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The Ottawa Senators May Be onto Something

Let's just get this out of the way right now: the 2018-19 Ottawa Senators are a dumpster fire.

According to Daily Faceoff, the ONLY player with a green ranking (which I think is 50th and higher) is Brady Tkachuk. There are some promising young players on this team, like Tkachuk, Colin White, Thomas Chabot and Christian Wolanin.

But, by and large, this team is BAD.

That being said, there may be a light at the end of the tunnel for the Sens.

Here are two graphics (from @nhl.discussion on Instagram), showing the players and picks dealt and acquired since June:

Granted, you lost a few extremely talented players. Hoffman, Karlsson, Duchene, Dzingel and Stone were all game-changers in Ottawa, and when put together, could have hypothetically been the core of a playoff team.

That said, four of the five players would have been unrestricted free agents, or UFAs, after this season. Mike Hoffman would've been the only player under contract, and even he has just a single year left on his contract.

Then, you break down how much each player would've commanded in order to remain in Ottawa. Mark Stone on the verge of signing an eight-year deal worth $9.5 million per year. Erik Karlsson is looking to at least match Drew Doughty's $11 million-dollar deal, if not surpass it. Matt Duchene already rejected an eight-year, $64 million deal to stay in Ottawa, and will be looking for at least that much on the open market.

Assuming Duchene accepted that offer, Karlsson matched Doughty, and Stone signed the same extension, those three players ALONE would cost you $28.5 million. Add in Hoffman's roughly $5.2 million, and that's four players being paid $33.7 million, and eating up roughly 42% of your salary cap.

These players didn't want to sign in Ottawa, and they would've had to overpay to keep them.

So, Eugene Melnyk and the front office started wheeling and dealing. Through major trades, they picked up 12 players (6 NHL players, 6 prospects), seven draft picks, and two conditional picks.

From a draft pick perspective, as shown by Cap Friendly, the Sens are loaded.

Granted, it would look that much better if they had their own first round pick this year, which has a chance to be a #1 overall pick. That one stings a bit.

BUT, that's still a haul. Not only that, but with the Mark Stone trade came the acquisition of Erik Brannstrom.

For those new to Erik Brannstrom, this is Erik Brannstrom:

This is from the World Junior Championship, against the best competition in the world in his age group.

And yet, Erik Brannstrom made it look easy.

Playing with the Chicago Wolves, his 0.683 points per game is already the third-highest mark for 19-year old defensemen in AHL history. Check out the list, there are some pretty impressive names.

Between Brannstrom and fellow first-rounder Josh Norris, the Sens have stocked their prospect cupboards for success in the future. There is one aspect of this rebuild, however, that's still up in the air.

Yes, the Senators have a load of draft picks at their disposal. Now, it's time to turn those picks into future Senators. Not just the first rounders, too. The seven second-rounders over the next three seasons need to yield an NHL-caliber player or too.

If Ottawa can draft well, and develop correctly, this rebuild may actually lead them somewhere in 2021 and beyond.

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