Ottawa Senators


by Michaela Schreiter

1. Erik Karlsson.

Coming off a Norris Trophy-winning season, Erik Karlsson is without a doubt the Senators’ best player. He led the team in scoring last season, with 66 points (21, 45) in 82 games. Under coach Dave Cameron, Karlsson’s defensive responsibility and maturity have greatly improved. He went from a plus-minus of minus-15 in 2013-14 to plus-7 in 2014-15. Unlike last season, Karlsson will get to start the year with his linemate Marc Methot, who has proven to be by far the best match for the Sens’ captain. Starting the season healthy, under Cameron and with Methot on his line, Karlsson will be Ottawa’s biggest threat this year.

2. Sophomore year.

Last season, one of Ottawa’s biggest strengths was their youth. Young guys like Curtis Lazar and Jean-Gabriel Pageau were just coming into the league, and the possibilities were endless. Well, this season it’s not only youth that gives Ottawa an upper hand, but the fact that their young players' stocks are all rising.

Both Mark Stone and Mike Hoffman are coming off outstanding seasons. Hoffman led the Senators, and all NHL rookies, in goal scoring, while Stone led all rookies in scoring and plus-minus, with 64 points and plus-21 on the season. They are both looking to build on their success from last year. Hoffman was given a one-year contract, so he will come into the season with the goal of proving to the team why they should invest in him for the long term. With these young guys gaining experience, the Ottawa Senators offense will be something to watch this season.

3. Opportunity.

The Senators have harbored a plethora of high-end prospects throughout the last few seasons, but a lack of room on the roster meant that these players had to spend more time with the Binghamton Senators. This year, things are different. With the loss of David Legwand and Erik Condra to the Sabres and Lightning, respectively, spots have opened up for forwards like Shane Prince and Matt Puempel.

Both players are likely to see some significant ice time this season. Chris Phillips will be out for the first few months with a back injury, if he decides to come back at all. This opens up the door for defensemen like Chris Wideman to make their case for a roster spot. All this depends on how they perform in training camp and the preseason, but the opportunity for another youth movement is present in Ottawa.


by Ross A

1. The third pairing.

The Senators’ top defensive pairing is set with Karlsson and Methot. The second pairing should be reliable with Patrick Wiercioch and Cody Ceci. But the third pairing will leave a lot to be desired. Mark Borowiecki is more of a fighter than a defender, Jared Cowen can hardly make a decision on the ice, and while Wideman may have been AHL defenseman-of-the-year, he has no NHL experience.

It's most likely that Borowiecki and Cowen will play together, and being two lefties, one will have to play his off-side. With neither one a reliable puck-mover, it’s likely other teams will feast upon Ottawa’s third pairing.

2. Subpar veterans.

Ottawa has a decent amount of promise waiting in the wings, but most will not get a chance to play in the NHL this season. Players like Zack Smith, Colin Greening, and Chris Neil are back for yet another year. Rumor has it that the team has tried unsuccessfully to move all three, but their one-way contracts will give them priority to make the team this year. Surprisingly for a budget team, Greening actually got buried in the minors last year.

Still, it looks like players with more promise like Puempel and Nick Paul won’t get much of a shot while those three hang around. Not to mention that Chris Phillips is risking his long-term health in continuing to try and come back, which could make a bad situation on defense even worse.

3. Unknown coaching

Ottawa improved greatly last season when Cameron took over after Paul MacLean’s firing. However, a lot of his roster decisions were due to good fortune. Injuries to Borowiecki and Phillips, as well as a suspension to Cowen forced him to play Wiercioch. An injury to Chris Neil allowed to formation of the Condra - Pageau - Lazar line. Andrew Hammond played out of his mind.

Late in the season, Cameron made some questionable decisions such as demoting Mike Hoffman and putting Zack Smith in his spot. It remains to be seen if Cameron is a solid coach, or if he mostly lucked into having good decisions made for him.


1. Is Ottawa as good as their end-of-season march to the playoffs suggests?
2. Is the team’s goaltending future in jeopardy?
3. Will any rookies get the chance to contribute?

Get the answers at Silver Seven.


by Trevor Shackles

The young core that Ottawa has built gets even better, and some players who need to step up their game provide some depth for the club. Mark Stone and Mike Hoffman are able to repeat their phenomenal rookie performances, and Curtis Lazar is able to chip in more consistently on the third line. Craig Anderson stays solid in net, and he ends up being a top-10 goalie in the league like he can be.

With a full season next to Marc Methot, Erik Karlsson is able to somehow improve on his 2014-15 season, and he wins yet another Norris Trophy. Cody Ceci shows a lot more promise than he has previously shown, bringing Ottawa to four quality defensemen, thereby cutting down on their shot totals against.

Mika Zibanejad overtakes Kyle Turris as the No. 1 center, and Bobby Ryan is able to score more consistently, providing for a lethal top-six up front. Under Dave Cameron, the team is also able to continue their solid possession numbers throughout the season. Everybody as a whole takes a step forward, and they finish third in the Atlantic.


by Trevor Shackles

Craig Anderson begins to show his age, as his save percentage falls to around .910. Furthermore, Ottawa’s backup plan in Andrew Hammond fails to build on his success from last season, and the Senators are left forcing Matt O’Connor to succeed while he isn’t quite ready. Cody Ceci’s play stagnates, and he begins to drag down Patrick Wiercioch on the second pairing. The first pairing of Erik Karlsson and Marc Methot becomes the only duo that has positive possession numbers and goal differentials, furthering Anderson and Hammond’s demise.

Mika Zibanejad does not play any better than last year, and he is seen as more of a second/third line center, while Bobby Ryan continues his decline as a sniper. Mark Stone and Mike Hoffman see their shooting percentages drop despite solid play, and Curtis Lazar shows that he is evolving more into a bottom-six winger than a prominent scorer. Losing Erik Condra to Tampa proves to be huge for the third line, as Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Lazar can’t keep up their success from late last season.

The team doesn’t get too much worse, but in a competitive environment, Ottawa ends up finishing sixth in the division.