From July 16-Aug 16, we’ll be profiling all 30 NHL teams by recapping what they did this offseason and previewing their upcoming campaigns.
41-31-10, 92 points. Second in Northeast Division, eighth in the Eastern Conference. Lost in the conference quarterfinals (4-3) to the New York Rangers.
Marc Methot, Guillaume Latendresse, Mike Lundin
Filip Kuba, Nick Foligno, Zenon Konopka, Matt Carkner, Bobby Butler
First round, 15th overall — D Cody Ceci (OHL Ottawa)
It was a busy offseason in Ottawa, one where Sens GM Bryan Murray changed up numerous complimentary pieces. The club’s biggest move, obviously, was inking Norris winner Erik Karlsson to a seven-year, $45.5 million deal...but there was also the key re-signing of veteran grit forward Chris Neil.
It’s possible locking up those two pieces will push captain Daniel Alfredsson to stave off retirement. Karlsson’s a fellow Swede, Neil’s been Alfredsson’s teammate for 10 years and after those signings, Murray said there was optimism Alfie would come back.
In terms of Ottawa’s new faces, Guillaume Latendresse and Marc Methot should step in and play key roles. Latendresse has a chance to receive top-six minutes up front while Methot is a candidate to replace Filip Kuba as Karlsson’s defensive partner.
With noted tough guys like Zenon Konopka and Matt Carkner gone and a slew of talented young forward prospects (Mark Stone, Jakob Silfverberg, Mika Zibanejad, Stefan Noesen, Matt Puempel) on the horizon, there’s a chance Ottawa could be an even more offensively dynamic team in 2012-13.
That’s an exciting prospect considering the Sens averaged 2.96 goals per game last year, fourth most in the NHL.
Ottawa’s narrative for the rest of the summer will likely revolve around Alfredsson and whether he’ll return to the Canadian capital. If he does, it gives him a chance at a pretty compelling swan song as the Sens should again challenge for a playoff spot.
If he doesn’t, it’ll be a major loss for the Sens not just in player quality, but also leadership. Alfredsson has served as captain since 1999 and was an important veteran presence on an Ottawa team that dressed 10 rookies last season.
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