November 31-in-31: Ottawa Senators

Tony Ferrari

2020-11-21

Photo courtesy of Icethetics

 

Typically a summer series, the November 31-in-31 series is taking place of the annual July 31-in-31 due to the COVID-19 pandemic pushing the NHL season back to the summer, making for an atypical fall offseason. The November edition of the series will focus on the 2020 NHL Draft and the team’s off-season acquisitions through free agency and trades and how they affect the development paths for the team’s prospects. December will feature part two of the 31-in-31 series and focus on the team’s depth charts, fantasy outlook, and begin to look at how the roster will shakedown when the next NHL season starts. 

 

The Ottawa Senators were blessed by the “Hockey Gods” coming into the 2020 NHL Draft. Things seemed to be breaking right for the team in the Canadian capital. The Senators successfully tanked and finished second from the bottom of the league with only the historically bad Detroit Red Wings finishing lower. Ottawa was also gifted with another top-five pick as the San Jose Sharks imploded this season, finished just one point ahead of Ottawa for third-worst in the NHL. This was important because the Senators owned the Sharks first-rounder after the Erik Karlsson trade just prior to the 2018-19 season. The icing on the cake came when the Senators acquired a third first-round pick when they sent Jean-Gabriel Pageau to the New York Islanders prior to the 2020 NHL Trade Deadline.  

 

With three first-round picks, along with four second-rounders and 12 total picks over the two-day event, The Ottawa Senators had a chance to alter the path of the franchise for years to come. The prospect of adding seven prospects in the top-62 picks would have made any scout or talent evaluator salivate. The added bonus was the fact that the 2020 crop of talent was considered quite strong at the top with some real quality depth in terms of players with high-upside despite some flaws. It was an enticing class overall and the Senators went into the day with all the ammo needed to take not just one step, but three or four, in the right direction.  

 

“And then what happened?” – Almost everyone

 

Draft Picks and Analysis

 

3rd Overall, Round 1: C/W Tim Stützle – Adler Mannheim (DEL)

 

When draft day began, the Senators knew they were going to select either Quinton Byfield or Tim Stützle. With the Kings selection of Byfield at number two, Stützle fell into the Senators laps and they made the pick in style. The recently passed Alex Trebek came onto our screens in his ever so welcoming way, announcing and greeting the newest Senator with what was one of the two best moments of the first round. Rest in Peace Alex Trebek. 

 

 

In picking Stützle, the Senators are getting a player who has insane skating ability and dynamic playmaking talent. His speed and pace can overwhelm opponents at times. The young German rose up draft boards as the season wore on. His impressive play to start the year in the DEL, the top German men’s league, with Adler Mannheim helped put him on the map. His skill and strong play early last season in Champions Hockey League games also helped the cause. 

 

While he was out of most rankings top-15 to start the year, he was firmly in the top-10 leading into the World Juniors. His play at the annual under-20 tournament was high-paced, flashy and filled highlight reels. The World Juniors put his name on the forefront of the conversation among hockey fans when you began to discuss the top-five players in the 2020 NHL Draft. 

 

While the second half of the season in the DEL was a bit less productive, Stützle’s continued to put his predatory offensive game on display. He was an aggressive and confident attacker with the puck on his stick, rarely allowing the fact that he was playing amongst men play a real role in his game. With impressive hands and quick-twitch action in his skating, he can be a difficult player to play against. 

 

The projections on Stützle are a bit rangy. There is the faction of evaluators who believe he could play center at the NHL level and if he does turn out to be a true number one pivot, this pick could look even better in the future. His playmaking and speed would make him a dangerous center. There is another sect of scouts who believe that the more likely case is that he is a high octane winger who can change the game at a moment’s notice. Either way, the Senators seem to have found a pretty good player to add to their promising prospect pool. 

 

5th Overall, Round 1: LHD Jake Sanderson – U.S. National Team Development Progam (USHL)

 

The first defender taken in the 2020 NHL Draft went to the Senators at fifth overall as they selected the NTDP top blueliner, Jake Sanderson. Committed to the Ottawa Senators Official (unofficial) NCAA program at North Dakota, Sanderson will be in a great situation to continue his development. He will be joining a blueline that features fellow Sens prospect Jacob Bernard-Docker which could give them some good development time together and very well could see them on a pairing together. 

 

The optics of this pick were debated by some. The feeling that the Senators played it safe has been prominent amongst fans, a theme we will come across a few times as we go through the draft class. With names such as Marco Rossi and Cole Perfetti on the board, not to mention fellow top defender Jamie Drysdale, picking Sanderson was surely the safest pick but it could come with great reward. 

 

 

The young American defender is on the younger side of the draft with a June birthday and he was also one of the biggest risers throughout the year. While the year started with Drysdale as the clear-cut number one player on the blueline, Sanderson closed that gap and eventually, at least in the Senators’ eyes, surpassed him. If the season hadn’t been cut short and we had the chance to evaluate the two head-to-head at the World U18’s in March, Sanderson very well could have continued his rise up the board.  

 

Jake Sanderson is a talented player who can help anchor a backend defensively and his offensive development has been consistently on the rise over the last two years. His ability to excel in transition both offensively and defensively is impressive. He can move the puck up ice on his stick with his fluid and crisp skating, generating speed through the neutral zone and attacking off the rush. He also has an accurate and intelligent passing game in all three zones, breaking the puck out to forwards at an outlet point or placing the puck perfectly on the tape of a forward in motion. His ability to shut transitions down defensively is even more impressive, often killing plays before they ever get the chance to develop. 

 

In the end, the concerns of the Senators playing it safe with the Sanderson pick may have been warranted but the reality is that they may also be a bit overblown. This was a player who was already one of, if not the best defensive players available at the defense position who showed excellent ability in transition both ways and an ever-evolving offensive game. His runway is long still and he is going to a good program in North Dakota where he will be able to step in and play a big role right away. The Senators likely grab two of their top-four prospects with the third and fifth picks in the 2020 NHL Draft. 

 

28th Overall, Round 1: LW/C Ridly Greig – Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL) 

 

A strong-willed, two-way forward who plays the kind of game that gets under his opponent’s skin while also possessing some sneaky skill that can add salt to the wound. The theme of playing it safe was truly on display with this pick. While Grieg is certainly a talented player, the upside may not be there as it could have been for a player such as Jacob Perreault or Mavrik Bourque. However, the floor for Greig is higher than either of those players and while his role may be up in the air, there is an air of certainty around Grieg’s NHL likelihood. 

 

What likely sold the Senators on Greig outside of his NHL projectability was his versatility. He is a player who can play center or on the wing and play up-and-down the lineup. Whether you need him to play a shutdown line role where he can chip in offensively while playing a good 200-foot game and helping shut the opposing team’s best line down or you want him to play in the top-six and contribute as an offensive presence with his motor and dual-threat ability, Greig can fill any role you ask of him. 

 

 

He plays the game with speed, making his non-stop motor a bit of a nuisance for opponents as Greig buzzes around the ice in all three zones. His puck skill is above average and he has the ability to bust out some high-skill plays from time-to-time but the consistency on that high-level skill isn’t quite up to the level you’d hope for a player who can play top-line minutes which likely relegates him to a second-line role. His speed and anticipation help him seemingly generate a breakaway at least once or twice a game. He has very good hands in tight, able to control the puck in small space quite well. 

 

The Senators leaned towards assuredness over upside with this pick. There is no doubt about that. In the same light, there is no doubt that Ottawa added another intriguing and talented prospect to their pool. They may not have swung for the fences but the doubles they are hitting seem to be scoring some runs nevertheless. 

 

33rd Overall, Round 2: RW Roby Järventie – KOOVEE (Mestis)

 

We’ve talked about safe players and picks that the Ottawa Senators made but kudos to the management team for taking a swing on Järventie to kick off their second day of action at the draft. Ottawa took the goal-scoring winger who played in the Mestis in his draft year, the Finnish second-level men’s league, with the hopes that the highly talented winger can work through some of his issues off the puck and defensively. This is the kind of swing that the Senators fans appreciated. 

 

Playing for Ilves in the Liiga this season, Järventie has been red hot to start the year which has given Senators fans even more reason to celebrate this swing. Scoring at nearly a point-per-game thus far in the 2020-21 season, the Finnish winger has stayed true to his skillset. His lethal shot has been the driving force behind his play while the complimentary playmaking has seemed to improve a bit with his willingness to involve his teammates a bit more evident. When the puck is on his stick, Järventie has the ability to be the best player on the ice at times. He has a strong frame and has some power forward tendencies and puck protection ability but doesn’t always engage in physical play despite his frame and strength. 

 

 

The concerns for Järventie come away from the puck. His defensive game is fairly average on the best nights and non-existent on his worst days. Oftentimes, the issue came down to whether the winger wanted to put forth the effort to help his team get the puck back. When he was engaged, he showed the strength and puck skills to strip the puck and gain possession but those times were few and far between. His off-puck play offensively has seemed to take a small step this year. Particularly when the team is sustaining zone pressure, he seems to be involving himself a bit more in the cycle and working through traffic. It’s far from a strength at this point but there have been signs of growth in that regard. 

 

Overall, while this likely wasn’t the best player available on most boards, Järventie brings an intriguing skill set and a long runway as an August birthday. He was young for the draft class and with his physical tools and his offensive ability, Järventie is a nice swing from the Pierre Dorion and the Senators management team. At the end of the day, the Senators selected a player who had first-round talent and a mid-round motor.  

 

Trade! Matt Murray for Jon Gruden and 52nd Overall

 

The first trade of the draft for the Ottawa Senators was a success in the mind of many. They acquire two-time Stanley Cup champion netminder, 26-year-old Matt Murray for a second-round pick and prospect Jon Gruden. Goaltending was an area of need heading into next season as Craig Anderson and the Senators parted ways, so acquiring a netminder with experience, pedigree, and some runway ahead of him should be considered a win. While he has struggled at times over the last two seasons, Murray still should be an upgrade in the Ottawa net and he isn’t old by any means. The chance to ascend to his previous level of play is there and with a young a growing Ottawa team, he should be a leader in the locker room as well. 

 

The second-round pick was an expendable asset as the Sens had four heading into the draft and were likely to use at least one to upgrade the roster now. Goaltending was a smart avenue to go as drafting one with the 59th pick, as the Pittsburgh Penguins did with Joel Blomqvist, he would be a few years away. Getting Murray fills that need now and you know what you’re getting to an extent. Here is what DobberProspects’ goalie scout Danny Tiffany had to say on Murray:

 

I think he’s a solid goalie and the fresh start in Ottawa will help. I think as the team grows he will also. As he becomes more comfortable behind their D, I think he will have more success. Big guy obviously, good mind for the game. He controls rebounds well and I like the way he tracks the puck. He’ll have success in Ottawa I think.

 

The loss of Gruden is largely seen as a low impact move, especially with the overstocking of the prospect pool that the Senators were able to do with their glut of picks in the 2020 draft. In any instance where you can upgrade a glaring hole, especially at goaltender, with a player who has upside, shown a high skill level, and brings the resume that Murray brings, you make this trade every day of the week. Kudos to Pierre Dorian and the crew. Now onto their next trade… 

 

Trade! Ottawa acquires pick 44 for pick 59 and 64 in a trade with the rival Toronto Maple Leafs

 

Ottawa traded up from 59th overall and 64th overall for 44th overall. This trade in-and-of-itself is not terrible value and they jumped up a significant margin, 15 picks, and gave themselves an opportunity to draft one of the highly touted players that had fallen to that point. Jan Mysak, Emil Andrae, Topi Niemela, and Tristan Robins were all players who would have been in that range. Players like Kasper Simontaival, Jean-Luc Foudy, or Lukas Cormier would have been interesting swings on the upside. 

 

The issue with what happened next is an exemplification of the theme of the Ottawa Senators draft. The Senators took hulking blueliner, Tyler Kleven, from the NTDP. Ottawa, much like many of their picks, selected a player who has some physical traits and tools but may not have near the ceiling of the players selected around him or any of the players that were mentioned above. 

 

What makes this trade truly reprehensible is that while the Ottawa Senators made one of the more questionable picks in the entire draft by not only taking a low-ceiling defender in Kleven at 45 but trading up for him while the rival Maple Leafs made two excellent picks of Roni Hirvonen (59) and the aforementioned Topi Niemela (64). Both Finns selected by Toronto were generally ranked in the late first or early second rounds, giving the Leafs great value in a trade back scenario. All in all, the trade itself was questionable as soon as the selection at 44 was made but salt was added to the wound when Toronto was able to grab two players who were fairly unanimously graded as better prospects.  

 

44th Overall, Round 2: RHD Tyler Kleven – U.S. National Team Development Progam (USHL)

 

It’s not all doom and gloom for Senators fans with Kleven. There are reasons why the Senators, and at least a few other NHL clubs, had Kleven rated in the early-mid second round. To start, the American blueliner is 6’4” and over 200lbs. He is an excellent skater, especially for his size and the mobility and size give him an enticing package. He is a projectable player in that sense and with his attendance to North Dakota, along with the aforementioned Sanderson and Bernard-Docker, will be a great spot for him to develop his game. 

 

There is also a physical element to his game that undoubtedly played a role in the Senators taking him at 44th in the 2020 NHL Draft. Kleven is one of the biggest hitters in the draft. The ability to eliminate and intimidate isn’t as prevalent in the NHL as it once was but there is a place for it in the game still. Kleven will step up and into an attacking forward at center ice or at his own blueline, putting his massive frame to use as he puts his opponent on their backside. 

 

 

There are clear concerns when it comes to Kleven’s passing ability and offensive output. However, the reality is that the club didn’t draft him to be an offensive player or even someone who can really develop into one. They took him to serve a purpose and play a role. Although he likely never surpasses being a 4-5-6 defenseman on a team, he will bring the physical element that is getting increasingly difficult to find, a big frame and some good skating as a blueliner. He has a lot of work to do in refining some of his tools but the former U.S. NTDP defender could be a staple and fan favorite for a team that has fallen in love with players who aren’t always the star of the show in Chris Neil, Marc Methot, and Mark Borowiecki. 

 

61st Overall, Round 2: Yegor Sokolov – Cape Breton Eagles (QMJHL)

 

Twice going undrafted, Sokolov exploded in the QMJHL in his final season of junior eligibility. His 46 goals finished atop the league and his 92 points finished third. A switch flipped for the Russian import playing in Cape Breton and he was able to put up almost 40 more points than the year before. His shot and offensive game, in general, have never really been a question for the hulking winger. He has a rocket for a snap shot and can score from all over the ice. His big release beats netminders clean with regularity. His playmaking seemed to improve this year as well as he was able to find his teammates more successfully and was more than the one-trick pony that he’d been up to that point. 

 

There are a couple of reasons that the 6’4” winger went undrafted until this October’s draft. His conditioning and weight management have come into question in the past. This may be a factor in his other issue which was his skating. He was often heavy on his feet and stomped around the ice at times. Thankfully for the young Russian, he seemed to take strides in both areas last year. By all accounts, he was in good shape all season and while his 240lbs will likely need to still come down a bit, he was more agile and quick on his feet throughout the year. 

 

 

The 20-year-old will be able to step into the AHL lineup when the season gets started if that is what the Senators want and he will be able to develop a little closer to home for the big club. He is an intriguing pick in this range as he was often looked at as a mid-late round pick. With the depth of picks that the Senators had, reaching a bit isn’t too much of an issue but they are betting big on improved skating, conditioning and a lot of refinement. The talent and scoring ability was never in doubt, the projectability is the question with this pick. 

 

71st Overall, Round 3: G Leevi Meriläinen – Kärpät U20 (U20 SM-sarja)

 

I always advocate for taking a netminder in every draft so there is no complaint here from me. The choice of goaltender may have been suspect but there is some promise here. Coming from the Kärpät system in Finland, he is in a great spot for goaltending development. The Kärpät system is also responsible for developing promising goaltender prospects in Avalanche prospect Justus Annunen and fellow 2020 draft pick and Pittsburgh Penguins prospect Joel Blomqvist. DobberProspects’ goalie scout Danny Tiffany had this to say on the newest Senators’ netminder:  

 

Merialäinen is an interesting goalie because he’s so raw. He has never really played up in age, just always played at his level. His stats are good, but they won’t blow you away. He’s an athletic goalie, good size, but he’s really quick. That’s where I think Ottawa looked when they drafted him. He’s nowhere near close to a finished product. He flashes really quick reflexes and gets side to side well. Once his foott work and thought process for goaltending come up to speed with his pure athleticism he will be an exciting goaltender to watch. He shows decent positioning in the net but again could use improvement. He does a great job when the play breaks down to battle for second and third chances.

 

While this may have been a pick that seems off the wall a bit or there may be some criticism of how early they called his name, Leevi Meriläinen is a swing on a goaltender. If a team has a scout that really likes a netminder and it’s outside the first or second round, there shouldn’t be too much criticism that they took the goalie of their choice beyond taking him a bit earlier than they likely could have. 

 

155th Overall, Round 5: W Eric Engstrand – Malmö Redhawks J20 (J20 Nationell)

 

Another player who has been through the draft process and passed over before, Engstrand possesses the size and skating that many find attractive in overage players. He gets around the ice with some pace but he isn’t necessarily the most agile player which is to be expected of a 6’4” winger. Despite his size, he doesn’t really engage physically on his own. He can handle it and protects the puck well when he has to but the initial physical engagement is generally from his opponent. He thrives when he is able to use his skill in space.

 

 

His shot is good but not great. There is some playmaking ability to his game as well although it lacks a dynamic element. The fifth round is generally where teams start to take some pretty big swings and bet on upside. The Senators elected to go with a bit more of a projectable pro player. He is playing in the SHL full time this year, albeit to mixed results thus far. The Senators opted for a player who may be a bit closer to pro-ready and take the overage winger. 

 

158th Overall, Round 6: W Philippe Daoust – Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL)

 

Late round picks are always a long shot. Late round picks with Daoust’s statistical profile are even less likely. He finished last season with 29 points in 58 games. Byron Bader’s model doesn’t shine much light on Daoust and his NHL future either. He plays a decent two-way game at the QMJHL level. He battles through traffic and gets himself into decent positions and in the offensive zone. He needs to be a scoring threat more often as he has never been a real high-level offensive player. 

 

 

He has been producing at a point-per-game this season but he just turned 19 at the beginning of the month, so he should be producing at that level at least. He can be a decent enough playmaker at the junior level but there really isn’t much of a play driving in his game. He is a decent skater and his effort rarely wanes so the possibility that he works out to be a fourth-line player is there. In all honesty, this was a head-scratcher of a pick with the value on the board with players such as Veeti Miettinen, Yevgeni Oksentyuk, or Benjamin Baumgartner all still available, fitting the profile that the Senators seem to like in one way or another and all having a higher upside and quite honestly, a higher floor. 

 

181st Overall, Round 7: W Cole Reinhardt – Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)

 

Another player who was drafted by the Senators after being passed over in the prior two drafts. His status as a double overage player who didn’t really show any signs of taking anything more than a moderate step in the right direction as he ascended to almost a point-per-game in his D+2 season. He has shown some two-way ability and fits the profile of offensively limited overage players that the Senators seemed to enjoy drafting in 2020. He will be faced with the decision of whether to return to the Brandon Wheat Kings for his overage season or he can join Belleville in the AHL, which will likely be a decision aided by the Senators management team. 

 

Draft Summary

 

The 2020 NHL Draft could have been a game-changer. It could have put the Ottawa Senators on a path to dominance and Stanley Cup contention in three to five years. They had the chance to go from having a very good, likely top-10, prospect system in the league to challenging the Los Angeles Kings for the best system in the NHL. The 2020 NHL Draft was supposed to put fear in the eyes of everyone in the Atlantic Division as the Tampa’s and Toronto’s of the world watched the Senators stocked full of picks with two top-five picks and seven in the top-62. 

 

Instead, after the first pick or two, they opted for safety. They opted for overager after overager. They opted for size over skill. They decided that they were going to get their guy. They chose to allow the best players available consistently to pass them by in order to get the guy they felt could be making an impact early on and on their ELCs. It almost felt like they were worried about what they will have to pay a Marco Rossi (an option at five) or Mavrik Bourque (an option at 28) on their next deal before worrying about grabbing the best player available.

 

 

Overall, they probably deserve a ‘C’ for coming out of the draft with some good players and a few who could be NHLers, even if just as the bottom of the lineup type guys. The problem is, we can’t judge the draft in a vacuum. The fact that they were not able to leverage their position as a team with 12 total draft picks and seven in the first 62, along with the fact that the team didn’t alter their franchise’s future the way that they could have, this draft could be looked at with disdain in five years time. The same thing will be said in the future that so many Senators fans and draft analysts are saying now, why didn’t they just take the best player available? 

 

Offseason Additions

 

In: Josh Brown*, Matt Murray*, Erik Gudbranson*, Austin Watson*, Artyom Zub, Yevgeni Dadonov, Alex Galchenyuk, Matthew Peca, Logan Shaw    

 

Out: Mikkel Bødker (Lugano, NL) Andreas Englund (Västerviks IK, Allsvenskan) Jonathan Gruden^ (Pittsburgh Penguins, NHL), Anthony Duclair (unsigned), Bobby Ryan** (Detroit Red Wings, NHL), Mark Borowiecki (Nashville Predators, NHL), Scott Sabourin (Toronto Marlies, AHL), Jayce Hawryluk (Vancouver Canucks, NHL), Ron Hainsey (unsigned), Craig Anderson (unsigned), Clarke MacArthur (unsigned/retired), Ryan Callahan (unsigned/retired)

 

*Trade              ^Traded Away              **Buyout 

 

The departures, for the most part are perfectly acceptable for the most part. The Ottawa Senators are not going to miss the service of players such as Mikkel Bødker, Jayce Hawryluk, or Scott Sabourin. They are all good depth players and provide some leadership and character in the locker room but with so much youth in the system, the Senators need to make room in both the NHL and AHL for their young players to play and these departures help do that. 

 

Bobby Ryan was a surprise buyout when the window to do so opened up earlier this offseason. He had just come off winning the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy after his return from alcohol abuse. He played well in his return to action, providing one of the best moments of the pre-COVID regular season when he scored a hat trick in his first game back on home ice. This was clearly a cost-cutting move for short-term gains but it felt unnecessary and a bit cold from a team that needs some energy. 

 

 

The departure of Craig Anderson was somewhat expected as the 39-year-old is likely to go somewhere as a backup with the Senators wanting to get younger in the crease. They did so by letting him walk and then acquiring Matt Murray from Pittsburgh at the draft. Ron Hainsey fits into this category as well, as the aging blueliner was likely just taking up space that a younger player could use this upcoming season. 

 

The move that seemed to hurt Sens fans the most, however, was letting “Boro-Cop” walk out of the door. Mark Borowiecki was the consummate professional and a leader within the community. He was a player who the young players looked up to as he showed them the ropes in pro-hockey. He was also quietly effective on the ice for the Senators as well. He signed in Nashville for two years at two million annually. The Ottawa Senators could have and should have matched that offer for a player that provides legitimate leadership and character. Two traits that often get thrown around for a lot of guys who “work hard and love the game” but with Boro-Cop, they were visible and actionable. He truly was a great Senator, so much so that they roped into doing one of the most awkward interviews we’ve seen.

 

The additions will be impactful as well. Dadonov is a sneaky good player who will add some offensive punch to the lineup. He has had 65+ points in two of his three seasons in North America with last seasons 47 points as his low mark on a subpar Panthers team. The contract was good value at just five million dollars annually over three years. 

 

Zub, Peca, and Shaw are all depth signings that will likely play a role lower in the lineup for Ottawa as they continue to ease in their prospects. Galchenyuk and Watson will provide third or fourth-line minutes fairly consistently. Galchenyuk could provide some middle-six scoring punch if given the opportunity and he can bounce back from what’s been a tough couple of seasons. Both will likely take away valuable space from a prospect and while they are solid acquisitions, they create a bit of a log jam up front. 

 

Josh Brown and Erik Gudbranson both bring some size and physicality to the back end. Brown, the younger of the two, will likely play a bigger role with the club. He should provide a bit of stability on the backend that the Senators desperately need. Gudbranson brings an element of mean to the table. While he isn’t a player that is going to drive play or provide much in the way of positive on-ice metrics, there is something to be said for teams having a crazy person on their squad who can help protect some of the youth coming up and his leadership has been touted repeatedly by management. 

 

 

Their biggest acquisition of the offseason was easily Matt Murray. They traded draft capital and a mid-low level prospect for the Pittsburgh netminder and they fill a need in the net. The pedigree and experience the two-time Cup Champ brings to the team will be a valuable asset on it’s own. While the trade was good and the acquisition made sense, the contract that the Sens handed him didn’t seem to be universally loved by fans and analysts alike. Four years, $6.25 million per season. While this isn’t the double-digit investment that teams like Florida and Montreal have made in net, this is a large monetary commitment to a goalie who has struggled the last two seasons, especially this past season when he lost his starting gig to Tristan Jarry. At the end of the day, it was a good acquisition and the team is better for it but the cost was a bit high on his new deal so they better hope that they found their goalie of the future. 

 

European Transfers

Jonathan Davidsson (F) Västerviks IK    
Rudolfs Balcers (F) Stavanger Oilers    
Olle Alsing (D) Graz99ers    
Erik Brännström (D) Langnau    
Filip Chlapík (F) HC Sparta Praha    
Filip Gustavsson (G) Södertälje SK    
Vitali Abramov (F) Jukurit    

 

All in all, this offseason was one of transition and growth for the Senators organization. They continue to be on the upswing with a growing and developing prospect pool, a young roster filled with some promising talent. Additions like Murray, Brown, and Dadonov will go a long way to making them competitive this upcoming season. Youth such as Stützle, Sanderson, and Järventie will go a long way to making them competitive at a whole other level in a few years. 

 

They have made some mistakes this offseason, both at the draft and in free agency, but the team is taking form and beginning to look more like an NHL team than an AHL team. The reality is that the Sens are likely looking at another bottom-end season in which they are paying close attention to the 2021 NHL Draft, just as they did for the 2020 event. If nothing else, they’ll have one of the nicest jerseys in the league next season. 

 

*****

 

Thank you for joining me for the Ottawa Senators 31-in-31, a look at their draft and offseason. Be sure to check out the Senators’ prospect page and come back next month for the December edition of the 31-in-31 series which will take a look at how the depth chart breaks down, where the team’s prospects stack up to each other, and the team’s fantasy hockey outlook. Follow me on Twitter @TheTonyFerrari for all your NHL Draft and prospect needs!

 

For your fantasy hockey needs, the DobberProspects Fantasy Prospect Report and Fantasy Guide are the best sources to get you ahead of the game in your league whether you play in a simple year-to-year league or you’re involved in a decade long keeper league, the DobberProspects’ Fantasy Guides are your one-stop-shop for winning your league! 

 

 

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Dmitri Voronkov 5.5 5.5
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