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Senators Clinch Playoff Birth

2021-06-03

From cellar dweller to stellar in just one season - A look at how the Ottawa Senators went form 67 points in 82 games last season, to 105 in just 76 games this year.

2020-07-12 - The Senators General Manager vacancy is filled as Ottawa brings in Cole Bates, after an abysmal season, which saw the team finish 2nd last in the EHE overall standings. Sens fans were still picking their socks up from trades in January and March that saw Kirill Kaprizov and Cayden Primeau traded for inadequate returns. Ottawa has a bright future nonetheless, boasting an impressive pool of prospects and picks.

2021-06-03 - Ottawa sits tied for 2nd in the EHE standings, not 2nd last. The Senators lead the Lemieux Conference with 105 points (49-20-7), an incredible 38 point leap, and 29 spot jump in the standings, less than one year later.

A ton of work was necessary if Ottawa was to make any sort of tangible improvement in the standings. With an abundance of assets, and a wide-open opportunity in the Eastern Conference, The Sens General Manager took to the phone lines to facilitate a plethora of trades. Ottawa's roster re-shape was so dramatic, it has only 3 players remaining from the 2019-2020 season (Anthony Cirelli, Jared McCan, and Nick Paul).

(BEFORE)

McCan  Cirelli     Kase
Nosek   Turris     Acciari
Paul       Nosek   Nash
Khaira    Wilson  Kamenev

Murray  Scandella
Sbisa      Stone
Djoos    Harrington

Binnington
Crawford

(AFTER)

Tatar     O'Reilly   Bailey
JVR       Cirelli      Granlund
McCan  Pageau   Zuccarello
Paul      Backlund Duclair

Yandle  Hainsey
McNabb Karlsson
Dekeyser Subban

Lehner
Mrazaek

The Barry Trotz-lead group is a results by committee type team. Scoring for Ottawa is spread across the board with the most notable contributions coming from catalyst Anthony Cirelli (80 PTS), and his linemate, Mikael Granlund (68 PTS). Ryan O'Reilly, Tomas Tatar, JG Pageau, and Josh Bailey have been the other most consistent forwards up front. Keith Yandle has performed on Defense, alongside grizzled veteran partner Ron Hainsey. The Senators would not of maintained their position in the standings had it not been for the Erik Karlsson trade, which stabilized the second pairing with Brayden McNabb. In goal, Robin Lehner has a record of 31-16-5, with a 0.907%. Lehner has struggled to find his way this season, failing to remain consistent over a lengthy period of time.

Ottawa's depth, coaching, and experience will be their biggest strengths heading into the post season. Down the middle, The Sens can run Cirelli, O'Reilly, Pageau, and Backlund, which is no easy task for any opposing team.The back end is adequate, but the Goaltending remains a question mark with Lehner's lack of consistency. Despite peachy regular season results, no series will come easy. It is important for Ottawa to have a nice run in the 2021 playoffs, considering the "go for it" mentality Management took on this year, and a handful of pending UFA's on the roster. 

Although there is an added element of pressure to make a run this postseason, The Sens GM has no regrets either way.

"No matter what happens, the turnaround we made this season is something to be proud of. As General Manager, I made a decision to put stock into this team after they earned it with the start they had. I think our depth is built for the playoffs, I have a ton of confidence in our players, and our coach." Said Bates.

Bates on his thought processes as General Manger in New Jersey, versus Ottawa.

"Two completely different models from my time in New Jersery to Ottawa. The difference in Ottawa is that there was already assets here to work with. In Jersey it was so bare, when I came in, there was no choice but to start form the ground up. With Ottawa, there were other options so long as we were aggressive enough to achieve them. The talent pool is spread out, especially in the Lemieux conference, I think there's an opportunity to compete if you know what you need."

Ottawa is 1st in the Lemieux Conference for now, but Division rivals in Buffalo and Florida are close behind. The race to the finish should be a compelling one, as point separation is close. For purposes of glory and potential 1st round match-ups, Ottawa hopes to maintain their hold on 1st place. In the meantime, we wait, for the closing act of the 2020-2021 season, the playoffs.
 
Only 6 games to go before the real show begins! Best of luck to teams fighting for the final spots!

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