It has been 165 days since the Montreal Canadiens eliminated the Ottawa Senators in game six of the first round of the NHL Playoffs. Ottawa gets a chance to right that wrong tonight, as they open the season on the road against the Buffalo Sabres. If you want a quick update on who to watch on the Ottawa Senators, we’re here to help.
The Ottawa Senators had surprisingly little roster movement in the off-season. In fact, outside of the call-up of AHL defenseman of the year Chris Wideman from the Binghamton Senators, there is no new player who is expected to play a regular role with the team. However, Ottawa natives Eric O’Dell and Mark Fraser, enforcer Zack Stortini, and defenseman Mike Kostka were signed to play in Binghamton and provide reinforcements. Highly touted goaltender Matt O’Connor signed with the team as a college free agent following a successful career at Boston University, and he will play a backup role tonight behind Craig Anderson in place of injured Andrew Hammond. However O’Connor is expected to be the third-string goaltender and will spend most of the year in Binghamton barring injury to the #1 or #2. As fans, there are no important new numbers to memorize, and it should be pretty easy to pick up where we left off last year
The biggest off-season move involved a trade with Buffalo that sent goalie Robin Lehner and veteran centre David Legwand southward in exchange for a first-round pick in the 2015 NHL entry draft. Both should be in the lineup tonight against their former team. Rugged defenseman Eric Gryba was traded to Edmonton for a 6th round pick, while Corsi wizard Erik Condra headed to Tampa Bay as a free agent. Binghamton players Derek Grant and Alex Grant signed with Calgary and Arizona, respectively. Long-time Senator Chris Phillips is still with the team officially, but a back injury makes it unlikely he will play another game.
Wideman and O’Connor are the only players on the opening night roster who have yet to play an NHL game (though Wideman is expected to be a healthy scratch). Forwards Shane Prince and Matt Puempel will get plenty of ice time throughout the season. While there’s plenty of young talent on this team, the real spotlight will be on sophomore players Mark Stone, Mike Hoffman, and Curtis Lazar.
Karlsson Flow Watch
Tonight’s expected lineup, courtesy of senators.nhl.com:
Enjoy the game tonight everyone, and stay tuned for the home opener on Sunday night against the Habs. Go Sens Go!