The Ottawa Senators were supposed to be a team that would contend for a Stanley Cup playoff spot this year.
With a new starting goaltender, a solid offense, and a decent defensive corps, the Senators had a lot to look forward to going into this season. Yes, they play in an incredibly tough division with the likes of the Boston Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Florida Panthers, but a playoff spot was something that they could at least think about.
Well, the team is nowhere close to a playoff spot. They are one of the worst teams in the league.
The Senators are currently 28th in the league with a record of 8-9 and are also last in the Eastern Conference with 16 points in 17 games, but have also played the least amount of games in the Conference. According to Sportsnet.ca hockey writer Wayne Scanlan, the team was booed off the ice after they were shut out by the Florida Panthers on home ice by a score of 5-0.
A lot has gone wrong with this hockey club this year. For starters, Shane Pinto, a forward they could desperately use right now, was suspended for 41 games for violating gambling rules.
Secondly, their general manager, Pierre Dorion, resigned and was relieved of his duties back on November 1st. According to ESPN NHL reporter Kristen Shelton, this happened because they lost a first-round draft pick after an invalidated trade occurred between Evgenii Dadonov and the Anaheim Ducks in 2022.
This team is also struggling to score goals. They are currently 25th in the league in goals scored, as they have scored just 59 goals in 17 games.
That number is extremely poor, considering that they have some good offensive players, including Brady Tkachuk, Tim Stutzle, Drake Batherson, Claude Giroux, Mathieu Joseph, and Jake Sanderson. Only Tkachuk has reached the double-figure mark in goals (10), while no one else has more than six.
It also does not help that the Senators are not getting good enough goaltending. Joonas Korpisalo has not played up to the contract that the team signed him to during the offseason.
Korpisalo, 29, is currently 5-5 with a 3.34 goals-against average and a .902 save percentage. Backup goaltender Anton Forsberg is 3-4 with a 3.51 goals-against average and a .850 save percentage.
Lastly, it certainly does not help when a team’s head coach readily admits that his team was not ready to play. This is exactly what Senators head coach D.J. Smith told reporters after his team’s loss to the Panthers on Monday night.
“We weren’t ready to play at the start, and that’s on me,” Smith said. “They come out and outshoot us 9-1 on the first shift. It took us to the nine-minute mark of the first before we got really competitive. And then five-on-five, we were fine.”
Something needs to change in Ottawa, and it needs to change before the team goes off the rails completely.