Ottawa Senators: Puck Daddy’s 2015-16 NHL Season Preview

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(The 2015-16 NHL season is nearly upon us! Why bother watching this team? What will make or break the season? Find out as we preview all 30 teams as camps begin!)

Last Season

43-26-13, 99 points, No. 1 Wild Card in Eastern Conference

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2014-2015 Season,  In One Tweet

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 Did They Get Better, Worse Or Are They About The Same?

The 2014-2015 season didn’t start well for the Ottawa Senators. After 27 games, they were 10th in the East with an 11-11-5 record, and made the decision to fire head coach Paul Maclean. Assistant Dave Cameron was promoted and it took about two months before Cameron and the squad meshed (or started playing like they cared). From February 10th on, the Senators went 23-4-4; taking them from 10-points out of a playoff spot to the first Wild Card slot in the East.

It was a Cinderella-esque run for a fairly young team, so why make big changes? Minor roster tweaks - and a bunch of cash - were all they needed.

The Senators jumped at the chance to sign breakout Boston University netminder Matt O’Connor to an entry level contract. Shortly thereafter, they locked up breakout goaltender Andrew Hammond - a.k.a. The Hamburglar - for the next three years. With the Hammond signing, the Sens had a total of five total goalies in their system, thus signaling someone was bound to be on the move. That someone was the always feisty Robin Lehner. After spending a majority of the season on the DL with a concussion, Lehner and forward David Legwand, were shipped to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for the No. 21 pick in the 2015 NHL draft.

The only other move was to send defenseman Eric Gryba to the Edmonton Oilers for center Travis Ewanyk and the No. 107 pick.

Where Bryan Murray was most busy was at the negotiating table or in arbitration. Calder Trophy nominee Mark Stone received a hefty three-year, $10.5-million contract. The speedy Mika Zibanejad was given two-years, $5.25-million. Murray took his chances in arbitration with Mike Hoffman and Alex Chiasson and the players both received one-year contracts for $2-million and $1.2-million, respectively.

LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 23: (l-r) Mark Stone, Erik Karlsson and Andrew Hammond of the Ottawa Senators attend the 2015 NHL Awards nominee media availability at MGM Grand Arena on June 23, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 23: (l-r) Mark Stone, Erik Karlsson and Andrew Hammond of the Ottawa Senators attend the 2015 NHL Awards nominee media availability at MGM Grand Arena on June 23, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Five Most Fascinating Players

1. Erik Karlsson, D

The defenseman is now a two-time Norris trophy winner at 25-years-old. The penultimate offensive-defenseman. And he wears shoes that could kill a man.

2. Andrew Hammond, G

The 27-year-old netminder rocketed out of obscurity with a 20-1-2 record down the stretch to get the Senators into the post-season. He proceeded to fade out in the playoffs losing both games he started against Montreal and ceding the net over to Craig Anderson. Was the one they call ‘The Hamburglar’ just a lucky goaltender riding a hot streak or does he have the skills to be a sustainable No. 1?

3. Craig Anderson, G

Not a fan of hamburgers? Why not try something a little more old fashioned. Craig Anderson was once the No. 1 goaltender for the Sens before being struck with injuries and usurped by younger talent. It'll be interesting to see how Cameron manages his two goalies. If Anderson isn't happy with the minutes he's getting, he's got a difficult contract to move with three-years remaining at a $4.2-million per cap hit.

4. Mark Stone, F

Who the hell is Mark Stone? Exactly. He's the guy who came in second in the Calder Trophy voting just beating out Johnny Gaudreau. Stone tied Kyle Turris for second on the Senators in scoring with 64-points (26 goals, 38 assists), just two points behind Karlsson for the team lead. Stone was given $10.5-million contract over the summer and will now have to fend off the dreaded sophomore slump.

5. Mike Hoffman, F

Who the hell is Mike Hoffman? Exactly. After cups of coffee with the big team, Hoffman finally broke out in a huge way. He led the team with 27 goals; in eight different games, he scored at least two or more points. Only 25-years-old, the Sens weren't ready to commit big money to him for the future. He took the team to arbitration and got a one-year, $2-million deal out of it. He'll still be an RFA at season's end and Ottawa is making him prove he's worth the pay day.

Potentially The Best Thing About This Team

Rekindling the magic of the end of season run from last year and actually doing it for the whole year. They've got the fire power on both offense and defense.

Potentially The Worst Thing About This Team

They're overly confident in their ability to turn on the magic and fall short.

Dream 3-on-3 OT Group

Since it’s not possible to clone Erik Karlsson (as much as we’re sure Eugene Melnyk has tried), the prototypical offensive-defenseman will have to go on the ice with two forwards. After polling many Senators fans the conclusion is: KyleTurrisMikeHoffmanMarkStoneBobbyRyanMika ZibanejadAlexChiassonClarkMacArthur.

Coach Hot Seat Rating (1-10, 10 being scorching hot)

Two. Dave Cameron took over when Paul Maclean was fired and led the team to a historic run down the stretch to barely slide into the playoffs. In June, the Senators rewarded the coach with a modest two-year contract extension. Best guess is they want to make sure he’s not a one hit wonder, and can maintain the buy-in of the players.

Awkward Old School Video Break

Make sure you say hi to this Spartan turned Barista the next time you get your coffee..

Their Best Case Scenario Is …

Their forwards are consistent. The defense can get by without Chris Phillips for a while longer. And Hammond is the real deal with Anderson happy backing up.

Their Nightmare Scenario Is …

Neither Anderson, nor Hammond are the solution in net and Lehner succeeds ... in Buffalo. 

Prediction

What they did last season was incredible; however luck (by way of a hot goalie) and consistency are two completely different things. The organization has invested a heck of a lot of money in their core young talent who have to begin to repay those dividends this season. It's a heavy burden in a Canadian market. They'll either eke into a wild card spot or barely miss the playoffs.

PUCK DADDY SEASON PREVIEW 2015-16Winnipeg Jets/Washington Capitals/Vancouver Canucks/Tampa Bay Lightning/San Jose Sharks/Pittsburgh Penguins/Philadelphia Flyers

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Jen Neale is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow her on Twitter! Follow @MsJenNeale_PD.

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