins at Canadian Tire Centre on November 27, 2019 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images) /
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TORONTO, ON – OCTOBER 02: Anders Nilsson #31 of the Ottawa Senators warms up prior to an NHL game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena on October 2, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON – OCTOBER 02: Anders Nilsson #31 of the Ottawa Senators warms up prior to an NHL game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena on October 2, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /

Starter

Anders Nilsson

Before missing the latter half of last season with a concussion, Nilsson had cemented himself as the starting goalie over Craig Anderson. Carrying a 9-9-2 record with a 0.908 SV% and a 3.18 GAA, the numbers don’t looks great at first glance, but playing with one of the league’s worst teams it’s tough to post great numbers as the last line of defence.

Last offseason Nilsson was signed to a two-year deal worth $5.2 million, to keep him with the team through the 2020-21 season. Nilsson has greatly outplayed Craig Anderson during his time with Ottawa and now with Anderson a UFA (Unrestricted Free Agent), he should take the reigns as the Senators starter.

Backup

Marcus Hogberg

Now, this is where it gets interesting, Ottawa has seemingly an easy decision to make here, but could make the crease crowded with bringing in a goalie via free agency.

Ottawa has an ideal situation now with a veteran goaltender in Nilsson starting and a talented backup looking to cement himself at the NHL level. Hogberg was very solid in his first NHL season, going 5-8-8 with a 0.904 SV% and 3.12 GAA, the ridiculous amount of overtime losses was for the majority bad luck, it also proves that Hogberg regularly gave Ottawa a chance to win the game and that’s all you want from your goaltender.

Allowing Hogberg to play in the NHL alleviates some of the concern about the goalie situation in the minors, Ottawa would be able to now start with Daccord and Gustavsson in the AHL and Mandolese in the ECHL. The goalie room would fall into place perfectly if Ottawa just keeps the status quo.