With the new season starting soon, I figured it was time to start discussing the roster for the upcoming season. In this mini-series, I will discuss possible line combinations, which young guns make the cut, and more. Today we will start with my 2021 Ottawa Senators roster prediction for the forwards.
First-line: Tkachuk – White – Dadanov
I’ll skip over the obvious (Brady Tkachuk and Evgenii Dadonov) and move straight to Colin White. Colin White was underwhelming last season after only scoring 7 goals and 16 assists for 23 points in 61 games last season, but he has been really good for the Sens. Drafted in 2015, the American forward has scored 23 goals and 47 assists for 70 points in 155 games played. While those numbers are not mind-boggling, they aren’t half bad for a three year veteran in the NHL.
White is known for his more defensive play, but I think with the right linemates and being used correctly, his offence will shine. That is why I have him starting off the season on the first line with Tkachuk and Dadonov.
Second Line: Stueztle – Stepan – Batherson
After signing his Entry-Level Contract, Tim Stueztle is going to crack a spot in this year’s lineup. I would rather have “Timmy” play center, but it’s pretty much been confirmed that he will start the year on the wing.
Derek Stepan is a key veteran that has a proven track record and I see him playing a key role in helping Tim Stueztle developing into a superstar. Similarly to Mark Stone mentoring Brady Tkachuk in his rookie season.
Stepan will also serve as a mentor to another young player in Drake Batherson, who also cracks this lineup in my mockup of the Ottawa Senators. Batherson has high potential in the NHL and it is highly believed that he will crack the Senators lineup this season.
Third Line: Galchenyuk – Tierney – C. Brown
This line is a bit more of a toss-up for me. I could see Connor Brown playing on the second line if Batherson does not crack the NHL lineup, or simply if Batherson does not perform as expected.
Same thing with Galchenyuk. I could see him move up to the second line if Stueztle transitions to center at some point or if he simply outperforms the german forward. I think that second line spot is Timmy’s to lose, but you never know.
I sound like a broken record, but the same goes for Chris Tierney. If White does not perform to the standards expected of him, I could see him drop to the third line and Tierney would jump to the second line. Ottawa has a problem when it comes to centers – we have too many centers. It is not a bad problem to have, but it leaves for an interesting conversation.
Fourth Line: Paul – Paquette – Watson
This line was probably the easiest out of all of them. I have this fourth line as a gritty line. Two-thirds of this line are new faces in the Senators locker room in Cedric Paquette and Austin Watson.
Paquette is a great bottom 6 center who can also be utilized on the penalty kill if needed. He also has a Stanley Cup ring!
Austin Watson is the closest thing the Senators will have to an enforcer(Micheal Haley plays in the AHL in my prediction)
Nick Paul rounds this line out great as a swiss-army-knife type of player. He can do a bit of everything. Really reminds me of Jean-Gabriel Pageau in that way.
I will start off by saying that the Taxi Squad does not make 100% sense to me yet, but I’m also writing this article at 3 am after work, so I think I deserve some slack here. According to this tweet made by CapFriendly, each NHL team is allowed up to 6 Taxi-Squad players. I will limit this to 3 forwards, 2 defensemen and 1 goalie.
The following players make the taxi-squad:
Logan Shaw, Artem Anisimov, Matthew Peca.
I went with these players because it would be a waste of resources to have a prospect in the taxi-squad. I’d rather have more established players who can contribute to the NHL team if needed. Shaw, Anisimov and Peca form a really solid Taxi-Squad for the Sens in my opinion.
Those are my line combinations to start the new season, things could change, but you never know.
I think this Sens team can do a lot better than most people would imagine.
As always, you can follow me on Twitter @JacobLarivire for more of my content!