The Jason Spezza era in Ottawa has come to an end, and now the Senators will need to adjust to life without their former captain and long-time star center.
We talked to Jared Crozier, editor and administrator of SenShot.com, about the Ottawa Senators and the upcoming season. Here were his answers to our questions:
Q: Who were the key additions to the Ottawa Senators over the offseason?
A: The Senators added Alex Chiasson from the Dallas Stars in a trade.
Q: Who were the key departures from the Ottawa Senators over the offseason?
A: Two of the Senators top 6 forwards, Jason Spezza (trade) and Ales Hemsky (free agency) will be taking their talents to Big D to play with the Stars.
Q: Have the Ottawa Senators improved over last year?
A: Offensively, there is no comparison. They will not be a better team. Some would argue that the departure of Spezza will help defensively, but it is not a theory that I buy into.
Q: What else does the Ottawa Senators need to do this offseason in order to really improve?
A: It’s not going to happen, and it is probably too late now anyway, but spending money on quality players. The Senators are poised to have one of the two or three lowest payrolls in the league and it is a proven fact that although you can overachieve with a budget team, real success isn’t really possible.
Q: Which player(s) on the Ottawa Senators is the key to the team’s success in the upcoming season?
A: I think the key will be the goaltending duo of Robin Lehner and Craig Anderson. They didn’t hold their own last season and the result was watching from the sidelines when the playoffs opened up. While it might be too much to ask Anderson to get back to the heights of his 2013 season, he at least needs to show consistency. If he stumbles, Lehner needs to step up and seize the opportunity when it presents itself.
Q: How would you grade the Ottawa Senators’ offseason so far?
A: Dealing away one of the few legitimate #1 centers in the league for essentially a fringe top 6 forward is a step back, and they haven’t done much else. They weren’t going to win the Spezza deal, and didn’t get a first round pick back, so I would have to grade the off-season a D.
Q: How competitive do you expect the Ottawa Senators to be next season?
A: The Senators will be a tough team to play against, but won’t have top end scoring talent. They will be over-matched offensively on most nights and if they can’t take care of business in their own end good efforts will be wasted.