The Ottawa Senators have had one of the worst seasons in their history. It was less than one year ago that they were within one goal of the Stanley Cup Final. With such a great season, expectations were high coming into the year. However, the Sens have fallen off drastically. That leads the question, what went wrong?
The first thing to look at when deciphering what went wrong with the Ottawa Senators is the roster changes. The notable players to leave the team were, Chris Neil, Chris Kelly, Marc Methot, Viktor Stalberg, and Tommy Wingels. Clarke MacArthur also was no longer available, but he only played in the playoffs last year. The final subtraction was Kyle Turris who was replaced by Matt Duchene. The Brassard, and Phaneuf trades took place after the season was lost so we won’t look at those here.
Looking at those names most of them aren’t very significant. Neil, Kelly, and Wingels were in and out of the lineup and had very little impact when they actually played. Stalberg was rental at the deadline who played a depth role. The only significant loss was Methot who was replaced by Chabot who may very well be better than Methot already. Looking at those changes there shouldn’t have been a big issue this season and there wasn’t for a long time. The problems began to arise after the Duchene trade. By all accounts the locker room shakeup sent the Sens into a period of instability. This resulted in a long streak of losses that ultimately tanked the season. Now that the team is used to each other the Sens are playing much better.
Over-performances and Under-performances
The next reason for the down season is a combination of over-performances during the playoffs last season and under-performances this year. During the playoffs the Sens were carried by three players, Karlsson, Anderson, and Ryan. Karlsson naturally will always be the driving force on this team and Anderson has flirted with being an elite goalie his entire career. However, it was the clutch factor the Ryan brought to the team that pushed the team to the brink of a Stanley Cup Final appearance. Ryan had 15 points and was the Sens second highest scorer behind Karlsson. That’s a pace that he hasn’t come close to in his entire time in Ottawa.
Finally, as much as it may pain fans to admit, a good portion of this season has to be placed on terrible goaltending. Anderson has a save percentage of less than 0.900 and Condon is barely any better at just 0.905. If the Sens came anywhere close to league average goaltending, there’s a good chance that they are at the very least in contention for a playoff spot right now. With that not being the case the Sens sit near the bottom of the standings.
A Series Of Problems
This was a disaster of a season by all accounts. The Ottawa Senators had some of the highest expectations of any team coming into the season, but they flopped. The combination of under-performances and locker room shakeups caused the team to fall. Now it remains to be seen if the core of this team will stay together.