Senators bolster defensemen with additions of Holden, Del Zotto

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After the NHL Draft, free agency and other offseason moves, NHL.com is examining where each team stands in preparation for the 2021-22 regular season, which starts Oct. 12. Today, the Ottawa Senators:

2020-21 season: 23-28-5, sixth in Scotia North Division; did not qualify for Stanley Cup Playoffs

Key arrivals

Nick Holden, D: The 34-year-old was acquired in a trade with the Vegas Golden Knights, along with a third-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft, for forward Evgenii Dadonov on July 28. Holden had two assists in 17 regular-season games and scored seven points (two goals, five assists) in 15 Stanley Cup Playoff games last season. … Michael Del Zotto, D: The 31-year-old signed a two-year contract July 28 after scoring 13 points (four goals, nine assists) in 53 games with the Columbus Blue Jackets last season. … Pierre McGuire, Senior Vice President of Player Development: The 60-year-old spent the past 25 years as a TV commentator with TSN and NBC. He last worked for an NHL team as an assistant with the Senators in 1995-96.

Key departures

Evgenii Dadonov, F: He was traded to the Golden Knights after scoring 20 points (13 goals, seven assists) in 55 games last season. … Derek Stepan, F: He signed a one-year contract with the Carolina Hurricanes on July 31 after scoring six points (one goal, five assists) in 20 games last season. … Artem Anisimov, F: He’s an unrestricted free agent after scoring nine points (two goals, seven assists) in 19 games last season. … Ryan Dzingel, F: He signed a one-year contract with the Arizona Coyotes on July 28 after scoring 13 points (eight goals, five assists) in 40 games with the Senators and Hurricanes last season. … Marcus Hogberg, G: He signed a four-year contract with Linköping HC of the Swedish Hockey League on June 17. Hogberg was 4-7-0 with a 3.74 goals-against average and .876 save percentage in 14 games (10 starts) last season. … Joey Daccord, G: He was selected by the Seattle Kraken in the NHL Expansion Draft on July 21. Daccord was 1-3-1 with a 3.27 GAA and .897 save percentage in eight games (six starts) last season.

 

[RELATED: Complete Team Reset coverage]

 

On the cusp

Shane Pinto, F: A second-round pick (No. 32) pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, the 20-year-old scored seven points (one goal, six assists) in 12 games after signing a three-year, entry-level contract April 1. Pinto scored scored 32 points (15 goals, 17 assists) in 28 games with the University of North Dakota. … Jacob Bernard-Docker, D: The 21-year-old, who was the No. 26 pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, signed a three-year, entry-level contract April 1 and averaged 13:40 of ice time in five NHL games last season. He scored 18 points (three goals, 15 assists) in 27 games for North Dakota.

What they still need

Veteran depth at center. The departures of Anisimov and Stepan make the Senators thin down the middle. Pinto provides skill at the position if he’s in the NHL, but would be another young center on the roster.

They said it

“I think you can never have too many defensemen. I think a lot of these guys can play right side, left side. We know that defensemen go down fast. If this is the group that we come to camp with (including Holden and Del Zotto), I think we’re ahead of where we were last year.” — general manager Pierre Dorion

Fantasy focus

Left wing Brady Tkachuk ranked second in the NHL in hits (248; behind Radko Gudas‘ 250) and shots on goal (220; behind Auston Matthews‘ 222) last season. In addition to that elite category coverage (rivaled only by Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin), Tkachuk has had a consistent points per game average (0.64 last season, 0.62 in 2019-20, 0.63 in 2018-19) in his three NHL seasons for the Senators. Tkachuk, who has room for further improvement with fantasy sleeper linemates Josh Norris and Drake Batherson, is among the 15 most valuable players in standard leagues and 10 best in multicategory keeper or dynasty leagues. — Pete Jensen

Video: MTL@OTT: Tkachuk nets Norris’ feed for goal in close

Projected lineup

Brady Tkachuk — Josh Norris — Drake Batherson

Tim Stutzle — Shane Pinto — Josh Brown

Nick PaulLogan BrownColin White

Alex FormentonChris TierneyAustin Watson

Thomas ChabotNikita Zaitsev

Michael Del Zotto — Artem Zub

Nick Holden — Erik Brannstrom

Matt Murray

Anton Forsberg

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