Eight Reasons to Watch the Ottawa Senators in 2020-21
Thanks to everyone who took the time to submit questions to Mike’s Mailbag! As I work to put together my responses, one particular question caught my eye as deserving of a standalone blog. David says: Give me a reason to watch the Sens next year when there are so many other choices at the same start time. I’ll do you seven better. Here are eight reasons to watch the 2020-2021 Ottawa Senators, if and when we get a season:
1) The 2020 Draft Picks
With the third and fifth overall selections in the upcoming 2020 draft, odds are that the Senators are going to pick up one – maybe two – NHL-ready, impact players. The opportunity to watch a Tim Stutzle, or a Quinton Byfield, or a Marco Rossi, or a Jamie Drysdale alongside existing pieces like Brady Tkachuk and Thomas Chabot isn’t something many organizations will be able to provide next year.
2) DJ Smith’s Coaching Style
I know there are frequent readers who disagree with me, but I thought DJ Smith did a phenomenal job in his first year as Ottawa’s head coach. With a roster that was expected to generate historically bad results, Smith coached his team to play an entertaining, pesky style that kept the Senators in a lot of games. The fast-paced, up-tempo hockey that Smith prescribed made the Senators really fun to watch last year. With a more talented roster expected in 2020-21, things are looking like they could be even better.
3) The Anticipated Return of the “2D” Jerseys
Who wouldn’t want to watch those things in action? They’re beautiful.
4) The Regular Season is Meaningless for Most Teams
Watching the Tampa Bay Lightning win a regular season game against the Minnesota Wild in mid-February just doesn’t sound all that appealing. For a Stanley Cup contender like the Lightning, it really doesn’t matter what happens in the regular season. People want to see them get it done when it counts, in the playoffs. Don’t waste your time watching meaningless regular season hockey.
For the Senators, though? The regular season means something as they rebuild and work their way towards competitiveness. Watching that development happen in real time is something you shouldn’t pass up.
5) Roster Battles
It’s expected that there will be a lot of names competing for a relatively few numbers of spots on the roster, especially up front. Names like Vitaly Abramov, Josh Norris, Logan Brown, Drake Batherson, and Alex Formenton are all getting close to full-time NHL readiness. Add in the high-end 2020 draft picks, and it’s clear that there will be some battles worth watching at camp and throughout the season.
6) The Seattle Expansion Draft
How are you going to know who you want exposed to the Seattle Kraken if you don’t watch the games?
7) Moments Worth Watching
The Senators weren’t particularly good in 2019-20, but there were moments worth watching. There was Anthony Duclair undressing the New York Islanders and scoring a spectacular goal. There was Bobby Ryan’s hat trick in his return to the CTC. There was Marcus Hogberg’s overtime heroics against the Red Wings. Even when the win-loss column looked ugly, the Senators delivered memorable moments. They’ll be sure to do it again in 2020-21.
You’ll have the opportunity to watch teams like the Edmonton Oilers, Vancouver Canucks, Toronto Maple Leafs, and others over the course of the summer playoff tournament. You won’t have the opportunity to watch the Senators. By the time they take to the ice again, you’ll be so happy to see them that you won’t want to change the channel.
Let me know why you’re planning to watch the Senators in the comments section!
As always, thanks for reading.