NHL Betting: Senators In Tough To Bounce Back After Tumultuous Offseason



After back-to-back playoff appearances, the Ottawa Senators took a major step back last season. It will be very difficult for them to rebound in 2014-15 following a tumultuous offseason. The Senators waved goodbye to their captain and biggest star when Jason Spezza was traded to Dallas and shortly after that Ales Hemsky joined him as he signed with the Stars. Ottawa was able to bring back a talented young winger in Alex Chiasson in the trade with Dallas and signed veteran David Legwand to provide some depth down the middle but overall this Senators’ team is worse on paper than it was a year ago.

Stanley Cup Odds: +6500

Key Acquisitions: Alex Chiasson, David Legwand

Key Losses: Jason Spezza, Ales Hemsky, Joe Corvo

Why They’ll Be Better

Kyle Turris will take over as the team’s No. 1 center and he could very well have Chiasson and Bobby Ryan on his wings. Chiasson has something to prove after being traded while Ryan is playing for a new deal after turning down a seven-year offer from the team. Clarke MacArthur is a solid secondary contributor but Ottawa desperately needs Milan Michalek to stay healthy and score goals. Erik Karlsson is a perennial Norris trophy candidate who is one year more mature and 20-year old Cody Ceci is ready for full-time action as another puck-moving defenseman with high upside. Robin Lehner is the starting goalie of the future and the Senators could be wise to try and move Craig Anderson for some help up front. However, Anderson is the starter for now and that gives Ottawa a solid goaltending tandem that should help keep them in most games.

Why They’ll Be Worse

Spezza and Hemsky really clicked when the latter arrived from Edmonton and that had hockey fans in Ottawa imagining that tandem lighting it up together for years to come. Well, there is a good chance that duo will put up big numbers together again in 2014-15 only this season it will be in Dallas and not with the Senators. The loss of Spezza and Hemsky is another hit to an already inconsistent offense and while Chiasson will help replace Hemsky’s production there is no way Legwand will be able to make up for what Spezza brought to the table. They will also have to account for the loss of veteran defenceman Joe Corvo who was able to contribute in every situation.

Outlook

Ottawa finished last season six games above .500 with 37 wins and 88 points but that wasn’t good enough to finish in the top-10 in the Eastern Conference and they certainly didn’t improve on paper over the offseason. The Senators will have a much more difficult time winning games without Spezza, Hemsky, and Corvo. It certainly won’t help that several other teams that finished in the middle of the pack in the East last season improved on paper. Look for more change in Ottawa this season as the Senators miss the playoffs again but look to establish a strong foundation moving forward.

Prediction: 13th in Eastern Conference