Throughout the month of August, PHT will be dedicating a day to all 30 NHL clubs. Today’s team? The Ottawa Senators.
Ottawa’s 2014-15 campaign was one for the record books.
Thanks to a remarkable 23-4-4 run down the stretch, the Sens staged a furious comeback to make the playoffs, becoming the first team in NHL history to qualify for the postseason after sitting 14 points back.
“It was special,” said Kyle Turris, per Sportsnet. “So many things happened and so many guys stepped up. It was a real special run and we won’t forget and we’ll learn from ultimately going forward.”
It was a special run indeed, and one filled with emotion. The Sens dealt with adversity throughout the way; GM Bryan Murray was diagnosed with colon cancer, assistant coach Mark Reeds passed away just before the playoffs and owner Eugene Melnyk was gravely ill before a successful liver transplant.
From that adversity, some new stars came shining through.
Andrew “The Hamburglar” Hammond went from obscure backup goalie to one of the NHL’s best stories, posting a 20-1-2 record with a .929 save percentage. The rookie tandem of Mike Hoffman and Mark Stone carried the club offensively at times, with Stone finishing the runner-up for the Calder. Erik Karlsson won his second career Norris trophy, and Turris continued to emerge as a bonafide No. 1, playmaking center.
In light of all that, Ottawa’s season had to be considered a success, even with its disappointing opening-round playoff loss to Montreal.
It was a quiet summer in Ottawa. All of the club’s young skaters — Hammond, Stone, Hoffman, Mika Zibanejad, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Alex Chiasson — were re-signed, and Murray did little in free agency.
At the draft, Murray sent goalie Robin Lehner to Buffalo (along with David Legwand), which gave him two first-round picks; the Sens then proceeded to select Quebec League d-man Thomas Chabot, and USNTDP product Colin White.