2019 Ottawa Senators Odds to win Stanley Cup with Expert Predictions
Early in the NHL preseason this year, Ottawa Senators' owner Eugene Melnyk couldn't be with the team. Instead, he was in court trying to get his private jet out of foreclosure. In so many ways, that story is a metaphor for the mess that is this team. They are supposedly owned by a billionaire, but one that can't even pay his bills. That forces them to do things that a real NHL franchise wouldn't do. They have sold every good player they have had over the last few years. They have a laughable payroll. They have to cover large sections of their arena with tarps because they can't sell the seats. They are just a mess. And though they have some decent young talent now, they don't have as much as they should given their ongoing struggles because management isn't as shrewd as would be ideal. Add it all up, and you get this - this is going to be a bad team. Almost certainly the worst in the league. It's just plain inevitable.
Ottawa Senators Offseason Moves
With Erik Karlsson dealt before last season and Mark Stone and Matt Duchene traded during the season, the Senators were running short of elite assets to get rid of. They didn't remain inactive in the offseason, though. In fact, they did quite a bit. They are so far away from the salary cap that the floor is far more of a concern than running into the ceiling. And they made some deals that played into that reality. They traded Cody Ceci to Toronto because they weren't going to pay him, and they absorbed a longer but cheaper Nikita Zaitsev contract that the Leafs weren't interested in. And they traded longtime Senator Zack Smith to Chicago for Artem Anisimov in a deal again at least as much financial as hockey-related. They also traded for Ryan Callahan from the Lightning. He is injured and his career is over, but the Senators were willing and able to absorb the dead money. And the most notable free agent addition was aged defenseman Ron Hainsey. As you probably noticed, there isn't a lot in that group of deals that made this team any better.
The team did actually spend some money this summer and locked up two of their most important players in the process. Colin White centers the top line, and he was locked up for six years at a surprisingly reasonable $4.75 million - a deal that could potentially prove to be a massive bargain. And though Thomas Chabot's eight-year deal was more expensive, locking up a No. 1 defenseman through his prime is a great thing to do. Both guys were only RFAs, but the fact that the team was able to keep them both around is impressive - and more than a little surprising.
The team made a change behind the bench as well. Guy Boucher was fired midseason last year, and Marc Crawford served as the interim coach but was not kept around long term. Instead, the team turned to D.J. Smith. He was a junior hockey head coach in Ontario before spending the last four seasons as an assistant to Mike Babcock in Toronto.
The team traded away their first overall pick in the Matt Duchene deal a
while back, so they got to watch Colorado make their pick at fourth
overall. Their lone first-round pick came 19th overall, where they picked
Lassi Thomson - a Finnish defenseman who played junior in the WHL last year
and likely will this year as well.
Ottawa Senators NHL Outlook
There are a few things to like here. Very few. Brady Tkachuk and Colin White are a nice duo on the top line. Chabot is a young defenseman any team would kill to have. There are a couple of other young guys with some upside. But their top players still have to develop their games, the depth is really lacking, and they just aren't nearly good enough to compete in this league. Things could really get ugly. The good news, at least, is that they have both their first-round pick next year and San Jose's, so more young talent is coming.
Ottawa Senators Schedule
The seasons starts out with just a brutal stretch. They open at home against the Leafs , then they go on the road to play at an improved Rangers team, at the defending champion Blues, and at the ferocious Lightning. Then, after a slightly easier trip to Minnesota, they return home to play a very strong Vegas team. If they were to start out any better than 1-5, it would qualify as a miracle. They are going to be deep in a hole from the start, and they will never climb out.
Ottawa Senators NHL Futures Odds
The oddsmakers are confident - correctly so - that there is no team worse than this one. They are at +15000 to win the Stanley Cup, +8000 to win the Eastern Conference, and +25000 to win the Atlantic Division. Needless to say, all of those prices are far behind their nearest rival. Their season point total is set at just 68.5, with balanced action. They are +700 to make the playoffs, compared to -1000 to miss them.
2019-20 Ottawa Senators Predictions
There is no way to sugar coat it - this is a horrible team. Anything is theoretically possible, but there is next to no possible way for this team to make the playoffs this season. Or the next three years barring a miracle. I would obviously never actually suggest making a bet like this, but you could at least make the argument that taking them at -1000 to miss the playoffs is a low risk, high likelihood return - about the same risk as a savings account, and with a better return.
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