The Ottawa Senators are looking forward to playing an exciting second season under the helm of head coach Dave Cameron.
After an awful first half of the 2014-15 season that was following the same script as the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Senators found a way to turn their season around thanks to a coaching change.
Dave Cameron became the new bench boss. Goaltending from the Hamburglar surprised the hockey universe. Defence was strong. Scoring from the youth accelerated the team’s climb for a playoff spot. But they weren’t ready in the playoffs.
Will the Sens be ready for 2015-16?
The Senators’ faced losses in all facets of the roster during the summer of 2015. Erik Condra was signed by the Tampa Bay Lightning, defenceman Eric Gryba was traded to the Edmonton Oilers, and Robin Lehner was traded to the Buffalo Sabres.
Trading Eric Gryba freed space for the Sens’ left-handed surplus on the blue line. One of Jared Cowen, Mark Borowiecki, and Patrick Wiercoch will have to play the right side on the third unit, while Erik Karlsson, Marc Methot, and Cody Ceci have secured spots on the top two defensive units.
The intention of trading Robin Lehner (June 26) was to create space for newly signed Matt O’Connor (May 9), a highly touted goaltender from Boston University. With Craig Anderson and Andrew Hammond most likely taking the reigns as no. 1 and no. 2, the Sens will develop O’Connor with the Binghamton Senators for at least one season.
The Senators have a team that is full of depth.
In goal there’s the question of whether or not the goaltending duo of Anderson and Hammond will bring out the best of their capabilities, or serve as a distraction.
On the blue line is a young core led by veteran Marc Methot and captain Erik Karlsson.
Offence should not be a question. Kyle Turris. Mark Stone. Mike Hoffman. Bobby Ryan. Curtis Lazar. Let’s leave it at that.
The Senator’s ability to compete should not be a question that fans should be pondering. The question fans should ask is, “How competitive will the Sens be?” It might be easy to look at the roster and say that the Sens have an easy ticket to the playoffs, but take a second look.
The Sens are a young team that can snowball into a lengthy losing streak or snowball into a winning streak. The Sens will be competitive for a playoff spot. IF they make it, they’ll show up in game one and not game four.