To get you ready for the 2015-16 season, we will be previewing all 30 NHL in 30 days, division by division. Check the bottom of the page for a schedule of each preview.
Today’s team: Ottawa Senators
2014-15 record: 43-26-13, 4th in the Atlantic
How they finished: Lost in six games to Montreal in the Conference Quarterfinals
Coach: Dave Cameron (2nd season)
Notable additions: None
Notable subtractions: G Robin Lehner, C David Legwand, D Eric Gryba, RW Erik Condra
Schedule against the Capitals: Wed. Dec. 16 at Washington, Sun. Jan. 10 at Washington, Tue. Mar. 22 at Ottawa
Outlook: After a slow start to the season last year, the Senators really took off when Dave Cameron took over as head coach for Paul MacLean. Because of the team's success with so many young players, the Senators have decided to double down this year by electing to trade away veterans like David Legwand and Eric Gryba and also allowed Erik Condra to sign elsewhere.
Cameron made a real commitment to his young players and that trend will surely continue which gives prospects like Shane Prince and Chris Wideman a chance to make the team.
Something scary to consider is that Erik Karlsson who has already won two Norris Trophies is only 25. We may not have even seen him hit his peak yet. With so many young players on the roster who are only getting better such as Karlsson and Mark Stone, the Senators could have a fairly dangerous lineup.
The real question with this team comes down to goaltending. Am I the only one who thinks Ottawa made a big mistake by trading away Robin Lehner?
Last season, Andrew Hammond was able to carry this team into the postseason with an insane 20-1-2 record. Despite how much they depended on him to get them there, the Senators were pretty quick to turn to Craig Anderson after falling into an 0-2 hole in their series against Montreal.
In the offseason, the 27-year-old 'Hamburglar' was signed to a 3-year deal at $1.35 million per year. Compare that to Devan Dubnyk's new deal. Dubnyk, 29, was acquired during the season by Minnesota in a trade. He also carried his team into the playoffs and he was rewarded with a six-year deal at about $4.333 million per year.
Money talks and the money says that the Senators don't trust Hammond as much as you may think. He was abandoned quickly in the playoffs and what amounts to a backup goalie's contract.
If they want him to backup Anderson, that's fine. Anderson has been phenomenal for the Ottawa...when he's on the ice. After being traded from Colorado in 2011, Anderson has had a lot of injury issues, playing in 50 or more games for the Senators only twice.
So Ottawa decided to trade away the 24-year-old Lehner in favor of a goalie who even they don't seem to trust and the injury-prone Anderson. If they didn't believe in Lehner either, then perhaps this is an understandable move, but it could blow up in Ottawa's face if their tandem struggles and Lehner excels as Buffalo's starter.
Expectations: The Senators are going to be an interesting team to watch because they have all the pieces to be a very good team, the trick is going to be finding a way to make it all click the way it did when Hammond stepped in for them last season.
With a full season to play under Cameron, a healthy Anderson and the continued development of young stars like Karlsson and Stone, Ottawa can make a lot of noise this season. They need more out of Bobby Ryan, but the potential is there.
They could also just as easily flop.
The young players may not be as far along as the team had hoped or Anderson may suffer yet another injury and who knows how Hammond will play this season?
There is a lot of uncertainty here.
If everything falls their way, this is definitely a playoff team and one capable of an upset or two, but not yet a contender. If things don't fall their way, the mantra could quickly turn into developing the young players for the 2016-17 season.
MORE CAPS: Should Kolzig be in the Hockey Hall of Fame?
See more team previews:
Carolina Hurricanes 8/23
Columbus Blue Jackets 8/24
New Jersey Devils 8/25
New York Islanders 8/26
New York Rangers 8/27
Philadelphia Flyers 8/28
Pittsburgh Penguins 8/29
Washington Capitals 8/30