Attempting to Predict Rosters: Defense and Goalies

Ottawa Senators defenceman Thomas Chabot #72 is a top candidate for the captaincy. (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)
Ottawa Senators defenceman Thomas Chabot #72 is a top candidate for the captaincy. (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images) /

In this mini-series, I am trying my best to predict the opening night roster for the Ottawa Senators this upcoming season. A few days ago, I talked about forwards. You can find that article here. Today, I will attempt to predict the defensemen and goalies for the Sens this year.

Related Story. Predicting Forwards. light

First Pair: Chabot-Gudbranson

Would I normally have Erik Gudbranson play with Chabot? Maybe not. I’d rather Guddy in a lesser role, say a top 6 d-man. But given that coach DJ Smith said he will use him as Chabot’s main partner, I had to put these two together.

Gudbranson has seen ups and downs in his career, and honestly, I think he will benefit from playing with the elite Thomas Chabot. I’ve even seen people say that Gudbranson could possibly turn out to be what Marc Methot was to Erik Karlsson. I’d love to see that.

Second Pair: Brannstrom/Wolanin – Zub

I’d love to see Erik Brannstrom get a top 4 spot in this team, and I definitely believe he has the talent to achieve this role, but you never know.

 If Brannstrom does not crack this team, I think that Wolanin would be the next person to consider.

As for Artem Zub, It was said a little while ago that the coaching staff was really impressed with him so far. I think this is his spot to lose.

Third Pair: Reilly – Zaitsev

Truthfully, if I could, I would scratch Nikita Zaitsev entirely, but he IS Ottawa’s second-highest-paid defenseman so I could not justify scratching him. That being said, I can not justify him getting more minutes than anyone else on this team. I honestly see him alternate with Josh Brown in this role, and I could even see Zaitsev being bought out, or traded next offseason. He has NOT been great so far in Ottawa. Still, I would rather him than Cody Ceci.

As for Mike Reilly, he is Ottawa’s second-best defenseman right now(that’s sad to say. Nothing against Reilly, but it’s sad that he is our second-best defenseman) and I could definitely see him move up and down the lineup throughout the year.


This one is probably the easiest prediction. I have Matt Murray and Marcus Hogberg in net for the Sens. Murray was brought in to be the de facto starter for this team, and I think Hogberg will be a serviceable backup.


In my last article in this series, I mentioned that I would have three forwards, two defensemen and one goalie in my taxi squad. For Defense, I would have Braydon Coburn and Josh Brown. Brown is a good 7th defenseman on most teams and I think he could squeeze in some games here and there barring injuries or trades.

Coburn, I would see him more in the lineup throughout the year tho. Truth be told, I still don’t completely understand the taxi squads and I don’t know if they can be regularly in games.

In net, I decided to have fun with this one and I will suggest Kevin Mandolese. I coulda said a guy like Filip Gustavsson or even Joey Daccord, but I think it would be better for them to play regular minutes in the AHL. I could see Mandolese benefitting from a full year of constant NHL training, getting back up time in case of injury.

Closing Thoughts

With that being said, that concludes my mini-series predicting the Ottawa Senators’ opening lineup!

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