Contenders or Pretenders?

Karlsson

Photo credit: thehockeywriters.com

Last season, the Ottawa Senators went on a dramatic run at the end of the year and entered the playoffs with a total of 99 points, eliminating the Boston Bruins. This year, the Senators are 3rd in the Atlantic division and people are still doubting them.

After a Paul MacLean got fired last season, everything seemed to be going downhill for the Ottawa Senators. No coach, no playoff spot and no light at the end of the tunnel. And then came along Dave Cameron and Andrew Hammond to save the day and lead them into the playoffs where they were knocked out of the 1st round by the Montreal Canadiens.

Today, in the 2015-2016 season, the Senators seem to be making noise in the Atlantic division with their 16-10-5 record (37 points), being lead by their captain Erik Karlsson, goalie Craig Anderson and youngsters Mike Hoffman and Mark Stone. Bobby Ryan and Kyle Turris have also stepped up to help our the squad.

Coming off a Norris winning season, Erik Karlsson is proving once again why is is one of the best defenders in the NHL. He is currently sitting 5th in the NHL in points with 34 (7-27-34) and is leading defenseman in points once again. He averages over 27 minutes of ice-time per game and only has 28 even strength turnovers, less than one per game. Safe to say Karlsson is displaying dominance across the NHL.

Mark Stone was quite the story last season, in 80 games played he notched 64 points, including 26 goals and made a big for rookie of the year. Not to mention, Stone was one of the better two-way players at the end of the regular season, leading the NHL in takeaways with 98. This season, he is having an excellent sophomore season, with 28 points in 29 games, he is a great top-6 player for the Senators.

Mike Hoffman is another welcomed addition, the 26 year-old is on pace for a 40 goal season and 78 points. He is a perfect fit with Mika Zibanejad and Bobby Ryan. Hoffman will most likely become a consistent 30 goal scorer in the NHL.

hoffman ryan.jpg

Photo credit: the6thsens.com

Bobby Ryan has been rather disappointing since his arrival in Ottawa. He has only put up a high of 54 points in 14-15, but is now turning it on early into the season with a total of 29 points (9 goals) in 31 games. Ryan’s production has definitely been on the rise.

With secondary scoring from players like Mika Zibanejad and Kyle Turris, mixed in with a tough blue line and quality starts from goalies Craig Anderson and Andrew Hammond, the Ottawa Senators will see themselves in the playoffs in no time.

 

Brandon Murphy – @2murphy8

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