The 2023-24 NHL season starts Oct. 10. With training camps underway, is taking a look at the three keys, the inside scoop on roster questions, and the projected lineup for each of the 32 teams. Today, the Ottawa Senators.

Coach: D.J. Smith (fifth season)

Last season: 39-35-8, sixth place in Atlantic Division; failed to qualify for Stanley Cup Playoffs


1. New owner, new vibe, new winning era?

The purchase of the Senators by a group led by Toronto-based businessman Michael Andlauer has fueled optimism throughout the organization and the city about the team's future. Talk of the franchise potentially moving to a still-to-be-built downtown arena has injected an air of excitement in a fan base that hasn’t seen Ottawa reach the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2017. Does on-ice success come with off-ice stability? That remains to be seen.

2. Crease consistency

Since the Senators last qualified for the postseason, the likes of Craig Anderson, Filip Gustavsson, Matt Murray, Anton Forsberg and Cam Talbot are among those given a shot to be the No. 1 goalie and lead Ottawa back to the playoffs. This season, that opportunity goes to Joonas Korpisalo, who signed a five-year contract July 1. The 29-year-old was 18-14-4 with a 2.87 goals-against average, .915 save percentage and one shutout in 39 games (37 starts) for the Columbus Blue Jackets and Los Angeles Kings last season. He’ll get the first crack to be the starter and will look to help the Senators end their six-year playoff drought.

3. The Chychrun factor

On March 1, the Senators acquired Jakob Chychrun in a trade with the Arizona Coyotes for a conditional first-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft, a conditional second-round pick in 2024 and another second-round pick in 2026. The 25-year-old was considered the top defenseman on the market ahead of the 2023 NHL trade deadline and it was Ottawa that won the sweepstakes for him, beating out a number of teams for his services. His arrival allowed Thomas Chabot's minutes to be whittled down and took some of the pressure off 21-year-old defenseman Jake Sanderson. With Chychrun set to begin his first full season with the Senators, Ottawa has its deepest group of defensemen in years.

NHL Tonight talks Ottawa Senator's offseason outlook


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.

Fantasy focus

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


Brady Tkachuk -- Tim Stutzle -- Claude Giroux

Vladimir Tarasenko -- Josh Norris -- Drake Batherson

Ridly Greig -- Shane Pinto -- Dominik Kubalik

Mathieu Joseph -- Mark Kastelic -- Zack MacEwen

Thomas Chabot -- Jakob Chychrun

Jake Sanderson -- Artem Zub

Erik Brannstrom -- Travis Hamonic

Joonas Korpisalo

Anton Forsberg