Now, the trick, heading into the 2018 season is making sure they can keep the intensity that they had to try and replicate a very successful season. The management team decided not to rock the boat too much, opting to keep the better part of this team together, while not bringing in a lot of new talent to disrupt the chemistry.
Another big plus, heading into the season will be Craig Anderson and his outlook on the coming season, as he lost a lot of playing time to his family issues at home, which appear to have all been cleared up and he will be ready to go for a 60+ game season, for sure.
Table last updated on August 5th
Most Intriguing or Breakout Player
Welcome back, Clarke MacArthur! I think we heard that a few time during the playoffs last year, as he finally returned from some serious concussion issues and played in 19 playoff games, picking up 3 goals and 9 points in those games and he should be a very viable option in the regular season this year.
MacArthur only figured into four regular season games before the playoffs kicked off, so he will be one of those hidden players on a lot of lists, as he didn't score during the year and if you have his name in your notes, you could probably find a few extra points in a later round, when everyone has forgotten about him. Another good reason to have a comprehensive list of projections, heading into the draft.
First Round Picks
I have dialed back my projection for Erik Karlsson, but that doesn't mean he's not worthy of a 1st round pick. I have him in at 75 points, which is a fringe pick in the opening round, but if MacArthur is back, that's an added weapon up front for him to cash in with. Karlsson can hang with the 80-point players and with a healthy roster behind him, there really is no reason why he couldn't be up there, it's a bit of an in-between 2016 and 2017.
Other Pool Worthy Forwards
The Senators are not short on offense heading into the 2018 season, having seven forwards on the worthy list, before training camp starts. Mike Hoffman, Kyle Turris and Mark Stone are all poised to jump back into the scoring race, Derrick Brassard could be late to the party, but should still be very good this year, Ryan Dzingel and Jean-Gabriel Pageau are both good options down in the later rounds, if you don't lift them too high, because of their playoff aptitude.
Other Pool Worthy Defense
Make fun of Dion Phaneuf all you like, I know I will, but I'll be damned to say that he isn't a complimentary player in Ottawa. His numbers over the last three years have been certainly more of a complimentary scorer and that's his role and I think he's okay with it. Look for him to do it again. I would like to see Cody Ceci do a little bit more, but there is no indication that he has it in him... yet. The Sens blueline does have some good sleepers, all three of the rest of the six have potential, Thomas Chabot as a rookie, Frederik Claesson had a good playoffs and Chris Wideman did too. That's some good sleepers right there.
Craig Anderson was fortunate enough to have one of the best management teams in sports to play for, allowing him to deal with his family situation for a good stretch of the year last year. He should get the reins again and should play well, just short of 1st round acknowledgements. Mike Condon was very good, when Anderson couldn't go and he gets the nod as a very capable backup and these two are both very worthy.
Team To Pick From Late?
Bobby Ryan had a pretty good playoff run, but his regular season numbers are dwindling, not to mention the lingering possibility of being in Vegas this year... two real possibilities as to why he's only a fringe player this season. He's the guy that could show me up, but I don't think I'm ready to buy into him this year. Zack Smith and Alex Burrows, also fringe guys, good depth, but might not be enough in the scoring columns.
Unsigned Players and Salary Cap
The Senators don't appear to have any worries in the remainder of the off-season and they have budgeted quite well, leaving under $3.8 million in unused cap space to play with during the regular season. I think the Senators are going to be fighting for that wild card spot again this year, with the Atlantic Division working extra hard around them, so they'll need that space to put themselves over the top.
Off-season surgeries to both Erik Karlsson and Derick Brassard may linger into training camp, possibly into the first week or two into the season, so that is something to keep a close eye on. Karlsson went through the playoffs with broken bones in his foot, while Brassard had significant shoulder surgery and it would be wise to look up their statuses, just before we are to start drafting.