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Analysis of the Ottawa Senators Improvements and News From 2022 to 2023

As the curtain closes on the 2022-23 NHL regular season, the Ottawa Senators news is full of improvements and much positivity. At the end of the day, they will be on the outside looking in on the playoffs. Despite missing the playoffs, the team has grown in many areas. There have been many individual performances exceeding expectations. Furthermore, General Manager Pierre Dorion has done an admirable job bolstering the depth chart and shifting from a rebuild. These improvements are evidenced by the Sens rise in the Eastern Conference standings. Finally, all the buzz around the club has provided a backdrop to the sale of the team.  New ownership is gaining much traction and should be here soon.

Ottawa Senators Individual Improvements

In terms of individual successes, look no further than number 18, Tim Stutzle. Year-over-year, Stutzle’s improvements are quite impressive. Last season he had 22 goals and 58 points in 79 games. In contrast, this season he has 35 goals and has increased his PPG from 0.73 to 1.16. Extended out over a full 82-game slate, he would’ve reached 95 points this season. With 10 games remaining, he will strive to reach 40 goals. The last time a Senator hit the 40-goal mark, was in 2007-08 when Dany Heatley and Daniel Alfredsson did it. Back to Stutzle, he is also playing more, up over 2.5 minutes a night. Another impressive stat is his offensive point share (OPS) has leaped from 3.8 to 7. Now with all the positives, there are still some things for Stutzle to develop. For example, his FO% is at 40.6% (which is still up from 38.1%).

Great Seasons for Stutzle, Giroux, Tkachuk

Along with Stutzle, other teammates have exceeded expectations as well. One metric where Stutzle shares some notoriety is goals above expected. According to, he sits 26th league-wide amongst forwards at 7.4. This puts him two spots ahead of the next best Senator Claude Giroux at 6.8. For reference, the leader is no surprise, Connor McDavid, at 18.4. Moreover, Giroux is having a great season in his own right. At 35, Giroux is on pace for the third-highest PPG total of his career. In addition, Brady Tkachuk is the midst of a career season as well. Already he has hit career-high marks in goals, assists, shots, and faceoffs taken. Tkachuk’s CF% Rel is at 18.2, up from last year’s career-best of 14.3. Needless to say, many individuals are having great performances, possibly a result of who they surround themselves with.

Ottawa Senators News and Improvements From the Executive Level

The General Manager has done a great job assembling the team and preparing them for future success. Pierre Dorion has committed to this group. This is proven by trading recent draft picks for such pieces as Alex DeBrincat or Jakob Chychrun. These players along with Claude Giroux make for significant increases in production, and the likelihood of success. Another underrated move is getting Tyler Kleven to sign his entry-level contract (ELC). Kleven provides the type of toughness the lineup thirsts for when you start to envision the playoff grind. All this work done by management has made the Ottawa Senators organization look attractive to possible new ownership groups.

The Prospect of New Ownership

The Senators have grown on the ice and now are looking to improve off the ice as well. As of Tuesday, Gary Bettman was to meet with six groups visiting the team with the intention to buy the club. If there is no other reason for optimism, the market valuation of the organization is itself enough. Back as recently as 2021, there was a bid for the club at $650 million USD by Rocco Tullio. Skip forward to today, and there are bids north of the $900 million USD mark. Also, there is still much chatter on the potential for a new rink more in the city of Ottawa. Another positive sign for the organization collectively is fan support. Ottawa is at 16,546 average attendance for the season. That number is up over 30% from the COVID impacted 2019-20. However, it has not been this high since 2016-17.

The Proof Is in the Standings

If all these reasons are not enough to be excited for the 2023-24 season to start, there is more. For this season, if not for the Josh Norris injury, the team could be in the playoffs. His defensive, two-way centre play would have made a difference for the lineup. After his initial injury, around the beginning of November, the team went on a 0-6-1 spell. Right now, the team is 35-32-5, three spots and five points out of the final wild card position. In contrast, when compared to last year, their 33-42-7 record had them five spots back of the playoffs. They were 27 points out of the playoffs. Consider though that the Washington Capitals 100-point total for the last position was unusually high.

Injuries and Goaltending

All-in-all there is a lot of excitement. However, the Senators team does need to learn to get extra points from tight games. Also, the injuries have been a huge factor, losing both the top two goalies Anton Forsberg and Cam Talbot. When Dylan Ferguson started Monday against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Sens tied a team record. Ferguson became the sixth goaltender to start a game this season. By bringing over Leevi Merilainen after his Finnish hockey season wrapped up, might we see a seventh?

Main Photo: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports


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