The Ottawa Senators are ready to roll into the 2018-19 regular season. Straight away are the Chicago Blackhawks and the two teams face-off at the Canadian Tire Center Thursday at 7:30 p.m. Eastern time.
Before we look ahead to Thursday, let’s take a final glance back at the Senators’ pre-season.
Ottawa wrapped up the pre-season with a record of 2-4-0. Below are five takeaways from the Senators’ pre-season.
1. Senators Improved With Time
Despite starting with a record of 0-4-0, the Ottawa turned it around and finished with back-to-back victories in their final two games. First, they defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1 on the road. They returned home to claim a 3-0 victory over the Montreal Canadiens in their strongest performance of the pre-season.
A strong finish to the pre-season has weight. First, teams are more reflective of their regular season rosters toward the end of the pre-season. Second, if the final games go well, teams build confidence and momentum, which may carry over into the regular season.
2. Evenly Distributed Offense
The Senators’ offense generated 11 goals in six games. Matt Duchene was the only player who scored more than once and led with five points. Duchene aside, Ottawa’s point scoring spread out with 19 players scoring at least one point. Nine different players scored goals, and forwards did most of the scoring. It’s what they do. The defense helped, as half of the team’s offense came from seven different blue-liners.
Ottawa Pre-season Scoring Leaders
|Matt Duchene||C||4||3||2||5||Ottawa (NHL)|
|Mark Stone||RW||4||0||3||3||Ottawa (NHL)|
|Ryan Dzingel||LW||4||1||2||3||Ottawa (NHL)|
|Brady Tkachuk||LW||4||1||1||2||Ottawa (NHL)|
|Bobby Ryan||RW||4||1||1||2||Ottawa (NHL)|
|Max McCormick||LW||2||1||1||2||Ottawa (NHL)|
|Christian Jaros||D||4||0||2||2||Ottawa (NHL)|
|Maxime Lajoie||D||3||0||2||2||Ottawa (NHL)|
|Thomas Chabot||D||3||0||1||1||Ottawa (NHL)|
|Magnus Paajarvi||LW||3||0||1||1||Ottawa (NHL)|
|Tom Pyatt||C, LW||3||1||0||1||Ottawa (NHL)|
|Alex Formenton||LW||4||1||0||1||Ottawa (NHL)|
|Ben Harpur||D||4||0||1||1||Ottawa (NHL)|
|Cody Ceci||D||3||1||0||1||Ottawa (NHL)|
|Dylan DeMelo||D||4||0||1||1||Ottawa (NHL)|
|Filip Chlapik||C||3||1||0||1||Belleville (AHL)|
|Christian Wolanin||D||2||0||1||1||Belleville (AHL)|
|Logan Brown||C||3||0||1||1||Belleville (AHL)|
|Jack Skille||RW||2||0||1||1||Released from PTO|
3. The Stars Are Bright
The Senators’ best players played up to their expectations throughout the pre-season. Duchene scored more than a point-per-game. Meanwhile, Mark Stone (cover photo) and Ryan Dzingel also became offensive forces. They tied for second on the team with three points apiece in four games. Duchene and Stone are in contract years. If they have solid seasons, the Senators could re-sign both players before they become unrestricted free agents on July 1, 2019.
4. Rookies Show Promise
Ottawa’s opening night roster promises new faces. The youth movement is underway and the Senators have confidence in their prospects. Young players like Brady Tkachuk, Colin White, Alex Formenton, Max McCormick, Christian Jaros, and Maxime Lajoie are leading the way. Logan Brown, Filip Chlapik, and Christian Wolanin are not far behind.
5. Merit Gains Stature in Ottawa
There will be no coasting in Ottawa this season. General manager Pierre Dorion sent a message when he unexpectedly waived veteran Zack Smith, citing a lack of production. Smith, who earns an annual salary of $3.25 million, earned 19 points in 68 games last season along with an ice-cold minus 32 in the plus-minus rating. Dorion set the tone. Players must produce this season, or there will be consequences.
Cover Photo Credit: Courtesy of Steven Kingsman/Icon Sportswire
Billy Morrison covers the Ottawa Senators and the NHL's Atlantic Division for Full Press Coverage. Follow Billy on Twitter @BillyMorrison01
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