The Senators already parted ways with another troubled member in their dressing room over the summer in Mike Hoffman and Karlsson's contract extension situation is believed to be really hanging up progress for this organization's rebuild, will he stay or will he go? You have to know that this will have an effect on the rest of the team and their desire to play at the highest level, especially if he lingers while the team shops for a destination for him.
The return in any deal that sees their captain head out of town will be significant enough, where it should change the face of this team greatly, so it's hard to really gauge where this team will end up before the end of the season, but out of the playoffs seems like a certainty at this point, regardless of the outcome.
Still, the Senators have one of the younger rosters ready to suit up for the 2019 season, showing a below-average aged team, thanks to a number of potential prospects that they'll have a look at this year. The rebuild is real and auditions for future roster spots start now.
Table last updated on August 11th
Most Intriguing or Breakout Player
If Karlsson keeps this team under the microscope, then defenseman Thomas Chabot becomes the most intriguing player on the team, because he is the likely recipient of the mantle of the team's top defenseman before too long. Sure, you could put an argument in for Cody Ceci, but Chabot seems to have the better upside today.
With Karlsson still on the roster, that will limit Chabot's numbers for now, but there is a real sense that when the captain gets moved, the minutes will disperse and I think there will be a good portion that lands in the lap of the 21-year old and he has the ability to make the best of them. I'm definitely keeping an eye out for what he'll be doing this year.
First Round Picks
The tough times that the Senators are preparing to go through, likely won't allow for a player to emerge as a 1st round pick kind of player this season. Newly re-signed Mark Stone may come the closest, likely to lead the team again in pool scoring, but I figure he'll only be a 2nd round pick, tops.
Other Pool Worthy Forwards
The dark clouds of controversy in Ottawa do shadow the youth and potential of this club, which is a real shame, because before all of the talk of tearing this team apart made news last season, their side on paper looked pretty good. Now, doubts and uncertainty has taken away from their potential and now there's only three more forwards I'd consider worthy, at this point: Matt Duchene, Ryan Dzingel and Mikkel Boedker. The Senators do have more talent, no doubt, but they really need to get their heads right and back in the game, before I take a long look at them.
Other Pool Worthy Defensemen
I would say that my current projection for Erik Karlsson is based on him not being moved this season, which does seem unlikely, but until it happens, he's still got to be considered part of this team. Usually, his totals would be higher, but we all know why they aren't now. The other defenseman, other than Karlsson and Chabot, worth considering is Cody Ceci, who had some consideration for the break out spot as well.
Craig Anderson's name has also been bandied about in the trade rumour mill in the summer, but the 37-year old still hasn't budged yet either. His numbers will be a solid reflection of how this team is feeling through the season and it likely won't be great. Mike Condon is set to be his backup again this year, but as long as Anderson is around, he should get the bulk of the work.
Team to Pick From Late?
Despite the situation in Ottawa, there could be a real opportunity for some of these young players to really step up and make a name for themselves. They have a lot more to prove, in order to get a spot on the team and they may not feel as strongly, one way or the other, about what has been going on in the dressing room over the last year. Alex Formenton is a name that keeps popping up as a possible rookie breakthrough or other top picks like Colin White or Logan Brown could finally make their mark too.
Unsigned Players and Salary Cap
Currently, I have the Senators in with a 24-man roster with one injury, see below, and they are still working with $6.8 million in cap space before the start of the season. There certainly is a feeling that things are still going to change, not necessarily for the better, but if the Senators need to take on more money, they certainly can.
Early on, there doesn't seem to be any pressing injury concerns heading into this season. Clarke MacArthur isn't expected to play anymore, so his inclusion in the projections was to reflect that, but his cap hit will probably come in handy in making sure that the team hits the cap floor, if any other major deals go down.