OTTAWA — The Ottawa Senators begin the 2018-19 season tonight against the Chicago Blackhawks, and this will be the beginning of the undoubted swan song for this group of Sens that has brought the organization two Stanley Cups — they're looking for a third — and a tremendous amount of playoff success.
GM Mike McMahon took over the Sens in 2009, inheriting a stacked roster from now Florida GM Trev. In his first season, the Sens made the Eastern Conference Finals (losing to Boston) and then made the conference semifinals the next season before missing the playoffs in each of the following two seasons.
However, since 2013, Ottawa has been one of the top organizations in the NEFHL and during this five-year period, the team has kept much of the same nucleus.
In the last five seasons, Ottawa has captured two cups and has been to two more Eastern Conference Finals; the only season the Senators didn't reach at least the conference finals was last season. In a period from 2013-17, the Senators posted a 174-114-31-9 record (almost a .600 winning percentage), reaching the conference finals in all four years and also capturing two cups.
At the end of this season, a huge chunk of Ottawa's core becomes unrestricted free agents. Patrice Bergeron, who was picked up this offseason as a No. 1 center, will hit the open market along with No. 2 center Derick Brassard, first-line LW Jakub Voracek, first and second-line RWs Cam Atkinson and Alex Radulov, as well as some depth pieces (Andrew Cogliano, Marc Staal and Josh Gorges).
On top of that, the Senators, as part of a rebuilding process, could put Henrik Lundqvist, Brent Burns and Roman Josi on the trade block.
Barring a loyalty tag, the only forwards Ottawa is guaranteed to return in 2019-20 are Tyler Bozak, Nate Thompson, Tomas Tatar, Frank Vatrano, Elias Lindholm and Logan Shaw.
So will this be the end of an era? Likely. But Ottawa is hoping to add one more cup to the trophy case before this core waves goodbye to the Canada's capital city.
"We're all-in," McMahon said. "Whatever it takes, we'll do whatever we can do to win this year. This group deserves it."
Players on the Ottawa roster who have been around for both Stanley Cups include Voracek, Radulov, Atkinson, Lindholm, Burns, Josi, Krug, Staal and Lundqvist.
|2009-10||82||39||31||10||2||6th||Lost in EC Finals to Boston (4-3)|
|2010-11||82||38||33||8||3||8th||Lost in EC Semifinals to Florida (4-1)|
|2013-14||82||45||28||7||2||4th||Lost in EC Finals to Boston (4-3)|
|2014-15||82||43||27||8||4||5th||Won Stanley Cup over San Jose (4-3)|
|2015-16||82||46||28||8||0||2nd||Lost in EC Finals to Tampa (4-3)|
|2016-17||82||40||31||8||3||6th||Won Stanley Cup over Detroit (4-1)|
|2017-18||82||36||31||15||0||8th||Lost in EC Quarterfinals to Florida (4-2)|
|TOTALS||738||349||286||83||20||72-47 Playoff Record|