So, the updated version comes only eight days late, but here we go.
The Senators were the last Canadian team with any hope of making the playoffs last season and it certainly wasn't for the lack of trying, as they still had a glimmer of hope around the trade deadline, where they swung a deal with their provincial rivals to acquire Dion Phaneuf, who is now going to be heading into the 2017 season in a Senators jersey, providing the much needed relief to their captain and best player, Erik Karlsson. This bit of good fortune should also aid the rest of the team, as they look to find some more improvement in the coming season, adding a physical element and some more leadership to their dressing room.
Ottawa is building a good core of young players and they have also added a bit more consistent offensive ability in Derick Brassard in a key off-season deal, so they are hoping to be more of a threat, more often in the coming year.
All of these moves and additions, not to mention a full training camp to acclimate with each other, will go a long ways for their own results, not to mention their scoring numbers for us poolies. They have a number of players who are jumping off of the page a little bit, it will be up to you to find the right spot for them at the draft.
Table last updated on August 6th
Most Intriguing or Breakout Player
One of the more intriguing players on the Ottawa roster last season was Jean-Gabriel Pageau, who turned out to be one hell of a shorthanded specialist, leading the NHL in shorthanded goals (7) and points (9), not to mention climbing up the scoring ranks to pool worthiness, 116th among all forwards with 43 points.
Coming into the 2017 season, his stock could be quite high, thanks to his shorthanded value, but those could be some tough numbers to repeat and I wouldn't want to bank on those numbers coming back, hence a bit of a drop in his projections, but if he was to repeat, it would act as the bonus that shorthanded goals and points are to a team. They don't count on them, they just love them when they happen.
First Round Picks
This year's draft may feature one or two 1st round defensemen picks and that will include Erik Karlsson, who blazed to a monster season in 2016 and should carry this Senators team once again in 2017. The Senators have a couple of forwards that are not too far away, but the offense begins with Karlsson at the back end and he'll get a lot of it going again this coming season, so he'll be a hot commodity at the draft, as one team will try and get a good jump on the blueline, likely starting a rush of picks from the back end again.
Other Pool Worthy Forwards
The combination of Mark Stone and Mike Hoffman are developing quite well and they are just about ready to be one of the league's premier 1-2 punches on the offensive fronts. It will be very interesting to see how the Ottawa coaching staff implements these two and who they line up with them, given that they have a new face in Derick Brassard to compliment the likes of Kyle Turris and Bobby Ryan, all pool worthy players. At some point, there is going to be some adjustments made, but they are not too far away.
Other Pool Worthy Defense
The acquisition of Dion Phaneuf at the trade deadline was a sneaky one, as the former Leafs captain plays in a smaller market with a lesser role and that should work out well for both parties. Cody Ceci, when signed, will also play a big part with the future of the team, since he has shown some real potential in his first couple looks, as an NHL defender.
The Senators haven't lost any faith in Craig Anderson, even if they didn't make the playoffs last year. Andrew Hammond wasn't able to repeat the Cinderella story he had in 2015, but you could argue that he didn't really get the chance to and his numbers suffered the year after. Expect Anderson as the number one guy and Hammond to back-up to start the season, but anything can happen and change.
Team To Pick From?
The Senators are not exactly brimming with quality depth, they'll be relying on their top end help and their solid goaltending to do the job this season. They could have their own set of sleepers, with Clarke MacArthur coming back from a major concussion or Curtis Lazar breaking out, but that'll be up to you at the right point in time.
Unsigned Players and Salary Cap
Like it was mentioned before, defenseman Cody Ceci is still without a contract, but the restricted free agent might not be too far away from actually getting that deal done, as the reports have been saying that the Sens have deals on the table, both bridge and long-term, so it could be more about the greenbacks more than anything.
The Senators are not short on cap space at this point, just a shade under $8 million away from the cap ceiling. I wouldn't expect Ceci's new deal to be anywhere near that sort of money, but he'll likely end up with a nice chunk.
The concussion problems that Clarke MacArthur was dealing with in the 2016 season, which limited him to only four games played, seems to have passed him by and now he's geared up and ready to go for the 2017 season. With a big concussion like that beside his name, I would tread carefully for your pool team here.