The Ottawa Senators were meant to be a promising team that could push for a playoff spot in 2022-23, and instead ended up as a defensive dumpster fire with a dynamite offense. Still, the team is good enough that they can run it back in 2023-24, provided they retool a little bit. The Sens currently have $17 million in cap space, but they have one question mark on their roster- RFA Alex DeBrincat. Reports this week have suggested that the Sens are looking to move on from the sniper after just one OK season in Ottawa. Whether DeBrincat stays or is replaced by another RFA, like Jesper Bratt, the Senators will have to spend big money when the time comes. They also have just one goalie and four defensemen under contract for 2023-24.
The Senators have the tools internally to fill out their defense, but the team struggled to click with center Josh Norris missing almost all of last season. With Norris fully healthy and ready to return in 2023, the Senators should be looking to finally make their breakthrough. Carter Hart would be a slam dunk upgrade in goal after Senators fans slogged through last season with the likes of Cam Talbot and Mads Sogaard. To put the cherry on top, Kevin Hayes gives them much needed scoring depth and versatility, at retained money, should the injury bug bite again.
Tyler Boucher, son of former Flyer Brian Boucher, was drafted too high, and that’s OK. The 10th overall pick in 2021 still has the potential to be a fine player, and to win championships, you need real good role players that can do a job and do it well. Tyler Kleven was drafted in the second round (44th overall) by the Senators in 2020, and the ex-University of North Dakota defenseman got his first taste of NHL action in eight games with the Sens this season. Kleven is a towering defenseman at 6’4″ and can do it all defensively. Offensively, he’s a bit passive, but has a sneaky good shot and can make all the passes. Kleven would form a formidable one-two punch with Cam York on the left side of the Flyers defense. All told, both sides fill massive needs.