SEASON RECAP: Ottawa Senators 2016-17
by Joe Boughner (@McLlwainsWorld)
With the 2015-16 season winding down, and with the Senators sitting well back from playoff contention, most reputable blogs are starting to put together their season retrospectives. But since Bonks Mullet Dot Com has been proven by science to be not reputable, we're doing something a little different. Any blogger can write a review of what's happened. We're writing a review of what's going to happen. Here then is your 2016-17 season recap.
Once again, the Ottawa Senators made it close but were unable to string together enough wins in the month of March to catch Steven Stamkos and the Buffalo Sabres for the last wildcard spot. With garbage bag day set to take place in a couple of days, we thought we'd look back on the best and worst of your 2016-17 Sens.
ForwardsIn many ways, the die was cast for this group when Mike Hoffman was dealt for the rights to Stamkos at the draft, only to see Stamkos sign with the Sabres after the Senators were unwilling to commit to anything beyond a four year deal for the talented sniper.
Zack Smith was unable to build on last year's success and instead regressed to his career norms, making the five year, $25 million extension he signed in the summer an issue of concern heading into next season. Smith might still fit into the mix on the third line but that's a lot of money to pay someone to play in the bottom six for the next five years.
Clarke MacArthur was finally able to put his injury woes behind him and play a full season but he struggled to find chemistry with Scott Gomez, whose two year deal was as criticized as Smith's extension by some corners of the fanbase.
|The A is for effort. And also albatross.|
The only thing we know for certain is that the All-Star trio of Mark Stone, Kyle Turris and Bobby Ryan had an excellent year together and will likely be split up to start next season in an effort to evenly spread the talent all over the lineup.
DefenceIn retrospect, naming Mark Borowiecki as an assistant captain and a playing assistant coach might have been a case of too much, too soon for the Kanata native. Particularly given that coach Randy Carlyle put him in charge of offensive schemes and the power play. Zdeno Chara showed that a big body presence in front of the net can work on the powerplay but the Boro Experiment just as conclusively determined that it can fail miserably too.
Cody Ceci and Chris Wideman made a competent 5-6 pair but Boro never found his groove as a top pairing d-man, even with Dion Phaneuf there to provide his offensive punch. One can only hope that Erik Karlsson and his three Norris trophies will get over the pain of being demoted to the 3-4 slot and that Marc Methot finally comes back from his third degree arm sunburn in time for opening night.
Expect the Senators to be in on the bidding for a more established d-man like Toronto's Patrick Wiercioch or Stanley Cup champion Jared Cowen from Florida.
GoaltendingTo think, we all thought coach Carlyle was clowning when he dressed Matt O'Connor for his second consecutive home opener. Had we known just how serious Craig Anderson's injury was we might've read this as the omen it was. O'Connor and Hammond made a decent tandem for short stretches but it was the deadline acquisition of Martin Brodeur that made us realize we may've seen the last of Anderson in the red senturion.
Get well soon, Andy. And maybe it's time to swear off of frozen chicken?