September 19, 2013 12:29 pm
Can The Senators Survive The Flortheast Division?
The Senators are coming off a campaign in which they finished 7th in the Eastern Conference. They took down the #2 team in the east Montreal in 5 games before falling to the #1 Pittsburgh Penguins in 5. It really was an excellent season considering most thought Pittsburgh would be hoisting the Stanley Cup last summer after loading up at the trade deadline. The unfortunate thing for Pittsburgh being you actually have to play the game, they don't just hand out The Stanley Cup because you look better on paper. Enough about Pittsburgh though, Ottawa will have a new captain this year for the first time in 13 seasons after Daniel Alfredsson decided to sign with The Detroit Red Wings in the offseason. The good news is the captaincy went to Jason Spezza who has been a consistent scorer for the Senators excluding last season in which he only played in 5 games due to a back injury. You can't forget the addition of Bobby Ryan from Anaheim. The guy is going to be the best goal scoring threat the Senators have. You can argue all day about how the Sens gave up too much to get him, but if they want to get their team to the next level they needed a guy like Ryan. With the scoring roles settled all that's left to look at is the back end. You don't have to look very far because one of the best defensemen in the game plays on Ottawa's blue line. That guy being Erik Karlsson, who was limited to just 17 games last season because of a lacerated achilles tendon. He made a miraculous turn around at just 10 weeks though coming back in time for the playoffs. Karlsson also won the Norris trophy in 2012 and could have won it this year had he not had to deal with the injury. I don't like the fact that fellow defenseman Sergei Gonchar left for Dallas. He had an outstanding campaign last year with 27 points in 45 games. Also worth noting that Ottawa has some excellent young defenseman who can replace Gonchar, (Patrick Wiercioch, Cody Ceci) but they will definitely miss his experience. Between the pipes the Sens have veteran Craig Anderson and youngster Robin Lehner. I would expect to see Lehner a lot this season because Anderson just can never seem to stay healthy. Of the last 5 full 82 game seasons he's manage to play in 34 games or more just twice. You don't have to be a statistician to see that 34 games isn't even half of 82 games. I like this team on paper I really do, but I already mentioned they don't give out trophies for that. In the Flortheast Division (which sounds way cooler and more accurate than Atlantic) and with the new playoff system the Sens need to be one of the best 3 in the Flortheast or have one of the best 2 records outside of the top 3 in each division of the Eastern Conference. The good news is both Florida teams are in their division. The bad news is there are 4 good teams in the division besides Ottawa. Detroit and Boston are both locks in my opinion to finish in the top 3. The other could go to either Toronto, Montreal or Ottawa leaving the other two teams to fight for a wild card. It seems unfair that more than likely 1 or 2 of those 3 will not make the playoffs, but that's what happens when you leave one conference with 14 teams and the other with 16. Prediction: Ottawa 47-30-5 5th in East
- The Senators have a new captain for the first time in 13 years
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