After a busy off-season, featuring a number of moves, confidence is high for the Ottawa Senators season. Let’s take a look at why they feel good coming into 2022-23.
Ottawa Senators Season Full of Confidence
The Ottawa Senators have had an off-season to remember. Because of it, confidence in the team is arguably at an all-time high after many years of frustrations.
The rebuild was supposed to be over last season, but this year it looks to officially be true. Pierre Dorion has made a number of moves to construct a team that should genuinely be looking to make the postseason. It would be the first time since the dream run to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2017.
But what exactly puts the Ottawa Senators in a position to be successful after fourth-bottom in the Eastern Conference just last season?
Top Six Forwards a Threat
Any team’s pursuit of the Stanley Cup involves a top six set of forwards capable of driving play and providing the crucial goals needed throughout both the regular and post-season. The Senators have achieved that this summer with the additions they made.
Don’t get us wrong, the team already had a strong foundation to build on. They had team captain Brady Tkachuk and Josh Norris both eclipsing 30 goals last season. Additionally, Drake Batherson and Tim Stützle have shown they can also be valuable offensive players under head coach D.J. Smith. Now, though, that group has been bolstered with the off-season additions of Alex DeBrincat and Claude Giroux.
“I think we’re seeing a coming of age of that top line.”
The line of Drake Batherson, Josh Norris and Brady Tkachuk continues to get better and better #GoSensGo
— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) December 10, 2021
DeBrincat came over in a trade that sees the Senators add a genuine goal threat in exchange for uncertain futures in the form of the seventh overall pick this year, while Giroux opted to return home in free agency and work with a young core he believes can be successful during his three-year deal.
With this legitimate quality added to their top six, the Ottawa Senators will be feeling confident that the team can develop a high-powered offence. This offence will be capable of taking on the majority of teams in the league. Add to this the quality of players such as Alex Formenton and Shane Pinto occupying roles on the third line, and the Ottawa Senators look like a team building a seriously competitive roster.
Settled Goaltender Tandem
The Ottawa Senators entered last season with an intriguing goaltender situation. The potential of Matt Murray bouncing back, combined with the returning Anton Forsberg and the desire to help prospect Filip Gustavsson develop all raised questions.
This time around, however, the team’s NHL tandem is effectively set with Forsberg and recent addition Cam Talbot. Both are entrenched as the presumed 1A/1B partnership that will head into the 2022-23 campaign.
Forsberg was solid for the Senators last season. He had a .917 save percentage and a 2.82 goals against average in 46 appearances. While Talbot, acquired from the Minnesota Wild, will be eager to impress and play meaningful minutes after seemingly losing his starting role in the wake of Marc-André Fleury’s re-signing.
Having a tandem that is settled, knows their assignments, and will hopefully remain healthy for the long-term, can do wonders for a team looking to take the next step. This is certainly what the Ottawa Senators are hoping to do this year.
Both can carry the role of a starter at times. However, they will equally work well as a partnership that splits time throughout the year. This could be the difference between a win or loss for the young corps of skaters in front of them.