We’re going to take a look at each NHL team, breaking down every new addition and subtraction, as well as promising prospects.
Today, we take a look at the Ottawa Senators.
By: Meesh Shanmugam (@HockeyMeesh)
2013 Season: 25-17-6, 56 pts (4th in Northeast Division, 7th in Eastern Conference)
Alfredsson was apparently half way out the door after this handshake. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Free Agents Signed:
D Joe Corvo from Carolina
LW Clarke MacArthur from Toronto
Free Agents Lost:
D Andre Benoit to Colorado
C Peter Regin to NY Islanders
RW Daniel Alfredsson to Detroit
D Mike Lundin
LW Hugh Jessiman
D Sergei Gonchar to Dallas for a 2013 6th round pick
RW Jakob Silfverberg, RW Stefan Noesen, and a 2014 1st round pick for RW Bobby Ryan
C Jean-Gabriel Pageau
RW Cory Conacher
LW Matt Puempel
C Mika Zibanejad
D Cody Ceci
G Robin Lehner
Despite the doppelgangers, injuries, conspiracies, and feuds (geez, Ottawa went through a lot in a short season), the Senators managed to overcome adversity for a playoff berth and a first-round upset before ending their season at the hands of Pittsburgh in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Who is actually coaching? (Courtesy of NHL Network)
The odd season started at the Senators home opener, where head coach Paul MacLean was joined by a doppelganger in the first row behind him as he coached his team to a 4-0 win. Then, the team basically fell apart at the seams through injuries as they proceeded to lose goalie Craig Anderson, defensemen Jared Cowen and Erik Karlsson, and forwards Milan Michalek and Jason Spezza for lengthy periods of time. Karlsson, of course, had his injury forensically investigated since it occurred in the vicinity of Matt Cooke. What ever happened to that forensics report?
As everyone called for the Senators to fall out of the playoff race, long-time captain Daniel Alfredsson led the team into a strong enough stretch run to stay in the playoff picture. The Senators faced Montreal in a brawl-filled first round as MacLean and Canadiens coach Michel Therrien took shots at each other through the media. Ottawa dispatched Montreal in just 5 games and moved on to face Pittsburgh. Could they beat the Penguins? “Probably not.” – Daniel Alfredsson. Pittsburgh knocked out Ottawa in 5 games. It was the end of a crazy season but the offseason would be just as crazy as well.
The immediate question for Ottawa after the playoff exit was what would Alfredsson do. Would he retire or would he re-sign for another year? Fans had chanted “Alfie-Alfie-Alfie” at the 11 minute mark of each period for the previous two postseason runs and they wanted one more season of Alfredsson.
Apparently there was another option for Alfredsson that no one foresaw though. On July 5th, the first day of free agency, Alfredsson signed a contract with the Detroit Red Wings. Alfredsson blamed Ottawa management, Ottawa management blamed Alfredsson, and the drama still continues as both sides point fingers. Regardless, Ottawa lost their long-time captain in a shocking move to a new division rival.
The Senators wasted no time in replacing him by trading Jakob Silfverberg, Stefan Noesen, and a 2014 1st round pick to Anaheim for Bobby Ryan just hours after Alfredsson was gone. The Senators gave up a lot of youth and promise in the trade, but no one can dispute the scoring prowess of Bobby Ryan for a team that still wants to compete now.
In other big moves, the Senators traded away defenseman Sergei Gonchar to Dallas before they lost him to free agency and they signed winger Clark MacArthur as a free agent.
Chris Neil, Jason Spezza, and Chris Phillips will ensure there is no lack of leadership in Ottawa. (Fred Chartrand/AP Photo)
Despite the losses of Gonchar and Alfredsson, the Senators appear to be a team on the rise. They have a few younger players who are ready to make an impact now (Zibanejad, Pageau), veterans to lead them (Spezza, Michalek, Phillips), and some star talent to put them over the top (Ryan, Karlsson, Anderson). If the Senators can stay even a little healthier than last season, they will be competing for the division all year.
Expect Ottawa to find themselves in position for a top 3 automatic playoff berth in the Atlantic Division. Will they end up missing Daniel Alfredsson this year? “Probably not.”