I didn’t leave the Ottawa Senators 2021 season preview until last because that’s where they will finish in the North Division, honestly. I mean they will, but that had no say in how things worked out. This is not the season for the Ottawa hockey club but don’t worry fans, the Senators’ time is fast approaching.
A quick look at their prospect pool should be enough for any Ottawa Senator fan to feel pretty good. Especially considering what is already on their NHL roster. At the time of writing, Cap Friendly has them projected as the second-youngest team in the NHL and two of their three Alternate Captains are 23 years old or younger.
Thomas Chabot and Brady Tkachuk (the two alternate captains mentioned above) will be vital to the future success of this Ottawa team. Chabot is already averaging 26 minutes of ice time on the blue line while Tkachuk put up 44 points during the 2019-20 season. This was a slight decrease from Tkachuk compared to the 2018-19 season but it was not significant enough to cause any concern.
Add to this that Ottawa had three first-round picks in the 2020 Draft and the future should be bright. Tim Stuetzle in particular looked impressive during the 2021 World Juniors with Germany, despite a 2-1 quarterfinal loss to Russia on Saturday. Stuetzle will be joining the Senators training camp once his seven day isolation period is complete and it will be interesting to see what line they put him on if at all.
To acquire the services of Matt Murray for only a depth player in Jonathan Gruden and a 2020 second-round draft pick was a fantastic piece of business by Pierre Dorion. Especially since it became obvious Craig Anderson wasn’t sticking around. This is a massive upgrade IF Murray can regain his form and confidence.
They also acquired Erik Gudbranson from the Anaheim Ducks for a fifth-round pick in the 2021 draft. Given how many draft picks the Senators had accumulated it was smart to use the lower picks to try get some depth. Problem is, with Ottawa’s current problems Gudbranson will play much higher than his talents deserve.
Other notable additions: Derek Stepan, Evgeni Dadonov, Austin Watson, and Alex Galchenyuk
Craig Anderson was a serviceable goaltender for nearly a decade with the Ottawa Senators. However, with the team currently rebuilding and age catching up with him it was the right move for both parties to call it a day. Anderson will get a chance to chase that cup dream with the Washington Capitals while Ottawa hopes Murray returns to form and helps speed up the rebuild.
Given the fact Ottawa Senators are after young talent they can build around it was surprising they let forward Anthony Duclair walk. The left-winger ended up with the Florida Panthers for less money, according to reports, after deciding to represent himself. The Senators on the other hand could be stacked on the left side depending on where Tim Stuetzle ends up.
Projected Forward Lines
|Brady Tkachuk||Derek Stepan||Colin White|
|Evgeni Dadonov||Tim Stuetzle||Connor Brown|
|Artem Anisimov||Logan Brown||Alex Galchenyuk|
|Austin Watson||Chris Tierney||Drake Batherson|
Projected Defensive Lines
|Thomas Chabot||Erik Gudbranson|
|Mike Reilly||Nikita Zaitsev|
|Christian Wolanin||Joshua Brown|
Last. The Ottawa Senators in 2021 are going to finish last. I’m sorry Senators fans but you know I speak the truth. They will be interesting to watch this year though for several reasons.
I want to see how Stuetzle adapts to the NHL after watching his World Juniors. I want to see if Brady Tkachuk can bring his game to another level after two similar seasons. And lastly, I want to see if Thomas Chabot can break the 30-minute average ice time mark. It’s not like they have an abundance of talent on the back-end so it might just happen.
Final predicted North Division standings
|2.||Toronto Maple Leafs|