The Ottawa Senators have been one of the busiest teams in this off-season. The Senators have spent the last couple of seasons at the bottom of the Pacific Division and now with their team ready, the Ottawa Senators playoff hunt is on. But for those that may not have a clear view of what has happened since the start of the off-season, here is a little refresher.
Alex Debrincat & Claude Giroux help the Ottawa Senators Playoff Hunt
Some of the biggest additions to the Senators roster came in from a free agency signing of Claude Giroux and a trade for Chicago Blackhawks" Alex DeBrincat. Both add important depth to the team that had lacked that for many years.
Giroux adds experience to a young core. The Senators is made up of a young core that includes captain Brady Tkachuk and Tim Stützle. Starting his career in 2008, he has had a lot of experience in the league which includes nine off-seasons. Before his move to the Senators, he was considered a franchise player for the Philadelphia Flyers and was only traded to the Florida Panthers last year for a shot at the Stanley Cup. Now the Hearst, ON, native is back in his province for what could probably be his final years in the league. But make no mistake he has shown no slowdown in his production.
The Blackhawks have decided to clean house and start building what they are hoping is another Stanley Cup championship team again. With that, they traded some of their young talent such as DeBrincat for future draft picks. He adds to the Senators’ resume of five seasons with the Blackhawks, two of whom he had 40-plus goal seasons. He only has one season with the Senators before he becomes a restricted free agent. The hope would be that this season would convince Debrincat to stay with the team to sign a longer contract.
Ottawa Senators Playoff Hunt: Goalie Upgrades to Help the Hunt
A tale of Ontario teams. The Toronto Maple Leafs have had tough issues with goalies in the last couple of years and so the Senators have mirrored the problems. Matt Murray had been injured most of the season and wasn’t able to perform well in his time with the Senators. Now he is on the Maple Leafs for the upcoming season.
Cam Talbot has taken the role as the main goalie this season. He is a rare alumnus of the former Alabama-Huntsville hockey system and will hopefully be the right person for the Senators of the 2021-22 season.
However, even if Talbot isn’t able to perform for the Senators’ wishes there is a strong backup for the team. Anton Forsberg had been picked up from free agency in the 2020-21 season and stepped up for the team when Murray was injured. He played 46 games last season and was a huge reason for success in a season that faced a lot of turmoil. Forsberg never played in more than 10 games except for his one season with the Blackhawks in 2017-18. There could be a chance that the main goaltender could be looking differently than what may start the season.
With the biggest changes to the season talked about, where do the Senators fall in the Pacific Division? The Senators have been at the bottom of the league for so long. Last season while it was unlikely that the Senators would make the playoffs there was a hopeful trend upwards. It wouldn’t be out of the question that the Senators may be fighting for a playoff spot. The Leafs and Tampa Bay Lightning look like the two best teams in the league and the Panthers still have a strong squad. The Boston Bruins is an aging team of talented players which means they are less likely to make the playoffs. The wildcard spots seem to be the most likely spot the Ottawa Senators playoff hunt will be fighting for but it’s likely the Buffalo Sabres and Detroit Red Wings will also be fighting for the spot as well.
The Senators have added a lot during the off-season and may see success. It may be the most exciting season for the team in a long time, and an Ottawa Senators playoff run looks to be in the books.
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