NHL - ATLANTIC
Arena: Canadian Tire Centre
Coach: D. J. Smith
2021-2022 TEAM LEADERS
The Ottawa Senators are an NHL team currently playing in the Atlantic Division, based in Ottawa, Ontario. The Senators officially joined the league in 1992 but were named after the original Ottawa Senators franchise that existed from 1917-1934.
The modern iteration of the Senators has yet to find the same success as their predecessors, making the Stanley Cup finals once in 2007 but ultimately falling to the Anaheim Ducks.
Ottawa is currently rebuilding and has been in the bottom half of the league since selling key pieces like Erik Karlsson, Matt Duchene, and Mark Stone during the 2018-2019 seasons.
The team managed to go on a miracle run to the conference finals in 2018 under the previous core of players but were ultimately beaten by the Stanley Cup-winning Pittsburgh Penguins in double overtime of game seven.
After a period of off-ice drama and controversy involving team owner Eugene Melnyk, the Sens have begun a new core of young players built around Thomas Chabat, Brady Tkachuk, and Tim Stutzle.
The Ottawa Senators joined the league in 1992 after years of the city of Ottawa pushing for expansion. Though they were finally given an expansion team, the on-ice product was a little less than spectacular.
To say that Ottawa struggled for the first few seasons is a massive understatement- the Sens would go 10-70-4 in their inaugural season, followed up by going 14-61-9, 9-34-5, and 18-59-5 in the next three years.
The franchise’s luck began to change in their fifth season, making the playoffs with a 31-36-15 record in 1997. Though the Buffalo Sabres ultimately defeated them in seven games, it would kick off a ten-year stretch of consecutive postseason appearances, winning the division on four separate occasions.
The success of the Senators would peak in the 2006-2007 season, winning the eastern conference and appearing in the Stanley Cup Finals against the Anaheim Ducks, winning the East with ease with a 12-3 record. Unfortunately, they would ultimately meet their match against Teemu Selane and the Anaheim Ducks, losing 4-1.
The Sens would become a little less consistent following their Stanley Cup loss, making the playoffs six times in the next ten years. Their most recent playoff appearance came in 2017, after turning their season around and finishing 2nd in the Atlantic Division.
In an unlikely run, Ottawa would defeat both the Rangers and the Bruins in six games each and take Crosby’s Penguins into double overtime of a game seven.
Ottawa has since entered a complete rebuild, finishing 28-43-11 the following year, and has yet to have a season with over 30 wins.
2022 Key Stats
It’s been another tough season for the Ottawa Senators, who currently find themselves in 7th place in the Atlantic with a record of 11-19-2. It looked like the Sens might have been trending in the right direction with a decent stretch of play towards the end of the 2020-2021 season in the all-Canadian Northern Division, but it has appeared to regress once more.
While the team has had some clear breakout performers, there’s still a long road ahead for this young Ottawa team.
Drake Batherson is a clear candidate for a breakout season, playing at over a point-per-game pace with 31 points in 27 games played. Paired with the fact that this Ottawa team is seriously struggling with offensive output, Batherson’s performance is seriously impressive.
Brady Tkachuk is also having a great season after missing the first few games due to a contract holdout, with 24 points in 29 games. Josh Norris leads the team in scoring with 16 goals so far, with seven coming from the man advantage.
Things are a little thinner on the defensive side of things- outside of Thomas Chabat and Artem Zub, there isn’t much going on. Ottawa’s defensive core currently consists of Nikita Zaitsev, Nick Holden, Dillon Heatherington, and Victor Mete- not exactly the best group to keep the pucks out of the net.
Speaking of, goaltending has been a disaster. Matt Murray has had an absolutely awful year with a 2-6-0 record and a .892 SV%, likely proving he may not have that bounceback season to return to his Stanley Cup-winning days in Pittsburgh.
Anton Forsberg has been better at 6-6-0 and a .910 SV% given the defense in front of him, but whether or not he is a trustworthy starter is yet to be seen.
Championships Won by the Team
Ottawa has not won a Stanley Cup in its current iteration, but the original franchise from 1917-1934 did end up with 11 different championship titles before being moved to St. Louis and ultimately dissolving. The Senators have come close with a finals appearance in 2007 and a double-overtime game seven in 2017 but have otherwise fallen short in the playoffs.
The Senators have found some regular season success, however. During their ten-year stretch of consecutive playoff appearances, the Sens managed to win the President’s Trophy as the top team in the league in 2003, finishing with a record of 52-21-8.
Unfortunately, they would lose to the eventual Stanley Cup champs, the New Jersey Devils, in a close seven-game series. The Sens have finished off the season as division champs four times in franchise history, winning a banner in 1999, 2001, 2003, and 2006.
Important Team Events
Though it has been mentioned earlier, the 2017 playoff run was completely unexpected, given the circumstances. After a lackluster start to the season, Ottawa came roaring back to relevance in the latter half of the year, finishing with a record of 44-28-10.
The team captain at the time, defenseman Erik Karlsson, led the team at the end of the season with 17 goals and 54 assists, falling just short of the Norris Trophy (won by Brent Burns).
Karlsson absolutely shredded opposition with his performance from the blueline in the postseason with two goals and 16 assists in 19 games- it would later be revealed that he was leading the team with a fractured foot! The captain would regularly find unlikely passes that stretched the entirety of the ice and split multiple defensemen, making it one of a single player’s most memorable playoff performances in recent memory.
Three players stick out when discussing the history of the Ottawa Senators, the first of which being Daniel Alfredsson.
Alfredsson played with Ottawa from 1995-2013, after being drafted 133rd overall in the sixth round of the 1995 draft. Despite being drafted so late, Alfredsson proved to be a superstar- currently, the Swedish forward holds the franchise record for most goals (426), assists (682), points (1108), shorthanded goals (25), and shots (3320).
Goaltender Craig Anderson is another staple of the Senators franchise, playing with Ottawa from 2010-2020. In his stay with the Sens, Anderson would quickly set the goalie franchise records of games played (435) and wins (202). The goaltender posted a .922 SV% during the team’s 2017 run.
Finally, Erik Karlsson was easily one of the top players for Ottawa in its history. Despite not winning a cup with the team before being traded to San Jose after the 2018 season, Karlsson set the franchise record for most points as a defenseman with 126 goals and 392 assists.
The Ottawa Senators have had 13 head coaches in franchise history, currently headed by D.J. Smith since 2019. Rick Bowman was the first coach in the history of the Sens, coaching from 1992-1995. Jumpstarting the franchise was a difficult task, reflected in his 39-178-18 overall record.
Jacques Martin would find a bit more success as the head coach, taking over the role from 1996-2202 and again from 2002-2004. Martin was the first coach to bring the team to the postseason, winning the Jack Adams award for most impactful coach in the league during the 1998-1999 season.
Bryan Murray is currently the only coach to have brought the Ottawa Senators to the finals, coaching from 2005-2008 and finishing with a .600 win rate in the postseason. Guy Boucher was the head of the team during the 2017 run to the conference finals, coaching from 2016-2019 with a final record of 72-71-21 and a .579 win rate in the playoffs.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Ottawa Senators joined the league in 1992, finishing with one of the worst records of all time at 10-70-4.
Daniel Alfredsson is the current leader in all scoring records, playing with the team from 1995-to 2013.
The Senators have never won the Stanley Cup, making the finals once in franchise history during the 2007 season. Ottawa has most recently come close to another appearance after losing in double overtime in game seven during the 2017 playoffs.
The Senators are the re-imagining of the original hockey team from Ottawa established in 1883. The original Senators were highly successful, winning 11 different Stanley Cups and playing in the first-ever NHL game against the Montreal Canadiens in 1917.
Ottawa shares the province of Ontario with the much larger Toronto Maple Leafs. As an original six franchise, the Leafs have much more history and, subsequently, many more fans, resulting in tons of Toronto fans appearing at Ottawa home games.
During the 2000s, the Senators had a fairly fierce rivalry with the Buffalo Sabres; this rivalry has declined in recent years due to both teams entering lengthy rebuilds.