It’s 2020, the world is literally crumbling beneath our feet and the state of our beloved, Ottawa Senators is quite possibly more in jeopardy now than ever before. Here is why I’m feeling optimistic about the future
Fresh off the heels of an important but sombre interview with Ian Mendes and Lee Versage on TSN 1200’s the drive, if you’re reading this right now, I thank you, you’re contributing to a great cause.
Here’s a link to the interview if you’re interested in learning more and donating to a great cause. Alright, brace yourselves, I’m about to become “Mr. M’s favourite tweep, a REAL fan” here and go full Jack Maxwell for this one. Here are my top 3 reasons to be an optimist about the future of the Ottawa Senators (yes, you heard that correctly)
The 2020 NHL Draft
First and foremost the 2020 NHL draft is absolutely loaded with talent up front. If you’re a fan of the team you already know that Ottawa will choose twice within the top 5 at picks #3 and #5. Here’s an article I wrote earlier this month, outlining several different potential scenarios for those picks and offering my personal grades on each one.
Aside from the two top picks, Ottawa holds more draft capital in this draft than any other draft in the history of their franchise as well as any other team in the league. It’s clear that Pierre Dorion circled this draft as THE draft when formulating a rebuild plan. It’s not just the total amount of draft picks (13) but the quality of these picks (3 1st’s, 4 2nd’s and 2 3rd’s) including 9 total picks inside the top 3 rounds. Here’s a look at just how significant this draft could be in terms of expected NHL talent for Ottawa.
Credit to HFboards Ryan Caddy
As Ryan graciously points out, the Sens are due for a draft return of epic proportions. Getting nearly 6, expected NHL players from one draft is almost unheard of, but that’s the situation that Pierre Dorion and his scouting staff enter and in case you forgot, it’s only two weeks away (October 6/7).
If the star-calibre draft prospects don’t get you excited enough, this also happens to be the day that the Senators finally unveil the long-awaited modern-day, 2D jerseys to complete there rebrand.
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We have seen our fair share of knock off’s (thanks to our good friends at Giant Tiger, among other places) and the team has at least provided us with the official 2D logo. Subtle changes have been made to the logo that the team last wore in 2007, the logo now has a gold trim around the cape of the Centurion. We’ve heard from the team that the jerseys will very much replicate the one’s that the Senators last wore, before changing to the current 3D logos and jerseys. As recently pointed out by Icethetics, the Senators might have in fact hired John Doe, from his mother’s basement to adjust their current 2d logo.
This may be an amateur job when analyzed by a professional designer through a 10x zoom microscope but let’s be real here, there’s plenty to be upset at as an Ottawa Senators fan in 2020, and this is not it.
The rebrand is exciting and the organization listened to the fanbase! Lets take the wins when we get them and not seek ways to spin them into losses. Positive reinforcement works, just ask B.F Skinner, perhaps we should be offering Mr. Melnyk a chocolate candy for this one. In all honesty, fresh, new star players to go with a fresh new (but classic) look will hopefully be the start of something special and at the very least make the team more appealing to the general hockey market.
The Prospect Pool
Where to get started, Recently, TSN’s Craig Button ranked Ottawa’s prospect pool an A, the tops among all 7 Canadian teams and one of the very best in the entire league as he had this to say.
"“One of the very best prospect pools in the entire NHL, 7/10 of their top prospects are can’t miss NHL players ” Craig Button"
The prospect pool is evidently loaded for the young Sens and this list will only get much, much stronger after the aforementioned draft. The Athletic’s, Corey Pronman recently completed his annual look at organizational rankings in which he ranked the Senators 7th overall.
"“Ottawa has had some tough years, seeing top players like Erik Karlsson and Mark Stone be dealt and losing a lot of games. The byproduct of that is a lot of premium young assets — with this article being written before they get two top-five picks in the 2020 NHL Draft. They don’t have all the pieces they need yet, but a foundation is being built here, led by fourth-overall pick Brady Tkachuk, that could help lead Ottawa out of the dark times.” Corey Pronman"
With a number of young, key players and prospects on the verge of breakout seasons, it comes with little debate, if the Senators can lock up whom they eventually determine to be their future core group (joining Thomas Chabot and Colin White), this team could or perhaps should be among the leagues very best in a few years.
Drafts are fun, new jerseys are cool but ultimately it comes down to winning and losing. Can the Ottawa Senators become a winning hockey team once again? Will the vulnerability of ownership, a failed new arena deal and a disgruntled hockey market have too much bearing weight on the likelihood of success ever returning to the Nation’s capital? At least, as I sit here on September 22 2020, I can tell you that I’m beginning to feel hope returning, the optimism increasing and the sense of direction looking up, despite the many hurdles that remain obvious as we approach the future of the Ottawa Senators.