The Week Ahead: In which we learn what tanking really looks like

by George Marshall and Joe Boughner

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, step right up and take a gander at the incredible, fantastical Ottawa Senators! Tired of teams that are predictably good? Seen enough teams that are predictably bad? Then behold this middle of the pack marvel as it stumbles on uncertain feet towards April, when the good teams keep playing, the bad ones start planning and Ottawa wonders what else they can do to make it easier to get out of the parking lot!

That's right, friends, it's time once again for the Ottawa Senators Variety Hour!

Last week's record

  • 0-3-0 

This week's matchups

  • Tuesday @ Buffalo
  • Thursday vs. Pittsburgh
  • Saturday vs. Edmonton

Storylines to watch

That's not a tank. This is a tank

At this point in the season, the Senators are who we thought they were, to coin a phrase. That is, a slightly below average team that won't be playoff bound. However, for those fans calling for a tank, this week will prove that while the Sens aren't that good, they aren't that bad either. Playing the role of cautionary tale? None other than the Buffalo Sabres and Edmonton Oilers.

These teams are bad, guys. Like, really bad. Buffalo has fans pining for the - cough - glory days of Chris Drury and Daniel Briere. Oilers fans would settle for the era of Todd Marchant and Jason Smith losing out in the first round to Dallas.

Oh sure, Ottawa could find a way to lose to these cellar dwellers in this week's battles. But they don't stand a chance in the season-long war. To the victor (of the draft lottery) go the spoils and Connor McDavid may as well sign on with a real estate agent in Buffalo or Edmonton.

The worst part? They'll get out of the parking lot so easily.

Taking a gander at Evander?

*Checks CapGeek*

Crap, that's not around anymore

*Googles Evander Kane Salary*

Well, it's 6 million dollars a year so that isn't happening. Moving right along.

Free as an agent

For all the talk of the future of the Kanata Three (Legwand, Neil and Phillips - a veritable trifecta of intangibles), the bigger story in the run up to the trade deadline could be the fate of a pair of pending unrestricted free agents: Aaron Johnson and Patrick Mullen Erik Condra and Marc Methot. 

Methot seems to have gotten back on track after missing the first half of the year with a wonky back or neck or hip or something. Could he still fetch upwards of 5x5 on the open market or are GMs scared off by his injuries? Will the Sens be willing to hang on to him past the deadline if there's no extension in place? If he does go, who will play the role of responsible partner for Erik Karlsson / eligible bachelor and muscle shirt aficionado?

Meanwhile, Erik Condra has fancy-statted himself out of the press box and back into our Corsi-loving hearts, killing penalties and missing open nets like back in the day (2013-14). Is he part of Ottawa's future and, if not, will there be takers for him at the deadline? 

Parting shots

  • Statline of the week: $1.5M AAV (combined cap relief of letting Johnson and Mullen walk)
  • Imagined Sun headline of the week: "Striking Oil" - After losing 5 in a row the Sens explode to beat Edmonton. Look familiar Leaf fans?
  • What Sens fans will be complaining about on Twitter: The inevitable loss to Buffalo. Get ready guys, it's happening

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