2019-20 Season: More optimism, less doom and gloom

If insanity is repeating the same mistakes over and over again, then the Sens under coach Boucher were a case study in being "insane".

What I have seen of the Sens' new boss, DJ Smith inspires me a lot more than Boucher. Yes, he brought over several players from T.O., but most are on manageable/ disposable contracts if they do not work out. In the preseason Smith has already shown more flexibility than Boucher in choosing who will remain on the big team, and how much ice time they get. Hopefully Boucher's "coaches pet" problems are not repeated by Smith.

As for the team itself, yes it is weak on elite talent with the losses last season of Karlsson, Stone, Duchene and Dzingel, but it is full of youthful potential, with ever more prospects coming down the pipeline in the seasons to come. I also believe with the trades the Sens made, they also rid themselves of a lot of "dead weight" and toxicity in the dressing room, replacing it with youthful enthusiasm.

In net is where I have most concerns: Anderson "was" great, but has started to become an aging liability. Nilsson is an adequate backup, but no more. And the rest of the goalies in the pipeline are not ready for prime time.

Defense is where I am most optimistic. Chabot, Brannstrom are good D-men, Demelo, Wolanin (when he returns) are decent, and the rest are an improvement from last season.

On offense I see a team with no "first line", rather all 2-3 lines. Furthermore, there are many other decent 2-3 liners in Belleville who can replace a rookie who is not ready for prime time. The Sens will have to attack in "swarms", exploiting other teams' less balanced offense (ex. great first line, weak 4th line). This team will have to spread the scoring to be successful.

All in all, the 2019-20 Sens will not be great, nor will they be close to making the playoffs, but I do not believe they will be cellar dwellers either. Optimistically, I see them playing .500 hockey, reaching 82 points.

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