We are only seven days away from the start of the NHL season. The scheduling of your Fantasy Hockey drafts have begun. The DraftKit is on sale and it is time to start previewing the 2016-17 NHL season.
I will be previewing two teams every day and each preview will consist of: Projected Line Combinations, a breakdown of each team’s top Fantasy assets, a look at their goaltending situation and 2016-17 NHL Standings projection.
If you don’t want to wait for the previews, buy our 2016-17 DraftKit—which has previews for every team as well as projections for over 300 players and goalies. You will get rankings and projections on here over the next few weeks, but why wait, when you can get it all right now for just $4.95?
Let’s take a look at the Ottawa Senators.
|Derick Brassard – C – (from NYR)||Mika Zibanejad – C – (to NYR)|
|Chris Kelly – C – (from BOS)||Alex Chiasson – RW – (to CGY)|
|Chris Phillips – D – (Retired)|
|Patrick Wiercioch – D – (to COL)|
|Mark Fraser – D – (to EDM)|
By: Michael Bondy (@)
The Ottawa Senators come into the 2016-17 season with a new face behind their bench in Guy Boucher and newfound hope that they can return to the playoffs. The Senators finished 11 points out of a playoff spot in 2015-16 and won less than 40 games for the second time in three years. The offseason trade of Mika Zibanejad for Derick Brassard showed management was looking to shake up the roster in hopes of creating a new, more successful identity. The team returns with it’s core talent being led by stud defenseman Erik Karlsson, as well as young snipers Mike Hoffman and Mark Stone. Besides the offseason trade, the Senators did not do much more to improve their team, leading many to expect more of the same from Ottawa. The Senators will surely need improve on their 26th ranked goals against average (2.94) from a season ago if they’re going to make the playoffs this year.
The Senators will be led by their strong top five forwards, more specifically a couple of 50-plus point scorers from a year ago. Stone (23G / 38A) and Mike Hoffman (29G / 30A) will likely round out the team’s top line alongside Kyle Turris, who could not seem to shake off the injury bug a season ago. Turris enters this, his sixth season with Ottawa hoping to return to the form which saw him accumulate 64 points across a full 82 game season in 2014-15. Ottawa’s biggest offseason acquisition Brassard, will look to continue his success from recent seasons in New York which saw him average 59 points over the past two years. The Senators paid a high price to acquire Brassard and will expect him to be a strong second line force. Brassard should be joined on the wing by four time 30-plus goal scorer Bobby Ryan. The American-born winger has had three steady seasons since joining the Senators in 2013-14, averaging 53 points per season, but will look to break past the 60-point plateau for the first time since 2010-11. Look for J.G Pageau to build off a strong season which saw him accumulate an impressive 19 goals and 24 assists in just his age 22 season. He will be hoping to take the step towards becoming a dependable 50-point scorer for years to come. Pageau will likely be lining up next to 2013 first-round selection, Curtis Lazar to round out an overall solid top-9.
One cannot think of the current Ottawa Senators without thinking about the fantasy beast they have occupying their blue line. At the ripe age of 26, Karlsson comes into this season looking to build on a year which saw him rank first in league assists (66), and tied for fourth in league scoring with an absolutely amazing 82 points—he is only the third blueliner in the last 20 years to post 82 points. It will be hard for Karlsson to improve on such a successful year, although with a fully healthy roster it is not unlikely. Karlsson is a sure bet to go in the first round of almost every fantasy league because of his durability (5 of last 6 seasons of 81+ GP) and overall offensive ability. Karlsson should match up with stay at home defender Marc Methot who will simply be in charge taking some off the defensive responsibility off of the Swede. Ex-Maple Leafs’ captain Dion Phaneuf returns to the second pair looking to build off his overall successful 20 game stint with the Senators from a year ago. He should line up next to the exciting, potential sleeper candidate, young Cody Ceci, who saw himself pass the double digit mark for goals in a season for the first time in his three year career.
The familiar face of Craig Anderson returns for his seventh season in Senators’ red. After starting 60 games and winning 31 in 2015-16, Anderson will be expected to get a few more nights off with a healthy Andrew Hammond, backing him up. If Anderson can keep to his career averages he will make a solid pick up in any fantasy league as his high starts, high wins, and above average save percentage make him a solid, steady goaltending option.
The Senators come into the 2016-17 season with many intriguing fantasy assets. With low expectations but high hopes, owners can only hope these players can continue to produce solid fantasy results. Unfortunately as a whole, the Senators do not seem strong enough to be considered true Stanley Cup contenders, but will be a thorn in a lot of team’s sides and a tough matchup regardless of who they are playing. Expect the same familiar faces to lead the team as they look to make it past the first round of the playoffs for the first time since 2012-13.
Senators in the DFO Top 275:
- 8. Erik Karlsson – D
- 63. Mike Hoffman – LW
- 70. Mark Stone – RW
- 76. Kyle Turris – C
- 107. Derick Brassard – C
- 130. Bobby Ryan – RW
- 140. Craig Anderson – G
- 196. Dion Phaneuf – D
2016-17 Season Projection:
The Senators should be a better team than they were last year, but the same goes for the other teams who finished at the bottom of the Atlantic Division last year, like the Buffalo Sabres and Toronto Maple Leafs. They’re taking strides but will remain near the bottom of the division this year.