Lessons The Ottawa Senators Can Learn From the Tampa Bay Lightning

DALLAS, TX - JUNE 22: Genral Manager of the Ottawa Senators Pierre Dorion speaks with a runner prior to the first round of the 2018 NHL Draft at American Airlines Center on June 22, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - JUNE 22: Genral Manager of the Ottawa Senators Pierre Dorion speaks with a runner prior to the first round of the 2018 NHL Draft at American Airlines Center on June 22, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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Filip Gustavsson #32 of the Ottawa Senators (Photo by Jason Halstead/Getty Images)
Filip Gustavsson #32 of the Ottawa Senators (Photo by Jason Halstead/Getty Images) /

Versatility

Something truly special about this Tampa Bay Lightning team was their ability to adapt to every opponent they played and beat them in any style. Whether it was the high-scoring Florida Panthers, well-rounded Boston Bruins, defensively sound New York Islanders, or the gritty Montreal Canadiens, the Lightning were able to win in every way possible.

This goes hand-in-hand with the team’s depth. They can outscore any opponent, grind them down physically, or play tight-checking and defensive hockey. It also helps to have a Conn Smythe winning goaltender in net to steal a couple of games when everyone is off the pace.

Luckily for Senators fans, it looks like this is already something Pierre Dorion might be trying to build. Those who regularly watch the Senators are well aware of their physical presence every night, and the team is beginning to shape up better defensively as top prospects grow on the backend, and some of their young forwards learn to play a two-way game.

The only two areas the Senators may still be lacking is in their ability to score at an elite level or have a goalie who can steal them games. As mentioned, the team still looks like it’s lacking another significant scorer up front. With the flat cap causing many big names to become available this summer, it may be a good time for Pierre Dorion to dip into the team’s wealth of prospects and picks to make them more formidable up front.

The emergence of both Filip Gustavsson and Joey Daccord is easing minds in the goaltending department, but it’s relatively impossible to speculate on what this part of the team is going to look like until after the expansion draft. Perhaps a resurgent Matt Murray could recapture his cup-winning form down the line and guide the Senators to some extra wins along the way, Given his play during his debut Senators season, nobody is holding their breath.

Ottawa may have the chance to address either of these needs with the 10th overall pick in this year’s NHL Entry Draft, with rumoured interest in forwards Chaz Lucius and Cole Sillinger, or through top eligible goaltender Jesper Wallstedt.

However the Senators choose to go about improving the versatility of their team, it’s visibly apparent that they do so. One dimensional teams like the Montreal Canadiens make for nice runs and good stories, but if the Senators goal is to be consistently good for many years like the Tampa Bay Lightning, they’ll need to be able to win in a variety of ways,