3 Keys To 2013-14 Success: Ottawa Senators

1297449794157_ORIGINALAs one of Canada’s seven NHL teams, the Ottawa Senators always have a lot of pressure on them.

Fans in Canada are extremely passionate about the game, to say the least, and the fans in the Ottawa market are very knowledgeable. There is no other big league sport in town, so the Senators get all the attention.

This year will be no different, as the team enters the post Daniel Alfredsson era, as their long time captain left for Detroit via free agency in the summer. But there’s reason for hope in the capital, from Erik Karlsson’s continuing emergence as an impact player to the arrival of prolific scorer Bobby Ryan from the Anaheim Ducks.

What do the Sens need to do to succeed this season?

Odds To Win Stanley Cup: 30/1

Key #1: Bobby Ryan must make fans forget Daniel Alfredsson

Though their respective movements in and out of Ottawa were not directly related, there will be a lot of comparison between the departing Alfredsson and the newly acquired Ryan. Alfie was the face of the Senators for nearly two decades, and has been one of the game’s best leaders during that time. His decision to leave Ottawa as a free agent has not gone over well with a lot of Senators fans, and even some members of the organization who believe his departure wasn’t handled well. Regardless, he is gone, and soon after the Sens made the bold move of trading for Ryan, a much younger player who is a proven scorer. Emotion may cloud the issue, but the Senators could very well be better off with Ryan, who is entering his prime. He needs to prove that’s the case this season.

Key #2: A career year from Jason Spezza

With Alfie gone, the Senators are truly Jason Spezza’s team. Believed to be a superstar in waiting from the time he was drafted, Spezza has mostly fulfilled those expectations in his career thus far, but he’s never been a clear choice for the top 5 or top 10 skaters in the league. He has also never been the go to guy on the Senators, with big name players like Alfredsson and Dany Heatley often standing in the spotlight. That has changed now, and Spezza needs to bounce back from an injury-shortened season and prove he is truly one of the game’s elite.

Key #3: Craig Anderson must cement his top tier status

Saying Craig Anderson is a well-traveled goaltender is a bit of an understatement. A glance at his CV shows that he has been across the league with different teams more than once. But he never really got a chance to shine until his days with the Colorado Avalanche, and then with the Senators. Last year especially he was one of the game’s top goalies, but can he do it over a full season in the Ottawa pressure cooker?

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