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Weekly Question: What Do You Expect From The Senators This Year?

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We want to know: what do you expect out of the team this season? Is making the playoffs good enough?

NHL: Ottawa Senators at Boston Bruins Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The goal every year for every team in the NHL should be to win the Stanley Cup. However, we know that it isn’t realistic for about 2/3rd’s of the league. Therefore, different teams and fanbases have different expectations year in and year out.

So we want to know: as a Senators fan, what do you expect from the team this year? Not necessarily what do you think will happen, but what would they have to do to make you happy this season?

There are of course going to be varying answers, and let’s go through the different kinds of responses there will probably be.

Stanley Cup or Bust

Some people won’t be satisfied unless the Senators win the Stanley Cup. Obviously that’s a lot to ask of them, but I can see where these people are coming from. It may not be realistic to expect them to win it all, but I can see the case that not winning the Stanley Cup=not successful.

I don’t necessarily agree with this, but there must be some who are ultra competitive that don’t like seeing the Senators lose.

Make the Playoffs

"Just get in and anything can happen!" That seems to be a common sentiment within the Senators organization, and with fans of the team as well. I’m not sure if thoughts about this have changed at all, but I know that many out there believe that truly any of the 16 teams that make the playoffs can win the Stanley Cup.

Considering Ottawa missed the playoffs last year, making it in 2016-17 would definitely be an improvement. And maybe that’s all people want, is some small improvement. The playoffs are incredibly fun to watch, and sometimes all you can ask for is entertaining hockey.

This category of people would still constitute the season as a success even if they got eliminated in the first round, however, this next group would not...

Win a Round or Two

This group of people are similar to the previous one, however, they would also expect Ottawa to have at least a bit of success in the playoffs. Making the playoffs is great, sure, but if you get bounced in 5 games right away, it never really feels like you even had a shot.

The Senators haven’t had playoff success in years, so it makes sense if you’re frustrated that they have underperformed. If Ottawa gets to the Conference Semi-Final, Final, or even Stanley Cup Final, then they will have made huge progress in just one season. But should we expect that of them this year?

Individual Success

Sometimes a season can be successful if a guy like Erik Karlsson wins the Norris (or the Hart), or if Mike Hoffman wins the Rocket Richard, or simply if the team as a whole improves from the beginning of the season.

Since it’s unlikely that Ottawa will go all the way, sometimes it’s best to look at how individual players have progressed over the course of the season. For example, if Cody Ceci stabilizes the second pairing, Ryan Dzingel and Curtis Lazar become solid third line players, and Zack Smith scores 20 goals, then there are quite a few positives to take overall.

If the team misses the playoffs or exits in the first round despite some real progression from most of the team, then maybe it isn’t such a failed season. Or in the extreme case for some of you, perhaps all that matters is if someone like Karlsson wins a major award. If wins and losses don’t matter as much for you this season, then this is probably what you expect of them.