Heading into the 2016-17 season, not many people outside of Ottawa expected the Senators to do very well. Even in the city and amongst the fans, people’s hopes were not as high as they had been in previous years. There were the ever-optimists of course, but for the most part, people believed this was a wildcard team at best.
In September, I ran a Weekly Question post and the poll at the end asked about your expectations for the team this year. Here are the results:
Surprisingly, although the narrative around the team was that they weren’t quite good enough, fans still expected the Senators to take a leap forward and do some damage in the playoffs. It wasn’t necessarily that fans thought the team was good enough to win a round or two, it was that they felt it was about time that the team becomes closer to a legitimate contender.
Now that it looks like the Senators are going to make the playoffs and might even get home-ice advantage for the first time since 2007, I’m curious to see if people’s expectations have changed. Should we expect more from this team? Or should the people who voted that they expect to simply get in now change their vote to winning a round or two?
With a solid record, it’s not like Ottawa is squeaking into the playoffs. Of course, we all hope they can win the Stanley Cup, but that isn’t really realistic for this season. At the same time, I still expect them to win at least one round due to the weak Atlantic Division. What are your expectations now?
Just Make the Playoffs
They weren’t supposed to be this good all the way into March anyway, so perhaps you’re happy with them just making it in, and whatever happens, happens. If you pick this option you must not get very stressed out about hockey.
Win One Round
Ottawa is most likely going to play Boston, Florida, or Toronto, and they can beat any one of those three. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect them to at least get four wins this spring. A first round win would make it only their second series win since 2007.
Win Two Rounds
Like I said, although the first round will be close, Ottawa should have the upper hand. Even in the second round though, they have a shot. They’ve shown the ability to beat Montreal, so I wouldn’t be scared of them unless Carey Price is playing out of his mind.
The New York Rangers are another possibility here, and while they have incredible forward depth and Henrik Lundqvist, Ottawa is capable of beating them as well. Having said that, I’m not sure I expect them to beat a team like the Canadiens or Rangers.
Defeat a Beast in the East
It’s not that hard to envision a scenario where Ottawa makes it all the way to the Conference Finals somehow and ends up facing off against either Pittsburgh or Washington. Those two seem like the clear-cut favourites to win the Eastern Conference, and Ottawa would have an incredibly tough time beating either one of them.
Maybe you’re optimistic and expect great things out of them, though.
Win it All
Now, I’m not sure if anyone will actually pick this, besides simply doing it because they want to be different. I don’t understand how you could expect a team like this to win the Stanley Cup, but I’m sure there are a handful of you out there.
Plus, I have to put all five options or else it takes away the possibility of the impossible actually happening...
If there is anything you expect from certain players or anything else, let us know in the comments. I’m very curious to see just how much we expect out of this team in April/May/maybe even June.