The Ottawa Senators haven’t made too many changes this summer, but the ones that they have made have been significant. Despite the loss of Daniel Alfredsson, there’s a chance that this team could be better than they were in 2013. But even with their offensive additions, this is still a team that will be led by their defense.
That doesn’t mean their offense won’t be better. It’s difficult to see them being any less efficient at putting the puck in the back of the net, as they ranked 27th in the league in 2013 in goals per game. But this is still a team built around what they can do on defense and between the pipes, especially as they wait for some of their young offensive talent to realize its potential.
The Senators were second in the league in goals against per game last season, allowing only 2.08 goals per contest last year. They had an excellent penalty kill as well, coming in at no. 1 in the league in killing off 88 percent of opposing teams’ power plays. That trend should continue on into the new year.
Ottawa boasts an absolutely dynamite top defensive pairing. Erik Karlsson may be the best offensive defenseman in the game, while one of the better shut down d-men in the league sits next to him, in Marc Methot. Despite limited action for Karlsson, the two were terrific together in 2013.
Chris Phillips should continue to provide the steady, physical play that he has throughout his career. Jared Cowen hits everything that moves, as can Eric Gryba. Regardless of what you might think of Joe Corvo, he can come in and contribute and provide some offense from the blue line as well.
This is a tough blue line to play against. They have offensive talent from the defensive end, and they have tremendous size and physicality. Combine that with Craig Anderson in net, and this will continue to be a team that will be tough to put the puck in the net against in 2013-14.
Whether or not their offense will follow suit, of course, remains to be seen.