I recently took to Reddit to ask Sens fans the question, “What’s your Hot Take for the Sens this Season?” The thread was met with plenty of takes ranging from mild to spicy hot. I will be discussing some of these hot takes, and I will give my opinion on how likely I think they are to occur.
From Reddit User: nogad22
“Hot take: Sens will be this seasons new jersey devils. Young up and coming team that explodes onto the scene.”
This is a take that I really hope comes true. When looking at the two teams, there are definitely comparisons to be made. Both teams are loaded with young talent but also share one young superstar who looks to be the MVP for each team. These players of course are Tim Stützle and Jack Hughes and it is worth mentioning both players have been on very similar trajectories to this point in their career. The Senators like the Devils have also appeared to figure out their defensive group after acquiring Chychrun and allowing Sanderson to gain more experience. The one concern I have with this comparison is that I still question if DJ Smith can coach the Senators to be as successful as the Devils, who played a very strong systematic game. If a new coach comes in I would be more confident in this take, however, given what we know today I would say that I don’t see the Senators being as successful as the Devils. Still a playoff team in my eyes, but not a 100+ point team.
From Reddit User: Stueylewisandthenews
“I really really hate to say this. Maybe I’m just jaded and depressed. I think we miss the playoffs again. I know we have the talent, and our time has come to finally make a real push. I’ve just been hurt too many times. Maybe I’m just bracing for impact.“
As Sens fans, it is understandable that the fanbase has doubts about this teams ability to make the post-season given the last half decade. However, it is important to focus on two things you said in your take, “I know we have the talent, and our time has come to finally make a real push”. This is true, we do have the talent and our time is now, as someone who has followed the team since pre-rebuild I can confess that this is the first offseason where I truly believe the team has what it takes to make it over the hump. I am quite confident in this team to make the post-season because of a couple of reasone.
1. Josh Norris is back, and hopefully for more than 8 games. The Sens now have another 30+ goal scorer who plays a solid 2-way game and gives Pinto more favourable matchups.
2. Jakob Chychrun is here for hopefully most of the season. While his injury history is concerning, the Sens now have one of their better players under their control for the whole year, rather than just post-deadline.
3. They only missed by 6 points this year with the aforementioned reasons. Not to distract from the fact they used half a dozen goalies which is very unlikely *knock on wood* to be the case again.
From Reddit User: CalmMadLad
“This team would have made the playoffs had they fired DJ after the November stint. That would have lit a fire across the whole team.“
This was a take I was expecting to see from the moment I put up the post. It is also the take that I am the most torn over, on one hand you can point to November and say if they were just average they would have made the playoffs. On the other hand, they were a good to great team for the rest of the months in the season which DJ should deserve some credit for. Ultimately though, I am going to agree with this take, I believe that this roster is too talented to not be a playoff team. The main area of concern is the 5v5 defense which is just embarrassing for the Sens, this is the area I think DJ really struggles with and costs the teams a lot of games. Under a new coach with tighter systematic play, I believe the Senators would have made the playoffs. I am changing your take slightly with this answer as I am assuming to meant firing DJ before the losing streak got too out of hand.
From Reddit User: Calhalen
“Zub’s contract may age badly and he had a bad season with constant injury and bad play.”
“Top 5 or 10 D core league-wide with Sanderson getting Norris nominations and Timmy getting Hart nominations with a 105 point season”
First, I will be talking about the hot take that Zub’s contract may age poorly. I along with a lot of Sens fans were quite disappointed with the play of Artem Zub this season. However as you mentioned, it is important to take into account that he did go through serious injury troubles including a broken jaw. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t slightly worried about the play and contract of Zub, although I am waiting to see how he plays next season after a full offseason of recovery. To start the year, Zub was playing a solid shutdown game and it wasn’t until his injuries that he began to look like a different player. I believe Zub will have a bounce back season although I will say it would not totally shock me to see your take come true.
This is probably the most ambitious of the group being discussed today. While I would love to see Sanderson getting Norris votes and or a nomination, I still believe we are a few years early for that. The second piece to analyze is Tim Stützle being a Hart trophy nominee as well as getting 105+ points on the year. I believe there definitely is a chance that Timmy is in the range of scoring 105+ points however, for him to be in the Hart conversation, he would likely have to lead the Senators to at least a top 3 seed in the Atlantic. The likelihood of both of those things occurring are definitely not great, but at the same time I could realistically see it happening (definitely some bias). I am going to disagree for now, but if it happens, I would not have my mind absolutely blown to smithereens. As for the Sanderson Norris votes and Stu for heart both happening this year, I would say I don’t see it. But what I will say which may or may not be a hot take, is that I could see each of these things happening at some point in the next 5-7 years.
From Reddit User: FloorImmediate9220
“Dubas takes over and, with Spezza by his side, kicks the leafs out of the playoffs and straight to the finals”
I’m going to be looking at this take from two different angles. The first of these being Dubas taking over and/or Spezza joining the organization. Personally, I don’t think this will happen for a couple of reasons, the first being that I believe new ownership will either bring in their own guy as gm which I will agree could be Dubas, or they will keep Pierre on a short leash. Given how long this whole process is taking, I don’t expect any major changes to come for at least a couple months until after the draft. By this point I wouldn’t be surprised to see Dubas accept another position with a team like the Penguins. I also believe that if Andlauer is to get the team, he will likely either keep Pierre, or bring in Staios as GM. As for beating the Leafs out of the playoffs, I mean is that even a hot take? All jokes aside, I will agree with the Sens beating out the Leafs but I would he surprised if Dubas is the GM when that happens.