2017–18 Ottawa Senators season

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2017–18 Ottawa Senators
Division 7th Atlantic
Conference 15th Eastern
2017–18 record 28–43–11
Home record 16–19–6
Road record 12–24–5
Goals for 221
Goals against 291
Team information
General Manager Pierre Dorion
Coach Guy Boucher
Captain Erik Karlsson
Alternate captains
Arena Canadian Tire Centre
Average attendance 15,829 (85.3%)[1]
Minor league affiliate(s) Belleville Senators (AHL)
Team leaders
Goals Matt Duchene
Ryan Dzingel (23)
Assists Erik Karlsson (53)
Points Erik Karlsson
Mark Stone (62)
Penalties in minutes Mark Borowiecki (64)
Plus/minus Mark Stone (+9)
Wins Craig Anderson (23)
Goals against average Mike Condon (3.25)

The 2017–18 Ottawa Senators season was the 26th season of the Ottawa Senators of the National Hockey League (NHL). The Senators failed to return to the playoffs after advancing to game seven of the Eastern Conference Final in the 2017 Stanley Cup playoffs.

Team business[edit]

The team moved their American Hockey League affiliate team, the Binghamton Senators, to Belleville, Ontario, becoming the Belleville Senators for the 2017–18 season. The AHL team plays in a refurbished Yardmen Arena, equipped with CA$20 million in upgrades.[2]

The team completed some work on the Canadian Tire Centre in time for the season, the team reduced seating in the upper bowl while adding a stage and special event areas. Team president Tom Anselmi explained the changes in part as that the Centre had too many upper bowl seats and not enough lower bowl seating, the team and Senators fans had been criticized during the 2017 playoffs for not selling out every playoff game.[3] The seating capacity was reduced to 17,000 (standing areas were retained),[4] after the season, Eugene Melnyk stated that he thought the move was a mistake and the tarps over the seats in the upper bowl would be removed for next season.[5]

In January 2018, the Senators reached an agreement with the National Capital Commission government agency in Ottawa to redevelop the downtown LeBreton Flats site,[6] the site would be redeveloped for CA$3.5 billion in a partnership with private developers known as the Rendezvous Group and would include new residential buildings, a public square and tourist attractions. As part of the redevelopment, the Senators would build a new ice hockey arena to replace the Canadian Tire Centre, an arena considered by many fans to be remote and having access problems. A new arena is not expected to open before 2022.[7]

In February 2018, team president Anselmi resigned his position with the Senators without explanation,[8] the same day, the Senators extended the contract of general manager Pierre Dorion by three years, given the task by owner Melnyk to rebuild the team as necessary.[9]

A group of fans, disappointed in the team in general and owner Melnyk in particular, organized the "#MelnykOut" campaign to prod Melnyk into selling the team or otherwise not be involved with the team. Billboards promoting the "#MelnykOut" campaign were crowd-funded and located around Ottawa.[10] Melnyk and Dorion held "town-hall" meetings with season ticket subscribers after the season in an effort to win back the fan base,[5] the club announced a reduction in parking rates, concession incentives and the removal of the tarps from seats in the arena.[5] Melnyk told the fans that the team was not for sale.[11] Former captain Daniel Alfredsson later told former Ottawa Sun columnist Susan Sherring that he and Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson were in agreement that "it was time for a new owner."[12] Asked about Alfredsson's comments, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman stated that the club was not for sale, that Melnyk was "committed to the Senators and is passionate about them."[13]

In May 2018, the club announced the appointment of Nicolas Ruszkowski as its new Chief Operating Officer. Ruszkowski has a background in public relations.[14] Ruszkowski will be in charge of business operations and will not have a role in hockey operations.[15]

Off-season[edit]

On June 14, 2017, the Senators announced that long-time winger Chris Neil would not be re-signed and he became a free agent on July 1.[16] Neil had played over 1000 games for the Senators since being drafted by the team in 1998, accumulating 2522 penalty minutes during this time, the 20th most of any player in league history. Neil would not be signed by any other NHL team and he chose to retire, he was honoured by the Senators with a ceremony at the January 25, 2018, Senators' home game.

On July 1, 2017, former Senators team captain Daniel Alfredsson announced he was stepping down in his role as Senior Advisor of Hockey Operations, he stated he wanted to take a complete break from the game to spend time with his family. Alfredsson held the role for two seasons. [17]

The team had a significant turnover in personnel. Senators did not resign forwards Chris Kelly, Tommy Wingels or Viktor Stalberg, and lost Clarke MacArthur to long-term injury related to his ongoing issues with concussions. Defenceman Marc Methot was lost to the Vegas Golden Knights in the expansion draft. Kelly would later join the Senators' Belleville affiliate, the Senators signed free agents Johnny Oduya and Nate Thompson.

Pre-season[edit]

On June 16, 2017, the Senators announced their pre-season schedule, they played a six-game schedule starting September 18, including a home-and-home set against their provincial rivals, the Toronto Maple Leafs, and a game against the New Jersey Devils in O'Leary, Prince Edward Island as part of Kraft Hockeyville on September 25.[18] The team also played two games against their closest geographical rival, the Montreal Canadiens, and one game against the Winnipeg Jets.

Regular season[edit]

The Senators' home opener was against the Washington Capitals on October 5, on November 10 and November 11, the Senators played two games against the Colorado Avalanche in Stockholm, Sweden. This marked the first time an NHL regular season game has been played outside of North America since 2011.

The Senators made a major trade on November 5, 2018, the team traded Kyle Turris, Andrew Hammond, Shane Bowers and draft picks to the Colorado Avalanche for Matt Duchene, who had requested a trade from the Avalanche.[19] Turris was moved by the Avalanche to the Nashville Predators in a second phase of the deal. Turris had been in unsuccessful salary negotiations with the Senators and turned down a contract offer from the Senators which was similar to one he accepted from the Predators.[20] Hammond had been playing for the Senators' minor league Belleville team, and the Senators wanted to clear his contract. Hammond would remain with Belleville after the trade and was eventually elevated by the Avalanche. Bowers was the Senators' 2017 first round entry draft pick, playing in NCAA ice hockey.

To mark the NHL's centennial, the Senators hosted the "NHL 100 Classic" outdoor game on December 16 at TD Place Stadium in Ottawa, the game between Ottawa and the Montreal Canadiens comes nearly 100 years after the first game of the NHL's 1917–18 season, between the Ottawa Senators and the Montreal Canadiens. The regular season game was also a Canada 150 event, the stadium's capacity was increased with temporary stands, which were also used for the 105th Grey Cup game to be held a few weeks earlier. The Senators had hoped to host the event on Parliament Hill, but the Government of Canada decided it was not feasible. An alumni game was held at an NHL-sized rink installed on Parliament Hill; in the 100 Classic, the Senators defeated the Canadiens 3–0. The game was preceded by controversial comments by owner Eugene Melnyk about the team's attendance, the move to Lebreton Flats and a possible move of the team.[21]

The Senators began the season without captain Erik Karlsson, who had had off-season surgery, and he returned late in October, at less than 100%, but the team managed to have a winning record in October, after the trade for Duchene, the Senators played the games against the Avalanche in Sweden, winning both. The rest of November was unkind, as the Senators then lost seven in a row, one in overtime. December was also a losing month, as the Senators had five-game and four-game losing streaks and won only one game of eight on the road. January saw the Senators lose six in a row, the first time the team had lost six in a row in regulation since 1996.[22]

As the trade deadline of February 26 approached, the Senators were still well outside of a playoff spot, after having his contract extended, general manager Dorion went to work to rebuild the roster. The Senators traded Chris DiDomenico to the Chicago Blackhawks and Dion Phaneuf and Nate Thompson to the Los Angeles Kings. Derick Brassard went to the Pittsburgh Penguins in a three-team swap with the Vegas Golden Knights. Defenceman Johnny Oduya went to the Philadelphia Flyers via waivers, the Senators notified other teams that they would consider offers for team captain Erik Karlsson, and also suggested a package including Bobby Ryan, but neither player was traded. GM Dorion later stated he would not trade Karlsson at the 2018 NHL Entry Draft and would offer him an eight-year extension on his contract on July 1, 2018, the first day the team is allowed to do so.[11]

Playoffs[edit]

The Senators were eliminated from playoff contention on March 22, 2018.[1]

Standings[edit]

Divisional standings[edit]

Atlantic Division
Pos Team GP W L OTL ROW GF GA GD Pts
1 z – Tampa Bay Lightning 82 54 23 5 48 296 236 +60 113
2 x – Boston Bruins 82 50 20 12 47 270 214 +56 112
3 x – Toronto Maple Leafs 82 49 26 7 42 277 232 +45 105
4 Florida Panthers 82 44 30 8 41 248 246 +2 96
5 Detroit Red Wings 82 30 39 13 25 217 255 −38 73
6 Montreal Canadiens 82 29 40 13 27 209 264 −55 71
7 Ottawa Senators 82 28 43 11 26 221 291 −70 67
8 Buffalo Sabres 82 25 45 12 24 199 280 −81 62
Source: National Hockey League
x – Clinched playoff spot; z – Clinched conference.

Conference standings[edit]

Top 3 (Metropolitan Division)
Pos Team GP W L OTL ROW GF GA GD Pts
1 y – Washington Capitals 82 49 26 7 46 259 239 +20 105
2 x – Pittsburgh Penguins 82 47 29 6 45 272 250 +22 100
3 x – Philadelphia Flyers 82 42 26 14 40 251 243 +8 98
Source: National Hockey League
x – Clinched playoff spot; y – Clinched division.
Top 3 (Atlantic Division)
Pos Team GP W L OTL ROW GF GA GD Pts
1 z – Tampa Bay Lightning 82 54 23 5 48 296 236 +60 113
2 x – Boston Bruins 82 50 20 12 47 270 214 +56 112
3 x – Toronto Maple Leafs 82 49 26 7 42 277 232 +45 105
Source: National Hockey League
x – Clinched playoff spot; z – Clinched conference.
Eastern Conference Wild Card
Pos Div Team GP W L OTL ROW GF GA GD Pts
1 ME x – Columbus Blue Jackets 82 45 30 7 39 242 230 +12 97
2 ME x – New Jersey Devils 82 44 29 9 39 248 244 +4 97
3 AT Florida Panthers 82 44 30 8 41 248 246 +2 96
4 ME Carolina Hurricanes 82 36 35 11 33 228 256 −28 83
5 ME New York Islanders 82 35 37 10 32 264 296 −32 80
6 ME New York Rangers 82 34 39 9 31 231 268 −37 77
7 AT Detroit Red Wings 82 30 39 13 25 217 255 −38 73
8 AT Montreal Canadiens 82 29 40 13 27 209 264 −55 71
9 AT Ottawa Senators 82 28 43 11 26 221 291 −70 67
10 AT Buffalo Sabres 82 25 45 12 24 199 280 −81 62
Source: National Hockey League
x – Clinched playoff spot.

Schedule and results[edit]

Pre-season[edit]

The pre-season schedule was announced on June 16, 2017.[23]

Regular season[edit]

The regular season schedule was released on June 22, 2017.[24]

2017–18 game log (Record: 28–43–11; Home: 16–19–6 ; Road: 12–24–5)

Legend:   Win (2 points)   Loss (0 points)   Overtime/shootout loss (1 point)

Players[edit]

Statistics[edit]

Final Stats[25]

Skaters

Goaltenders
Regular season[25]
Player GP GS TOI W L OT GA GAA SA SV% SO G A PIM
Craig Anderson 58 55 3250:35 23 25 6 180 3.32 1768 .898 2 0 0 2
Mike Condon 31 26 1625:55 5 17 5 88 3.25 898 .902 0 0 2 0
Danny Taylor 1 1 58:29 0 1 0 4 4.10 34 .882 0 0 0 0

Denotes player spent time with another team before joining the Senators. Stats reflect time with the Senators only.
No longer with team.
Bold denotes team leader in that category.

Awards[edit]

Regular Season
Player Award Awarded
Jean-Gabriel Pageau NHL Third Star of the Week[26] October 30, 2017

Milestones[edit]

Player Milestone Date
Logan Brown 1st career NHL game October 5, 2017
Alex Formenton 1st career NHL game October 7, 2017
Christian Jaros 1st career NHL game October 10, 2017
Thomas Chabot 1st career NHL assist
1st career NHL point
October 13, 2017
Johnny Oduya 800th career NHL game October 14, 2017
Alex Burrows 200th career NHL goal October 19, 2017
Logan Brown 1st career NHL assist
1st career NHL point
October 21, 2017
Filip Chlapik 1st career NHL game
1st career NHL assist
1st career NHL point
October 26, 2017
Chris DiDomenico 1st career NHL assist
1st career NHL point
October 26, 2017
Jack Rodewald 1st career NHL game October 27, 2017
Chris DiDomenico 1st career NHL goal October 27, 2017
Mike Condon 100th career NHL game October 30, 2017
Mark Stone 200th career NHL point November 2, 2017
Alex Burrows 400th career NHL point November 4, 2017
Cody Ceci 300th career NHL game November 11, 2017
Mike Hoffman 100th career NHL assist November 25, 2017
Thomas Chabot 1st career NHL goal December 1, 2017
Matt Duchene 600th career NHL game December 9, 2017
Derick Brassard 400th career NHL point December 12, 2017
Mike Hoffman 200th career NHL point January 5, 2018
Bobby Ryan 700th career NHL game January 6, 2018
Zack Smith 500th career NHL game January 6, 2018
Mike Hoffman 300th career NHL game January 6, 2018
Alex Burrows 200th career NHL assist January 10, 2018
Erik Karlsson 600th career NHL game February 1, 2018
Colin White 1st career NHL assist
1st career NHL point
February 3, 2018
Colin White 1st career NHL goal February 6, 2018
Jean-Gabriel Pageau 300th career NHL game February 8, 2018
Mike Hoffman 100th career NHL goal February 8, 2018
Derick Brassard 700th career NHL game February 19, 2018
Mark Stone 300th career NHL game February 22, 2018
Erik Karlsson 500th career NHL point February 27, 2018
Magnus Paajarvi 100th career NHL point March 8, 2018
Fredrik Claesson 100th career NHL game March 12, 2018
Alex Burrows 900th career NHL game March 13, 2018
Erik Burgdoerfer 1st career NHL assist
1st career NHL point
March 13, 2018
Christian Wolanin 1st career NHL game March 22, 2018
Bobby Ryan 500th career NHL point March 22, 2018
Filip Chlapik 1st career NHL goal March 22, 2018
Tom Pyatt 400th career NHL game March 24, 2018
Ben Sexton 1st career NHL game March 26, 2018
Christian Wolanin 1st career NHL goal
1st career NHL point
April 2, 2018
Matt Duchene 200th career NHL goal April 2, 2018

Transactions[edit]