Making the cut
Korpisalo is expected to be the starter in goal, but Forsberg will be vying for playing time, too. The Senators are hoping they’ll push each other to another level of play. Ottawa’s top five defensemen seem set with Chychrun, Chabot, Sanderson, Artem Zub and Travis Hamonic but there’s a spot on the third pair that’s up for grabs. Erik Brannstrom and Jacob Bernard-Docker are the frontrunners.
Most intriguing addition
Forwards Vladimir Tarasenko and Dominik Kubalik each fits the bill here, especially after speedy forward Alex DeBrincat was traded to the Detroit Red Wings. But given the Senators' revolving door of goalies in recent seasons, the choice here is Korpisalo; indeed, all eyes will be on him to see if he’s the answer. Ottawa's five-year contractual commitment carries a measure of trust that he will be. The Senators were 20th in the NHL in goals against per game last season (3.29) and must cut down significantly on that in order to end their postseason dry spell. Korpisalo will have a big say in whether that happens.
Biggest potential surprise
Egor Sokolov was the leading scorer for Belleville of the American Hockey League last season with 59 points (21 goals, 38 assists) in 70 games and was voted most valuable player and man of the year by the team’s players and staff last season. The 23-year-old forward had two points (one goal, one assist) in a five-game stint with Ottawa and showed enough to exhibit his upside; he has the build (6-foot-3, 222 pounds) of an NHL power forward and uses that bulky frame to protect the puck in tight areas.
Ready to contribute
Ridly Greig looked comfortable in his first NHL opportunity last season, showing flashes of offensive creativity with nine points (two goals, seven assists) in 20 games with the Senators. Called up from Belleville after center Josh Norris had season-ending shoulder surgery, the 21-year-old was given a look as the second-line center between Claude Giroux and DeBrincat. With a regular third-line spot seemingly his, a spike in offensive production isn’t out of the question.
Sanderson, D (fantasy average draft position: 169.6) -- The 21-year-old defenseman signed an eight-year contract, which begins next season, after finishing second among NHL rookies at the position in assists (28), points (32) and power-play points (17; two goals, 15 assists) last season. He played mostly on the second power-play unit and will compete with fellow defensemen Chabot and Chychrun for exposure to high-scoring forwards Brady Tkachuk, Tim Stützle, Tarasenko, Giroux and Norris. -- Pete Jensen