Better Luck Next Year: How Close Are Senators To Making NHL Postseason?

Better Luck Next Year: How Close Are Senators To Making NHL Postseason?
By Mark Keast
Fact Checked by Jim Tomlin

They are not going to be in the playoffs, but if you’re a fan of the Ottawa Senators, it still has been a season of progress and optimism – one that backers at Ontario sportsbooks would do well to notice.

The Senators were eliminated from the playoff race in the NHL’s Eastern Conference with Thursday’s loss to the Florida Panthers. This will be the sixth season in a row the Senators have missed the postseason (they were last in the playoffs in 2017 when they lost in the conference final).

Yet Sens followers have reason to feel more positive. The team was in contention for most of the season, only being eliminated with three games left in an 82-game season.

For teams that are headed to the playoffs, including the Toronto Maple Leafs, check out our 2023 Stanley Cup odds tracker

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Sens Paid Off For Backers at Ontario Sportsbooks

On the betting front, DraftKings Ontario Sportsbook said that Ottawa was No. 2 on their list of sports teams that have won the most money for users in Ontario over the first year of the regulated Ontario internet gaming market.

So how close are the Senators to making the playoffs? Pretty close.

It all starts with players like Tim Stützle, who took an enormous step forward this season. year, with 37 goals and 49 assists, for 86 points going into Monday night’s home finale against Carolina. Teammate and captain Brady Tkachuk is right there as well – 35 goals, 45 assists, 80 points. Those are all career highs.

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Ottawa Senators Ownership Change Pending?

Some of the buzz and excitement of late has been about the team’s ownership situation. A sale is expected to be announced soon. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman says that will happen in a few weeks, possibly involving Hollywood actor and Canadian Ryan Reynolds.

Tkachuk is signed through 2027-28. Stützle is signed through 2030-31. Veteran right wing Claude Giroux, signed through 2024-25, is third in team scoring with 32 goals, 43 assists and 75 points. For Ontario NHL betting, the over could cash in frequently for Ottawa games next season.

Team general manager Pierre Dorion made a widely lauded trade at the deadline, bringing in defenceman Jakob Chychrun. The veteran should really help this defence going forward. D Thomas Chabot, despite having a -11 rating, plays nearly 25 minutes a night and is another young building block. He is also signed through 2027-28. Another young cog on the blue line is Jake Sanderson, signed through next season; he averages more than 21 minutes a night.

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Some Crucial Offseason Decisions

A decision needs to be made this summer on RW Alex DeBrincat, who becomes a restricted free agent. DeBrincat has 27 goals this season but is also at minus-30. D Travis Hamonic and his $3 million also come off the books this summer.

C Josh Norris, out for the season after shoulder surgery, will return next season. Norris was signed last year to an eight-year, $63.8 million dollar contract, after Norris set career highs in goals (35), assists (20) and points (55) over 66 games in 2021-22.

Then look at team stats: The Sens entered Sunday with the seventh-best power play in the NHL this season, at 23.9%, and the 14th-best penalty killing in the league, at 80.1%.

They have six forwards with 20 or more goals this season, a trend for customers at Ontario sports betting apps to keep tabs on next season.

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Big Question For Sens is Goaltending

The big issue for the organization is the goaltending, with seven different players suiting up between the pipes in 2022-23. Cam Talbot has had a forgettable season (17-14-2, .898 save percentage, 2.93 GAA) and heads to free agency this summer.

Jorian Donovan, a 6-foot-1, 182-pound defenceman playing for Hamilton in the Ontario Hockey League, is a top prospect to watch. He is averaging over 23 minutes a game and over 55 games he has had 12 goals, 33 assists for 45 points, and was a minus-9.

Overall, the Senators have one of the youngest, more exciting cores in the NHL and have officially graduated from the lower rungs of the league to a solid, mid-level squad. Fans in Canada’s capital might have a team ready to make the next move up into a playoff squad status next season.

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Mark Keast

Mark Keast has recently covered the sports betting industry in Canada for The Parleh, and is a long-time sportswriter and editor, most notably with the Toronto Sun.

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