We made it. It’s the end of a year and the beginning of another. With that in mind, it’s as good a time as any to remember that this puts us one year closer to Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk’s proclamation that 2021 will be the beginning of a “five-year run of unparalleled success.”
It’s easy to chuckle at that affirmation, especially after the Senators dropped a 5-2 decision to the Pittsburgh Penguins Monday.
Ottawa is 16-19-5 now, good for seventh in the Atlantic Division. They’ll draw the Florida Panthers for their first game of 2020. The last time they saw Florida was mid-December, a 6-1 loss on the road.
Naturally, the Senators can’t charge into this “five-year run of unparalleled success” without making some changes.
This year’s trade deadline could be a good place to kick off. The Senators have 10 unrestricted free agents and four restricted free agents, which means we could see a lot of roster changes come February 24. Craig Anderson, Mikkel Boedker, Mark Borowiecki, and Jean-Gabriel Pageau are among the most notable UFAs, while Chris Tierney, Anthony Duclair, Connor Brown, and Nick Paul are the RFAs.
Remember, too, that Pierre Dorion and the Sens have five picks in the first two rounds of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft – two are in the first round, with the second one coming from the San Jose Sharks in the Erik Karlsson trade.
With a pile of picks and some trade opportunities, the Senators have every chance to remake this franchise in 2020. The draft looks pretty sweet this time out, too, which could put Ottawa in position to make a few smart selections in the early going.
Does this mean the Senators will turn things around in 2020 and set themselves up for Melnyk’s promised prosperity? On paper, it seems doubtful a team and go from this to that in so short a period of time.
But with money spent the right way and players like Colin White, Brady Tkachuk and Thomas Chabot dotting the landscape, it’s possible we could be taking a look at the 2021 Senators with a whole new outlook.
Photo credit: NHL.com