Ottawa Senators’ Wealth Isn’t Defined by Player Salariesby Prime Time Sports Talk April 27, 2021 0 comments
For Ottawa Senators fans, nothing will erase the pain of the double-overtime goal scored by Chris Kunitz in the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2017 Playoffs.
The Clock Struck Midnight
The Sens, in the middle of a Cinderella run for the ages, were a bounce, deflection, or snipe away from booking their ticket to the Stanley Cup Final. Unfortunately, the Pittsburgh Penguins had other ideas for the Senators.
That day was a black mark for the franchise. Not necessarily because of the loss, but it represented the last time the Senators were deemed a threat in the NHL. The following season, a year removed from making the ECF, Ottawa would miss the playoffs.
That overtime loss was the end of an era for Senators fans. Looking back from 2017 to the 2021 era of Ottawa, it’s hard to find similarities between rosters. Erik Karlsson, Mike Hoffman, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Bobby Ryan, Kyle Turris, Mark Stone, and Craig Anderson have all moved on from the team. Some fans agreed with the decision to trade certain players, and other fan favorites like Mark Stone’s departure were salt in the wound for a historically cheap franchise.
We can sit and talk about the glory days of Ottawa Senators hockey all day long. But by doing so, we are not recognizing the current talent displayed by the 2021 Senators.
The Future is Bright
Yes, seeing an Ottawa team with a current record of 18-27-4 (as of April 27th) might not be that promising. But when you look up and down the roster, it’s clear that not only is this team built for the future – they might even be contenders once again.
Ottawa is building for the future and they are tremendously affluent in prospects and rising stars. Thomas Chabot and Brady Tkachuk lead the charge for the Sens. Chabot is a locker room leader and is only 24, while Tkachuk is 21.
Sprinkle in rising stars like Drake Batherson, Erik Brannstrom, Alex Formenton, and Josh Norris and the Senators have a ton of players that hit the ice every night that are potential NHL mainstays.
Of course, the Senators are not done there. Tim Stutzle lit the world on fire at the World Junior Hockey Championships, representing Germany. Like the Senators, the Germans were scrappy throughout the tournament and Stutzle was arguably the best player in the entire tourney.
Lastly, the Senators’ connection with the University of North Dakota will hopefully pay off. Shane Pinto, Jake Sanderson, and Jacob Bernard-Docker excelled at the NCAA level. This trio of players is hyped by the Senators’ fan base, and rightfully so.
Despite owning one of the best prospect pools in the NHL, the Senators are not loved by bookmakers. That’s understandable. This is a team that will compete legitimately in two to three seasons. For now, they are the punching bag of the league.
Ottawa is nearly eliminated and owns the worst odds to win the Stanley Cup this season at +150000 (Betway) as of April 27th – deservedly so.
The Senators might not be contenders in 2021, but the future of Sens hockey is extraordinarily bright. Looking at other NHL teams, it’s hard to find a team that has a matching prospect pool.
A Force is Coming
For all the questionable moves the Senators’ front office has made, it’s clear that in future seasons, Ottawa will be a force.
Generational talent can change the outlook of a franchise. Chicago and Pittsburgh are prime examples of teams that flourished with exceptional talent.
While it’s too soon to see if any Senator will be the next Crosby, Malkin. Toews or Kane, you can’t deny how impactful those players were to their respective teams.
Yes, the Senators are huge underdogs in the betting world, but their ability to compete with some of the best teams in the North Division is a glimpse into potential success for Ottawa.
For now, Senators fans need to breathe. The losses will continue to roll in. But one day, it will click. Once this current crop of Senators matures, they will be a legitimate contender in the league.
Ottawa has young, NHL-ready talent hitting the ice every night. For a league that praises veterans, the Senators are shocking the world with some of the youngest talents in the NHL.
The Senators are criticized for their unwillingness to spend on players’ salaries and potential free agents – but one could make a great argument that Ottawa’s net worth is their prospect pool.
The future of the league is in its youth and in that regard, the Senators are rich.
Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images