This isn’t Noesen’s first serious injury. The 21-year-old forward also tore his ACL early last season, managing to play just two games for AHL Norfolk before missing the rest of the regular campaign (though he did return for four playoff games.)
Ryan discussed the process in-depth with the Ottawa Sun, claiming that he signed that big-money deal “with a very clear conscience.”
While he chalked up talk of joining the Philadelphia Flyers to social media and blamed “arbitrary GMs” for questions regarding his relationship with Senators head coach Paul MacLean, he did admit that he was at least tempted to test free agency in the summer of 2015.
“There was to a degree,” Ryan said. “You play seven years for (free agency) and a guy in my position is likely going to be signing a long-term deal. I did mull over the idea of maybe getting to a place where you can control your own culture, control where you’re going to be and start a family and stuff. Only being in Ottawa one year, at that point, I wasn’t sure if that was right for me.
“After speaking on it all summer with friends and family, we had no minuses with all the places we’d tabbed to possibly look into. Ottawa just felt right. It just felt natural.”
As alluring as the possibility of an even bigger deal and the freedom to choose the best situation might have been, it’s difficult to deny that Ryan’s choice was probably a no-brainer.
And, hey, it should silence the trade rumors … for a little while.
We made a list of 30 questions ahead of the 2014-15 NHL season, then we tried to answer those questions. Enjoy:
1. Of all the teams that missed the playoffs last season, the most likely to make the playoffs this season is…
Jason Brough: Washington. I considered a few teams here, but I think Barry Trotz will be good for the Caps, and I liked the Matt Niskanen signing.
James O’Brien: The Isles. The Capitals and Devils are awfully tempting choices, but I love what Garth Snow did this offseason.
Ryan Dadoun: The New York Islanders. I think their top two forward lines look pretty good and Jaroslav Halak should be solid between the pipes.
Cam Tucker: Vancouver. Outside of trading Ryan Kesler, the core didn’t change, but they’ve added younger players and a new coach known for getting the most out of his players.
Dhiren Mahiban: Can’t argue with the Islanders choice. The additions of Johnny Boychuk, Nick Leddy and Halak certainly make them better on the back end. Throw in a healthy John Tavares and this is a playoff team.
Mike Halford: Isles. Three of the Metro’s playoff teams from last year — Rangers, Flyers and Blue Jackets — have their issues and could take a step back.
2.Of all the teams that made the playoffs last season, the most likely to miss the playoffs is…
JB: Philadelphia. The blue line was already a concern before Kimmo Timonen was diagnosed with blood clots. Can’t say I’m the biggest believer in Steve Mason either.
JO: Philadelphia. Even if that offensive attack is so potent that it’s very scary to pick against them.
RD: Columbus. I really want to believe in the Blue Jackets, but with Nathan Horton out and Ryan Johansen missing training camp, I’m really wondering about the offense.
CT: Detroit. Aging core group of forwards that’s struggled to stay healthy. And that playoff streak, at 23 years now, has to end eventually, right?
DM: Detroit. Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg are coming off injuries and are a year older. Youngsters Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar and Tomas Jurco won’t be catching anyone by surprise this season.
MH: Columbus. Will get off to a slow start (Horton/Jenner/Murray out, Johansen trying to get up to speed) and never recover.
3. The Red Wings have made the playoffs 23 straight seasons. Will they make it 24?
JB: No. I absolutely hate betting against a Mike Babcock-coached team, but it feels like the end of an era in Detroit.
JO: Yes. It won’t be pretty, but Babcock will scowl his way into another postseason and then gain the Bill Belichick-like power he craves … just maybe not in Detroit.
RD: Yes. They’re lucky they moved from the Western Conference to the East when they did.
CT: No. Again, health a big concern. Not entirely sold on their goaltending, either.
DM: No. Health and young players providing a repeat performance are big concerns.
MH: Yes. I don’t get why everybody’s so down on the Wings. They had 93 points last year with basically half their roster. Zetterberg’s healthy, Howard’s healthy and Nyquist is primed for his first full NHL season.
4. The Edmonton Oilers have missed the playoffs eight straight seasons. Will they make it nine?
JB: Yes. Too many good teams in the West, combined with too little experience down the middle. I think they’ll be harder to play against though.
JO: Yes. This is the first time I’ve nearly been lured in by the siren call of their potential, but a stacked West provides the beeswax to resist for one more year.
RD: Yes. I think the Oilers are moving in the right direction, but I look at their competition and I just don’t see how Edmonton can squeeze into the playoffs.
CT: Yes. They play in the Pacific Division.
DM: Yes. The Pacific Division is just too strong and the Oilers are predominantly young and inexperienced.
MH: I want to say no just to be different, but yes.
5. The worst team in the NHL will be…
JB: Calgary. But holy heck could the Flames be dangerous in a few years if they get Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel.
JO: Buffalo. The Sabres’ third jersey should be a tank … with swords.
RD: Buffalo. The Sabres were remarkably bad last season and I don’t think they’ve closed the gap between them and the rest of the league.
CT: Florida. Even with Roberto Luongo and Shawn Thornton.
DM: Carolina. Jordan Staal is out 3-4 months. Now Jeff Skinner’s health is in question.
MH: Carolina. Even the owner wants out of this mess.
6. The biggest wildcard team (i.e. could be good, could be awful) is…
JB: Islanders. On paper, they’re a lot better than last season. That said, I always get nervous about “good on paper” teams, and I have trouble putting 100 percent faith in an organization that hasn’t won a playoff series since 1993.
JO: Edmonton. They actually employ two goalies who could conceivably be above average. But…Oilers.
RD: Washington. If Braden Holtby plays well, if Barry Trotz can get the most out of the players, then they could be something special. This team has plenty of risks though.
CT: Toronto. The Leafs give up a lot of shots, and it caught up with them last season. But this team has good players. They just need to be used the right way.
DM: Toronto. So many “ifs” on this team. The roster has potential though.
MH: San Jose. I literally have no idea what to expect from a team that may have had a nervous breakdown this summer. The Sharks could win the division. They could also be a steaming pile of diapers. Neither would surprise me.
7. Are the San Jose Sharks more likely to be a complete disaster or Stanley Cup champs?
JB: Stanley Cup champs. I just remember what people were saying about the Bruins after they blew that 3-0 lead to the Flyers in 2010. We all know what they did the next year. (That being said, I’m not ruling out complete disaster.)
JO: Stanley Cup champs. Even after a dopey offseason, the Sharks didn’t blow everything up. I will change my tune if they foolishly trade Joe Thornton and/or Patrick Marleau, however.
RD: Stanley Cup champs. It’s hard to look at their roster and see them as anything other than a playoff team.
CT: Stanley Cup champs. I would define complete disaster as missing the playoffs. Don’t see that happening.
DM: Stanley Cup champs?! C’mon, this team has never been past the conference final. It’ll stay that way.
MH: Complete disaster. No, wait, Stanley Cup champs. No, wait, complete disaster. No, wait…
8. True or false: the Colorado Avalanche will prove the analytics guys right and regress.
JB: True. Tough to say how far they’ll regress, but I sure don’t see them winning the Central again. Wouldn’t be shocked if they missed the playoffs.
JO: True. I don’t think Semyon Varlamov can replicate that “Dominik Hasek carrying Buffalo” impression from 2013-14.
RD: True. I can’t see them matching last season’s 52-22-8 record, but they should still make the playoffs.
CT: True, but they’ll still qualify for the playoffs.
DM: True, they set the bar awfully high last season, but they’ll still make the playoffs.
MH: True. And I, for one, welcome our new fancy stats overlords and would like to remind them that as a trusted internet blogger, I can be helpful in browbeating others into their nerdy ways.
9. One team that isn’t getting enough respect is…
JB: Pittsburgh. Yes, the Pens have had some serious postseason letdowns in recent seasons, but it’s not like they’ve gone out in the first round every year. I also really liked the Christian Ehrhoff signing.
JO: Vancouver. Their core is getting a little creaky, but everyone (save the occasional Chris Higgins) looked worse in John Tortorella’s ill-fitting system.
CT: Pittsburgh. Never really considered leaving them off.
DM: St. Louis. They haven’t made it past the second round since 2002, but the pieces are coming together nicely.
MH: Tampa Bay. Love the upgrades.
13. The best team to miss your cut was…
JB: Minnesota. With the goaltending uncertainty and all the other tough Western Conference teams going against the Wild.
JO: The Rangers. Henrik Lundqvist heals many wounds, but they suffered some tough losses this offseason.
RD: Dallas. I have concerns about their blueline and that’s what kept them off my list, but they’re strong in every other respect.
CT: Montreal. They’re a final four team, but getting to the next level, I’m not sure.
DM: The Rangers. They got to the final last year, but lost some key players this summer.
MH: Anaheim. Loaded up front, not so much on defense.
14. The Canadian team with the best chance to win the country’s first Stanley Cup since 1993 is…
JB: Obvious answer is Montreal. The sad thing for Canadian hockey fans? Vancouver ranks No. 2 on my list. And while I think they’ll fight for a playoff spot, it’s hard to call the Canucks Cup contenders anymore.
JO: Montreal faces the easier path to the championship round, boasts an elite goalie (Carey Price) and an elite blueliner (P.K. Subban) plus very good prime-age players and a potential breakout candidate in Alex Galchenyuk. They’re a tempting finalist pick even beyond the Canadian confines, honestly.
RD: Montreal by default. Don’t get me wrong, I think the Canadiens are a good team, but it’s not like they have much competition among their Canadian counterparts.
CT: Montreal. Wouldn’t surprise me if the Habs are the only Canadian team to make the playoffs — again.
DM: Montreal. With Carey Price healthy last season, they could’ve been in the final last year.
MH: Montreal. There’s no other real answer here.
15. The goaltending storyline you’re most interested to follow is…
JB: The one in Anaheim, where the Ducks are going with “the kids,” John Gibson and Frederik Andersen.
JO: Anaheim’s my first vote, although I’m quite excited to see what happens regarding contract years for Marc-Andre Fleury and Antti Niemi, too.
RD: Anaheim’s, but for the sake of being different, I’ll say St. Louis. I’m a big fan of the Blues and part of that is because I believe Brian Elliott is capable of leading that team.
CT: Vancouver. Ryan Miller was the big free agent signing and is working with a new goalie coach in Rollie Melanson. Plus, back-up Eddie Lack has looked good in the preseason. Plus, what is Vancouver without a goaltending controversy? Come on…
DM: Toronto. The Leafs brought back James Reimer despite an obvious rift with head coach Randy Carlyle. What happens if Jonathan Bernier suffers a significant injury this season? We all remember how it went down the stretch last year.
MH: Carolina. Is Cam Ward going to be the league’s highest-paid backup? And if he is, how bad will that look on what could be the NHL’s worst team?
16. A young player you expect to burst onto the scene is…
JB: Leon Draisaitl in Edmonton. Currently pegged as the Oilers’ second-line center. A big job for an 18-year-old rookie, but a big opportunity, too.
JO: Seth Jones, unless that’s cheating because he already did burst onto the scene? Peter Laviolette’s system could be a fantastic fit for his skills.
RD: Jonathan Drouin. He might start the season on the sidelines, but he could end up leading all rookies in points if he gets a top-six role in Tampa Bay.
CT: Johnny Gaudreau. Might not be the biggest guy, but his skill is unreal.
DM: Johnny Gaudreau. From what I’ve seen in the rookie tournament and preseason action this kid has high-end skill.
MH: Curtis Lazar. Played his way onto Ottawa’s roster despite turning 19 just nine months ago. Bryan Murray loves the kid and already suggested he’ll be up for the whole year, not just a nine-game cameo.
17. One big-name player that will get traded before the deadline is…
JB: I had been all set to answer Bobby Ryan here, but now that he’s signed, I’ll have to go with…ummm…not many quality pending UFAs, are there…ummm…fine, screw it…Evander Kane.
JO: Antti Niemi strikes me as “the odd Shark out.”
RD: I think Evander Kane’s time in Winnipeg is finally drawing to a close.
CT: Evander Kane. Seriously, is he happy in Winnipeg?
DM: Boston still has defensemen Adam McQuaid and Matt Bartkowski, who become unrestricted after this season. With Dougie Hamilton and Torey Krug also restricted after 2014-15, doubt both McQuaid and Bartkowski finish the season in Boston.
MH: Assuming the trade of Matt “Big-Name” Bartkowski doesn’t knock the earth off its rotational axis, I could see Jaromir Jagr going if the Devils are out of playoff contention.
18. The player with the most to prove is…
JB: It’s a tie, between Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau. Not only do they still have to prove it to everyone outside the Sharks organization, now they have to prove it to their coach and GM as well.
JO: P.K. Subban is already a magnet for often-absurd criticism, but slap a $9 million price tag on him and he best cure all of Montreal’s ills.
RD: Braden Holtby. The Capitals have put a lot of trust in him by signing Justin Peters rather than going with someone with a more realistic shot of competing for the starting gig.
CT: Steven Stamkos. Was on a torrid scoring pace when he suffered a devastating injury. Played in only 37 games last season. He’s the best scorer in the game and I think he wants to prove that over a full 82-game season. (And maybe win a Cup?)
DM: Ryan Johansen. After one good season he spent all summer in a bitter, well-documented contract dispute with the Jackets. I’d say he’s got something to prove.
MH: Mike Richards. The Kings showed faith by not buying him out and Richards returned the favor by actually working out this summer. Seems like both sides are expecting a bounce-back campaign.
19. True or false: this will be Marc-Andre Fleury’s last season in Pittsburgh.
JB: False. Mostly because, who else is going to be the starter? It’s not like the Pens have some stud youngster knocking on the door, and the options are going to be limited in free agency.
JO: True. Thomas Greiss showed some promise in backup gigs (and would probably receive a much cheaper extension), while this new front office is in no way married to “MAF.” Why pay a premium on average goaltending?
RD: False. I think if the Penguins were completely comfortable with Fleury, they would have made more of an effort to re-sign him before the start of the season, but the Penguins’ alternatives aren’t great.
CT: True. Flip of the coin, really. Pending UFA at the end of the season. Perhaps a change of scenery next summer might do him some good?
DM: True. Pending UFA and has some disastrous showings in the playoffs in years past. Not even his pal Sidney Crosby can save him now.
MH: False. Go look at the UFA goalies for 2015. Now tell me the Pens are ready to dump Fleury and test the market.
20. True or false: Barry Trotz will be good for Alex Ovechkin.
JB: True. I really don’t think Trotz wants to turn the Caps into a grinding, defensive team. I think he’s excited to coach a group with so much offensive potential, given that’s what he lacked during most of his tenure in Nashville. Washington just needs a bit more structure, and Trotz is the kind of coach who can teach them that. Which will help, not hinder, Ovechkin.
JO: True, mainly by being smart enough to move him back to LW and by merely not being Adam Oates or Dale Hunter. “Can they coexist?” is a fun story, no doubt, but the true key is getting more out of Ovechkin’s supporting cast.
CT: True. Trotz has always been able to get more from less in Nashville. His biggest star was a defenseman in Shea Weber. Interesting to see what he can get out of with so much scoring ability.
DM: True. Trotz will get more out of Ovechkin than Adam Oates and Dale Hunter did.
MH: True. Moving Ovi back to left wing was a good start, too.
21. The most successful new head coach will be…
JB: Willie Desjardins in Vancouver. A much better fit than the last guy.
JO: Desjardins, mainly by not being Torts.
RD: I’ll take the easy way out and say Willie Desjardins. The bar has been set very low.
CT: Mike Johnston. He has Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Helpful.
DM: I’ll go Johnston. Crosby and Malkin. Enough said.
MH: Gerard Gallant in Florida. Mostly because the bar was set so low. Also, he hasn’t been mentioned yet.
22. The least successful new head coach will be…
JB: Bill Peters in Carolina. Not because of him, necessarily. That’s just not a very good team.
JO: Peters. Blame the people shopping for the groceries instead of the “cook” in this case, though.
RD: Peter Laviolette. He’s expected to make the Predators a better team offensively, but has he been given the tools to do that?
CT: Bill Peters. Carolina, man.
DM: Agreed Bill Peters has almost no chance with the way the injury bug has bitten already.
MH: Rhymes will Pill Beaters.
23. The first head coach to be fired will be…
JB: Randy Carlyle in Toronto. Frankly, I was surprised he kept his job at all.
JO: Logically it would be Carlyle, but I get a weird feeling he’s going to linger around. So, instead, I think Paul MacLean will be the fall guy in Ottawa.
RD: Dave Tippett. I realize I’m going against the board and certainly the popular opinion here, but Arizona seems to be setting itself up for a disappointing campaign and I think Tippett will ultimately be the one that pays for that.
CT: Randy Carlyle. The Leafs ended last season on a disastrous note. Honestly, how long does he last with a poor start to this season?
DM: Carlyle. With the promotion of Steve Spott, it appears Brendan Shanahan may have Carlyle’s replacement already on the bench.
MH: Ken Hitchcock in St. Louis. First sign of trouble and he’s gone. Remember, Doug Armstrong fired Davis Payne just 13 games into the ’11-12 campaign.
24. The NHL general manager on the hottest seat is…
JB: Has to be Doug Wilson in San Jose. Such a bizarre offseason. Nobody’s opened himself up to more criticism.
JO: Dave Nonis is basically Jack Lemmon in Glengarry Glen Ross at this point, watching in anger as some punk kid tries to tell him how to analyze hockey/sell real estate.
RD: David Poile. He removed Trotz. When that doesn’t get Nashville back into the playoffs, I think he’ll be next.
CT: Dave Nonis. He’s a remaining part from the Brian Burke era. Leafs might be best served to just get a fresh face in that post.
DM: Dave Nonis. Like Carlyle’s replacement, Shanahan is high on Kyle Dubas — could be Nonis’ replacement.
MH: I feel like James should go back and re-watch that movie. Anyway, my answer is Doug Wilson.
25. The best offseason addition (player joining a new team) will turn out to be…
JB: Ehrhoff. That guy’s gonna rack up some points with the Pens.
JO: Eschewing sheer value picks (like Steve Downie on the cheap) in favor of overall impact, the Islanders needed reliable goaltending badly and Jaroslav Halak fits that bill.
RD: If we were going on impact compared to his cap hit, I really like the value Chicago is getting in Brad Richards. In terms of overall impact though, I think Ryan Miller will play a big role in turning Vancouver around.
CT: Radim Vrbata. Right-handed shot that loves to shoot, could help Sedin twins get back to their old offensive ways.
DM: Scott Hartnell. Adds experience to a young team.
MH: Ryan Kesler in Anaheim. Him and Getzlaf represent the West’s best one-two punch at center.
26. True or false: This will be Mike Babcock’s final season as head coach of the Red Wings.
JB: True. I don’t think he looks at that team and sees a Stanley Cup in the near future.
JO: Winnipeg. Ondrej Pavelec is the Tyler Myers of goalies; his struggles have been lampooned for long enough that I almost feel kinda bad kicking that dead horse.
RD: Minnesota. Josh Harding is out and they can’t rely on Niklas Backstrom to stay healthy. The Wild have to hope that Darcy Kuemper doesn’t regress, because he might end up as their starter for significant stretches of the season.
CT: Tampa Bay. The Lightning are one Ben Bishop injury away from having to rely on 39-year-old Evgeni Nabokov. He is, however, a step up from the previous back-up, Anders Lindback.
DM: Winnipeg. With just three NHL games to his name, I’m not sure how much better Michael Hutchinson is behind Pavelec.
JB: The Oilers making the playoffs. Not my finest moment. Though I did nail the Canucks being a disaster. So, you know…whatever…gimme a break, predictions are hard.
JO: Let’s just say I was a bit too eager about the rebirth of the Seattle Sonics (in the form of an NHL team).
RD: Calling Vincent Lecavalier the best offseason signing and Valtteri Filppula the worst? Yeah, that didn’t play out like I thought it would.
CT: Oilers making the playoffs. I followed that up by saying that of the teams that made the playoffs in 2013, the Habs were the most likely to miss the post-season in 2014. Brutal.
DM: I’m new here, but trust me, my predictions are never wrong.
MH: I said nobody would challenge Luongo in Vancouver and ’13-14 would be like his first season as a Canuck, “when he played a career-high 76 games and earned a Vezina nomination.” Whoops.
29. The prediction you’re least confident about this season is…
JB: Um, all of them? But if I had to pick one, my instincts are telling me not to be so bullish about the Capitals.
JO: It’s a 28-way tie! Really though, forecasting firings makes me really uncomfortable, especially since Paul MacLean is a pretty good coach with an absolutely breathtaking ‘stache.
RD: I have a feeling I’ll be proved wrong when it comes to Tippett being fired.
CT: Trotz being good for Ovechkin. Just not confident.
DM: Dubas replacing Nonis as GM. Does he even have a driver’s license yet?
MH: Hitch getting fired first. Two years ago I said Joel Quenneville would be first out the door, and Chicago won the Cup. I’ve really got my finger on the coaching pulse.
30. Finally, make a crazy prediction that probably won’t happen, but on second thought, you never know…
JB: Andrew Barroway takes control of the Coyotes, promises to keep the team in Glendale, then starts making a lot of business trips to Seattle for some reason.
JO: Antti Niemi gets traded, then leads his new team to a playoff series victory against San Jose … because that’s just the kind of thing that always seems to happen to the Sharks.
RD: Joe Thornton will win the Art Ross Trophy. After being stripped of the captaincy, listening all summer about how the Sharks need to focus on their future, and perhaps being asked to waive his no-trade clause, he’ll have his best season since Boston sent him to San Jose.
CT: The Stanley Cup finalists come from California and Florida. I can see the headlines: ‘Sun shines on Stanley Cup Final’ and ‘Stanley Cup Final heats up.’ I’m bad with headlines.
DM: The Calgary Flames end their five-year drought and qualify for the playoffs. Hey… they’re further along in the rebuild than Edmonton.
MH: The Canucks and Ducks meet in the first round of the playoffs. In overtime of Game 7, Kesler gets called for diving, the Canucks score on the power play, and Luongo tweets something funny.
1. Are they running headfirst into a goaltending controversy?
There’s obvious value in having two strong goaltenders as opposed to just one and that’s what Ottawa thinks they have after inking Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner to three-year deals (Anderson’s doesn’t start until 2015-16) over the summer. The problem is that having two netminders that feel like they should be the starter can lead to tension and ultimately become a distraction.
What happens if Anderson, whose deal is worth almost double Lehner’s, doesn’t bounce back after his rough 2013-14 campaign in the way that Ottawa’s hoping? Will he be comfortable warming the bench most nights? He won’t be a free agent again until the summer of 2018 when he’s 37, so if Lehner has a breakout season and firmly takes the starting job, then that might mark the end of Anderson’s days as a starting goaltender. Unless of course he asks to be traded.
What if Lehner is clearly outplaying Anderson, but still doesn’t get regular starts. How long will he be comfortable with that?
This could prove to be a headache for coach Paul MacLean as his handling of the goaltending situation will be heavily dissected by the media. Granted, that’s not a unique scenario, but it’s one that’s amplified when a team puts itself in this kind of situation.
2. Can Paul MacLean right this ship?
An argument could be made that it’s unfair to put the Ottawa Senators’ shortcomings last season on MacLean. Sure, they didn’t make the playoffs, but they weren’t a great team on paper to begin with. Yes, they regressed compared to their lockout-shortened 2013 campaign, but they almost certainly overperformed that season, especially when their injuries were factored in.
There is a reason why MacLean got the Jack Adams Award for his work guiding the battered, underdog Senators in 2013 and because of that, you might assume that his job is secure. As we’ve seen in the past though, winning the Jack Adams Award doesn’t buy a coach immunity. For that matter, the talent-level of the team isn’t always a acceptable excuse either — or at least that sometimes seems to be the case in the eyes of general managers. Sure, the Senators will have a tough time making the playoffs with their roster, but will MacLean be made an example of anyways if they fall short?
That’s one way of looking at it. Another is that MacLean wasn’t able to get the most out of his relatively young group last season and if he can’t fix that going forward, they’ll continue to underwhelm.
“Every day we come to work, it’s ‘why don’t we play harder, why aren’t we a better group?’ That’s the things that we discuss every day, and we’re still searching for a solution,” MacLean remarked back in March. Is it the fault of the players for not trying hard enough or at a certain point does it become the fault of the coach for not sufficiently motivating them?
It is worth adding that the Senators finished the season with a five-game winning streak, but they were all-but eliminated already when they got hot. Winning when the pressure’s off is one thing. Let’s see if MacLean’s Senators can consistently perform when it really matters.
3. They were 11th in goals per game last season, but their top-six looks pretty underwhelming.
Ottawa has one amazing offensive threat on its roster and that’s defenseman Erik Karlsson. The top line though will be a shadow of the Dany Heatley, Daniel Alfreddson, and Jason Spezza glory days. With the last player of that once dynamic trio gone, Ottawa doesn’t have a forward on its roster that reached the 30-goal or 60-point mark last season.
At this point Kyle Turris is looking like the top center and while he both has potential and has been progressing nicely, he’s still not a forward that’s likely to lead a squad to the playoffs. Bobby Ryan has a more impressive resume with four 30-plus goal seasons under his belt and the Senators clearly felt they couldn’t afford to let him walk, but his first season with Ottawa was nevertheless underwhelming.
Even if we assume that Turris still has another level in him after recording a career-high 58 points last season and Ryan’s struggles last season were primarily due to the sports hernia he was playing with for most of the campaign, they still have plenty of major question marks on their top two lines.
The Senators aren’t in a dire position offensively, but there’s no question that losing Spezza and Ales Hemsky over the summer hurt. Given that they were a facing an uphill battle to begin with, they really can’t afford to regress in this area despite their losses.
The Ottawa Senators have announced that Bobby Ryan has agreed to a seven-year contract extension. It is worth $50.75 million, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie.
That’s a big commitment to Ryan, especially seeing as he’s coming off of a rough season where he was bothered by a sports hernia and finished with 23 goals and 48 points in 70 games. At the same time, it’s a bold statement from Ottawa after some very public embarrassments over the past couple of years.
Long-time captain Daniel Alfredsson did the unthinkable in the summer of 2013 when he decided to leave Ottawa to sign with Detroit. What made that worse for the Senators was his claim that it was money that ultimately drove him away. They made Jason Spezza the new captain, but he demanded a trade and was shipped to Dallas in July.
Had they let Ryan walk as an unrestricted free agent, it would have continued the storyline of Ottawa’s inability to keep top-tier forwards on the roster. This contract will start in 2015-16 when Ryan is 28 years old and he will likely have the highest cap hit on the team at that point.