Going into this season, many fans and pundits thought that the Ottawa Senators were going to be awful.
It is easy to see why many thought that this would be the case. No more Erik Karlsson or Mike Hoffman, and the team was coming off a year in which they were one of the worst teams in the entire league.
So far, at least, this has not been the case. In fact, as of this writing (October 22), the team is 4-2-1 and is actually just three points behind the Atlantic Division-leading Toronto Maple Leafs.
This is certainly a great surprise for Senators’ fans who did not have much to cheer about coming into the season. With low attendance, a crazy owner, and their best player out of the picture, no one could blame them for thinking the worst of this hockey club.
Thus far, the Senators have been playing winning hockey with great team play. Part of the reason why they are off to such a surprising start is the fact that they are putting the puck in the net with some frequency.
The team is also seventh in the league in goals scored with 28 in seven games. Even if you’re not a math whiz then you know that the team is averaging four goals a game.
Four goals a game for a team that struggled offensively last season is solid. Leading the way for the Sens with nine points each are Chris Tierney and Thomas Chabot.
Chabot is someone who is supposed to be a very good defenseman for a very long time. The 21-year-old was the 18th overall pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft and in 71 games played in his career, he already has 31 points. He definitely needs to improve his defensive game, but that will come as he matures.
If you remember, Tierney is someone they got in the Karlsson deal. He has been a pleasant surprise so far. He’s still just 24 years of age so if he plays with the right players, he could be a worthwhile player for this franchise.
Following those guys are Matt Duchene (8 points), Maxime Lajoie (7 points), and Mark Stone. Lajoie’s play has been surprising because this is his first year in the league and he’s putting up these numbers as a defenseman.
In goal, Craig Anderson hasn’t been terrible. While his goals against average (2.99) isn’t great, his save percentage is a solid .920.
Anderson is coming off an awful season last year after leading his team to within one win of going to the Stanley Cup Final. Last year wasn’t all on him, but his poor play between the pipes certainly hurt the club.
The season is still very young and when it comes to this franchise, there is certainly a lot can go wrong. With that said, the team’s fans should enjoy the good start and realize that this team will compete night in and night out this year.
Photo: Sports Illustrated