However, thanks to stellar veteran netminding from Craig Anderson and faster-than-expected development from players like Kyle Turris and Mike Zibanejad, the Sens find themselves in pretty good shape heading into the 2013-14 NHL season.
Even more old faces were flushed out as franchise hero Daniel Alfredsson was allowed to walk in free agency and even more new, young faces will join as Bobby Ryan was acquired. They were a young, fast team to be reckoned with last year and we can expect even more of the same in this year.
Biggest Offseason Loss: Daniel Alfredsson
It’s fairly clear that the Senators wanted Alfredsson back but not at $5.5 million, which is what the Detroit Red Wings paid him. While he’s important to the town and he’s a valuable asset in the locker room, he will be 41-years-old in December and totaled just 26 points in 47 games last season.
The loss of Alfredsson likely won’t be felt on the score sheet but rather in the development of the team’s other players. It’s a good guess to say that the presence of Alfredsson is one of the reasons that the Sens didn’t need to rebuild because a lot of the youngsters learned from him on the fly. The team is hoping that the young birds can fly on their own now. We’ll see.
Biggest Offseason Gain: Bobby Ryan
The Sens lost Alfredsson but they may have gained overall. After failing to re-sign Alfie, the team quickly traded for Bobby Ryan, who has proven to be one of the best scorers in the NHL. He topped 30 goals for four straight years before dropping down to 11 goals and 19 assists last season. Truth be told, Anaheim had him on the trade block for a while and it’s possible that their efforts to move him were correlated to his lack of effort last season. However, if he’s rejuvenated in a new home, the Sens just picked up sniper who is only 26-years-old. He could have many more 30 goal seasons ahead of him.
Losing Alfie does hurt the offense but when you look at how the Sens have shrewdly been piecing together their frontlines, they should be fine. They have Jason Spezza, Milan Michalek, Turris, Ryan, Zibanejad, Cory Conacher, Erik Condra, Jean-Gabriel Pageau and more. This is actually a surprisingly deep core with ample potential.
State Of The Franchise:
The Sens are still quite young and success in 2013-14 depends on how much their players grow. Turris had 12 goals and 17 points in 48 games last season but can he play like that for 82 games? Will Ryan bounce back? Can Spezza and Michalek stay healthy? What about the young playoff performer Pageau, can he contribute for a full season? The Sens only scored 116 goals last season, which was the fourth-least in the NHL. Success in 2013-14 is dependent on them being able to produce more goals and score them more consistently.
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Other than that, this franchise is in good hands. Goaltender Craig Anderson is back after leading the league in goals-against average and save percentage. Prospect Robin Lehner is waiting in the wings and should be a stud when he takes over between the pipes. This tandem – along with an underrated blue line – helped the Sens allow the second-fewest goals in the NHL last season. If the offense can produce a little bit more, this team could and should finish better than seventh in the East.
2013 NHL Odds To Win The Stanley Cup At Bovada: 28/1