GDHQNHL15_2pg-Ottawa Senators 1

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Offense The Ottawa Senators made a late push for a playoff spot on the back of their explosive offense with a 9-2-1 run to finish the season, but it wasn’t enough to catch the Red Wings or Blue Jackets. The offense led the charge with 33 regulation goals and the team went 4-1 in shootouts over that stretch. For the second straight year, the Senators will have to recover from the loss of a long time team leader. Jason Spezza was traded to the Dallas Stars in the offseason after scoring 23 goals and finishing second on the team in points with 66. The previous year, Daniel Alfredsson left for Detroit in free agency. The true star of the Ottawa Senators offense is defenseman Erik Karlsson. The 24-year-old Swede scored 20 goals and 77 points, which ranked 14th in the league, and was 13 points ahead of any other defenseman. He’s an elite player that is always strong on the puck and makes Ottawa very dangerous in transition. The Senators traded for Bobby Ryan last offseason but they expected more out of him. After scoring over 30 goals and 57 points in each of his four full seasons with the Anaheim Ducks, Ryan scored 23 goals and tallied 48 points last year. On top of that, the 27-year old winger has expressed hesitation at signing a long-term extension with the Senators. There was no disappointment in the play of Clarke MacArthur or Kyle Turris. MacArthur was another addition from last offseason and he was second on the team in goals scored with a career record 24. He was rewarded for his play with a 5-year contract extension. Turris also set a new career mark with 26 goals, which led the team, and will be asked to take a more prominent role on the team this season when he tires to fill Spezza’s role as the team’s first-line center. Alex Chiasson was the big return in the Spezza trade. He averaged over 15 minutes per game in his rookie season with Dallas and should fit nicely into the second line along with veteran two-way center David Legwand, who has been quite productive throughout his 15 years in the league. Defense Where the Senators offense soared, their defense faltered. They were undisciplined all year, especially in the early parts of the season where they got off to 4-6-4 start and allowed 43 goals in regulation. Without any major additions to the blue line, it will be up to the same group of guys to step up their game. On top of his phenomenal playmaking ability, Karlsson is also a former Norris Trophy winner. He was second in the league amongst non-goalies with over 27 minutes of ice-time per game. But with such outstanding offensive play, it’s hard to fault Karlsson for not having his best defensive season. He has the ability to be a rock on both ends of the ice, and the Senators will need him to get back to that. Methot was the team’s next most reliable defenseman last season and it earned him some time paired beside Karlsson. But it did not earn him enough leverage at the negotiating table as his agent and Senators’ GM Bryan Murray got into a public spat over the terms of Methot’s contract. EASTERN CONFERENCE ATLANTIC DIVISION Kyle Turris Ottawa SENATORS Key Additions: David Legwand, Alex Chiasson Key Subtractions: Jason Spezza, Ales Hemsky Strengths: Erik Karlsson on both ends, Goaltending Weaknesses: Defense, special teams Justin K. Aller/NHL/Getty Images


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