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Senators season preview: DeBrincat-Stutzle-Giroux line should add punch

The 2022-23 NHL season starts Oct. 7. With training camps underway, NHL.com is looking at the three keys, the within scoop on roster questions, and the projected lineup for every of the 32 teams. Today, the Ottawa Senators.

Coach: D.J. Smith (fourth season)

Last season: 33-42-7, seventh in Atlantic Division;didn’t be eligible for Stanley Cup Playoffs

3 KEYS

1. Top-six chemistry

By attracting Claude Giroux, 34, and Alex DeBrincat, 24, the Senators revamped one-third of these top-six forward group. General manager Pierre Dorion said the original plan would be to play the newcomers with third-year forward Tim Stutzle, 20. It looks promising especially given the various characteristics of every member. Giroux may be the savvy veteran who’ll be just as much teacher as linemate after being acquired in a trade with the Philadelphia Flyers on March 19 and signing a three-year, $19.5 million contract on July 13; DeBrincat, acquired in a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks on July 7, is really a finisher who has averaged 32 goals a season through his first five in the NHL; and Ottawa showed its confidence in Stutzle by signing him to an eight-year $66.8 million contract Sept. 7. The three will undoubtedly be given every possibility to develop chemistry during training camp.

2. Help for Chabot

Thomas Chabot is entering the prime of his career; the 25-year-old has 188 points (42 goals, 146 assists) in 313 NHL games, all with the Senators, and contains shown to be a franchise defenseman. But he needs help on the trunk end. Chabot led Ottawa defensemen in scoring with 38 points (seven goals, 31 assists) in 59 games last season; another highest point producer on the blue line was Artem Zub, who had 22 points (six goals, 16 assists) despite playing 81 games. Whether it originates from Zub, veterans Travis Hamonic or Nikita Zaitsev or rookie Jake Sanderson, the Senators need more point production from defensemen not named Thomas Chabot.

3. Net gains

The Senators have allowed 691 goals in the last three seasons; only the Detroit Red Wings (743), NJ Devils (715), Montreal Canadiens (702) and Buffalo Sabres (698) have abandoned more for the reason that span. Previously two seasons, Ottawa has used six goalies: Anton Forsberg (54 games played), Matt Murray (47), Filip Gustavsson (27), Marcus Hogberg (14), Joey Daccord (eight) and Mads Sogaard (two). By acquiring veteran Cam Talbot in a trade with the Minnesota Wild for Gustavsson on July 12, the Senators may finally have the stability in net they are searching for; the 35-year-old was 32-12-4 with a 2.76 goals-against average, .911 save percentage and three shutouts in 49 games (48 starts) with the Wild last season. After Ottawa opened the 2020-21 season 1-8-1 and began last season 3-9-1, Talbot’s composure and leadership may help soon add up to an improved start these times.

Video: Ottawa Senators offseason

ROSTER RUNDOWN

Making the cut

The largest roster battles in camp should come on defense. Though Chabot, Zub and Hamonic are slotted in, you will have plenty of chance for younger players to start out the growing season in the NHL. Ottawa includes a promising band of prospects prepared to make the jump in rookies Sanderson, 20, Jacob Bernard-Docker, 22, and Lassi Thomson, 21. It’ll be interesting to see if any, if all three, earn spots on the roster as rookies.

Most intriguing addition

Giroux, who has 923 points (294 goals, 629 assists) in 1,018 NHL games, spends his offseasons in Ottawa, so he’s got always had a soft spot for the region. Still, he wished to start to see the Senators improve in the offseason, and once they added DeBrincat and Talbot, he previously his answer. Giroux’s value can extend off the ice aswell; he is able to show other future free agents Ottawa is actually a desirable destination.

Biggest potential surprise

A big change of scenery could possibly be precisely what forward Mathieu Joseph needed. The 25-year-old played his first 221 NHL games with the Tampa Bay Lightning and had a restricted role within their bottom-six forward group, with 70 points (37 goals, 33 assists). But after being traded to Ottawa plus a fourth-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft for forward Nicholas Paul on March 20, Joseph had 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in 11 games with the Senators. An indicator of what’s ahead?

Prepared to break through

Shane Pinto missed a lot of the 2021-22 season after having shoulder surgery in November and was limited by five games (one assist) with Ottawa. However the 21-year-old center is healthy and is likely to get yourself a regular shift on the list of Senators bottom-six and potential power-play time with the next unit. The raw skill will there be: He was a finalist for the 2021 Hobey Baker Award because the top player in NCAA Division I hockey after he previously 32 points (15 goals, 17 assists) in 28 games with North Dakota two seasons ago.

Fantasy sleeper

Joseph, LW/RW (undrafted normally in fantasy) — He averaged nearly a spot a casino game and was plus-8 in 11 games for the Senators last season after being acquired in a trade with the Lightning. top six is crowded following the offseason additions of valuable forwards DeBrincat and Giroux, but Joseph, who signed a four-year, $11.8 million contract with the Senators on July 28, is actually a fantasy deep sleeper with contact with a minumum of one high-upside young forward in Alex Formenton and/or rookie Pinto. — Pete Jensen

PROJECTED LINEUP

Brady TkachukJosh NorrisDrake Batherson

Alex DeBrincat — Tim Stutzle — Claude Giroux

Alex Formenton — Shane Pinto — Mathieu Joseph

Parker KellyDylan GambrellAustin Watson

Thomas Chabot –Travis Hamonic

Erik Brannstrom — Artem Zub

Jake Sanderson — Nikita Zaitsev

Cam Talbot

Anton Forsberg

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