Eastern preview: Senators begin life without Alfie

Eastern preview: Senators begin life without Alfie
September 6, 2013, 12:15 pm
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OTTAWA SENATORS

2012-13: 25-17-6, 56 points

Where they finished: 4th in the Northeast; 6th in the East; 14th in the NHL

Coach: Alain Vigneault (3rd season)

Key additions: RW Bobby Ryan, LW Clarke MacArthur, D Joe Corvo

Key subtractions: RW Daniel Alfredsson, RW Jakob Silfverberg, C Peter Regin, RW Stefan Noesen, RW Hugh Jessiman, D Sergei Gonchar, D Mike Lundin

Projected Lineup

Forwards

Milan Michalek, Jason Spezza - Bobby Ryan

Clarke MacArthur – Kyle Turris – Chris Neil

Cory Conacher – Mika Zibanejad – Mark Stone

Colin Greening – Zack Smith – Erik Condra

Defense

Erik Karlsson – Mark Methot

Chris Phillips – Patrick Wiercioch

Jared Cowen – Joe Corvo

Goaltenders

Craig Anderson – Robin Lehner

Our take: Paul MacLean earned the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s Coach of the Year for his ability to keep things together last season without injured stars Craig Anderson, Jason Spezza, Erik Karlsson and Jared Cowan, but that was overshadowed by the Senators’ five-game loss to the Penguins in the second round of the playoffs. MacLean was rewarded with a three-year contract extension, along with increased expectations.

It will be a new era in Ottawa this season with former captain Daniel Alfredsson moving on to Detroit as a free agent. In his place, the Senators  will turn to Bobby Ryan, whom they acquired from Anaheim at the draft.  Ryan has scored 30 or more goals in each of his first four seasons in the NHL and should hit that number again with Spezza as his center.

The Senators lack depth among their bottom six forwards but their defense is solid, anchored by Norris Trophy candidate Erik Karlsson and Chris Phillips.  But the Sens’ greatest asset might be between the pipes, where Craig Anderson is looking to rebound after missing half of last season with an ankle injury. Anderson still posted a 1.69 GAA last season and will be shooting for a spot on the U.S. Olympic team.

Offseason Grade:  B

Will they make the playoffs in 2013-14:  Yes.