Ottawa Senators Season Preview: Forwards

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - NOVEMBER 13: Brady Tkachuk #7 of the Ottawa Senators looks on before a face off in the third period against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on November 13, 2019 in Newark, New Jersey.The Ottawa Senators defeated the New Jersey Devils 4-2. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - NOVEMBER 13: Brady Tkachuk #7 of the Ottawa Senators looks on before a face off in the third period against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on November 13, 2019 in Newark, New Jersey.The Ottawa Senators defeated the New Jersey Devils 4-2. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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Drake Batherson #19 of the Ottawa Senators (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)
Drake Batherson #19 of the Ottawa Senators (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images) /

Brady Tkachuk

The Senators best forward, and arguably best player once again enters the season as the leader of the forward group.

Tkachuk nearly reached an unprecedented milestone last season when he was on pace to record 300+ shots and hits, this would have made him the first-ever player to do so. Entering another season where the record will be impossible to hit, however, expect Tkachuk to set another great pace with his net-front presence and physical play.

The staple on the first-line left-wing, and a net-front presence on the powerplay, Tkachuk will have every opportunity to lead the forward group in multiple statistical categories.

2020-21 Prediction: 56GP 20G 24A 44P

Josh Norris

Norris 21, will start the season centring the top line, a testament to how much Norris has grown since entering the professional ranks just last season. Surprising many people (including me) last season when he fired home 31 goals in just 56 games with Belleville, Norris looked primed for the NHL a year before anyone had expected. Already having dipped his toe in the NHL waters last season when he suited up for 3 games at the end of the season, Norris knows what to expect.

Norris hones great goal-scoring ability and combined with Tkachuk they could cause significant problems to opposing teams, especially with a playmaker with the talent of Drake Batherson on the right-wing. D.J. Smith has been hesitant confirming that this line will stay together, while they may not stay together the whole year, Friday night they will start the season together.

2020-21 Prediction: 56GP 13G 9A 22P

Drake Batherson

Calling Batherson the most gifted offensive player in the Senators system wouldn’t be a stretch, even with the insertion of Tim Stuetzle into the lineup, that’s how good Batherson is. Honing exceptional playmaking ability, Batherson has been one of the better point producers in the whole AHL over the last two seasons, the only thing he’s yet to conquer so far is the big leagues.

While training camp has been limited in its media coverage, there have been rave reviews regarding Batherson’s play:

Something that couldn’t have been said last season when Batherson started the season slowly. This upcoming season will hopefully be the year that the top prospect finally becomes an NHL player.

2020-21 Prediction 56GP 10G 26A 36P

Tim Stützle

Yes Tim Stützle, not Stuetzle, will be suiting up on Friday, likely playing with Derek Stepan and Evgenii Dadonov. The most dynamic forward on the Senators by far should be able to create extra space for Stepan and an upper-echelon goalscorer such as Dadonov. Stützle relies heavily on his outstanding playmaking ability and that shouldn’t change as he will likely be setting up his linemates constantly.

Timmy Süperstar has already been debuting his skills during the first scrimmage open to the media, his speed is such a weapon:

If there’s one thing the Senators have missed in their forward group during the past few seasons is pace, and Stützle brings world-class skating to the table.

The most exciting debut for a Senators player that I can remember, just imagine if the fans could be there to witness it.

One of the favourites for the Calder as well, Stützle can be found in the top-5 in betting odds.

2020-21 Prediction: 56GP 14G 18A 32P

Derek Stepan

The step-dad to Stützle, D.J. Smith and Pierre Dorion are hoping this can be a season long partnership that guides the German forward throughout his first year of hockey in North America.

Entering his 11th season in the NHL, Stepan has had a solid career to date, scoring 479 points in 739 games and he leads all Senators players in career points. A career low 28 points last season doesn’t paint a pretty picture for Stepan, but he never seemed comfortable in Arizona, the last two seasons being mired by mediocre production.

A change of scenery may be what Stepan needs to crack the 50+ point pace which he did for 7 consecutive seasons stretching from 2011-2018. If Stepan regains his form, he would be an ideal player to dangle at the deadline as a rental for a contending team.

2020-21 Prediction: 56GP 9G 16A 25P

Evgenii Dadonov

Without a doubt, the most surprising signing of the offseason, maybe even in the NHL was the inking of Dadonov, a 31-year-old dynamic goal scorer by Pierre Dorion. One of the better moves Dorion has made as a General Manager, this offers the team a known commodity (which they don’t have many of), who can help the younger players find their stride by getting him the puck.

Dadonov scored 11 powerplay goals last season on one of the better units in the league, while Ottawa was dead last in powerplay efficiency. Highlighting the first unit of the man advantage, it would surprise nobody to see Dadonov’s name in the team lead in powerplay goals and for that fact, total goals.

2020-21 Prediction: 56GP 19G 23A 42P