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Ottawa Senators Odds - New scoring depth makes bounce-back season possible

Posted by Don Melrose on 9/16/2009 8:05:12 AM
hockey linesThe Ottawa Senators odds took a nosedive in 2008-09 NHL betting, as the Sens missed the playoffs for the first time in over a decade. From a coaching switch to the Dany Heatley trade fiasco to a lack of reliable goaltending, nothing went right. Now, with a made-over roster and nowhere to go but up, are the Senators a sleeper pick to return to the playoffs?




Ottawa Senators Odds: Several long-standing team needs have been addressed

  • Michalek, Cheechoo and Kovalev replace Heatley, give Sens scoring depth
  • Blue line is so-so; special teams are a strength
  • Pascal Leclaire’s health could make or break Ottawa’s season


Ottawa Senators odds maker breakdown: OFFENSE
The knock on Ottawa since the lockout ended was that it was a one-line team. The Sens had Heatley, Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza...and the rest. Any team who shut down Line 1 shut down the Sens. Now, for the first time since the days of Martin Havlat, Alexei Yashin and Marian Hossa, the Sens have depth up front.

Alfredsson still has one or two good years left in him; Spezza isn’t anywhere close to a complete player but racks up points. Joining the fray are sniper Alex Kovalev, who’s as talented as any forward in the game when he feels like playing; newly acquired Milan Michalek, who matches his size with big-time speed; and Jonathan Cheechoo, who lost his former 50-goal touch but still drives hard to the net and is due for a rebound. Toss in Mike Fisher and Nick Foligno and the Sens suddenly have at least two good scoring lines.


Ottawa Senators odds maker breakdown: DEFENSE
For now, Ottawa’s blueline won’t wow any online betting fans, but it still has some capable bodies. Chris Phillips has lost a step but still eats minutes; Anton Volchenkov remains one of the sport’s best open-ice hitters when healthy, which is rarely; Filip Kuba lowers the boom from the point on the power play. The most intriguing defender is Erik Karlsson, a slick-skating prospect who could be an All-Star some day. If he makes the team, he could fill the puck-moving void Wade Redden left when he departed for New York.


Ottawa Senators odds maker breakdown: GOALTENDING
Pascal Leclaire’s health is a true wild card and it’s possible that his groin troubles will keep him from ever becoming an elite goalie. However, assuming he’s healthy to start the season, he puts Ottawa in a similar situation to that of the Chicago Bears in the NFL. Import Jay Cutler is arguably the best quarterback the Bears have ever had and it’s entirely possible that, talent-wise, Pascal Leclaire is the best goalie Ottawa’s ever had. (Sorry, Patrick Lalime.) Leclaire is more likely to find the IR than a Vezina Trophy this season, but he’s worth monitoring.


Ottawa Senators odds maker breakdown: SPECIAL TEAMS
For a non-playoff team, the Senators had solid special teams last season. They have enough skilled forwards to keep filling the net on the power play –Kovalev is a wizard with the man advantage – and the penalty kill should be solid, especially because of the speed Fisher and possibly Michalek provide on the back check.


Ottawa Senators odds maker breakdown: SEASON OUTLOOK
While the Sens won’t return to Stanley Cup contention overnight, they’ve addressed some key problems that plagued them for years and could get rewarded with a low playoff seed. At the very least, they’ll compete hard with Montreal, Toronto and Buffalo in the standings.


For full Ottawa Senators odds to win the Stanley Cup, check out our sportsbook. Also, keep reading Don Melrose’s sports betting analysis for everything to do with the NHL this season.

Don Melrose is betonline.com's hockey expert.

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