Now that the Ottawa Senators have grown into a much better team than in recent seasons, there are many names worth taking a look at to select for your fantasy hockey team.
Whether it’s a points league or head-to-head, these players bring plenty of value to the table and should be on a roster by the end of your draft. Here, I will justify why each player is ranked where they are, my thoughts on their projected season, and where I would suggest drafting them.
Goals, assists, points, hits, shots, shots blocked, and faceoffs won are the main stats utilized for skaters, while wins, goals-against average (GAA), save percentage (SV%), and shutouts are the goaltending stats we’ll refer to.
#1 – Brady Tkachuk, LW
Brady Tkachuk is one of the most valuable players in fantasy hockey. He doesn’t score an enormous amount of points, but he has developed into a point-per-game player that has a perfectly balanced game for any fantasy league. He had 35 goals and 83 points in 2022-23, but his hits (242), shots (347) and faceoffs won (370) are all significant assets on any fantasy roster.
Taking Tkachuk high in your draft might be considered biased if you follow the Senators, but he is in the conversation to be the top left-winger picked, even above players like his brother Matthew Tkachuk and Jason Robertson. Taking him late in the first round would make sense given the balance he will bring to your roster.
#2 – Tim Stutzle, C/LW
Many will argue that Tim Stutzle should be the first player off the board from Ottawa, and while there is a very good argument for that, given his offensive talents, he sits close behind Tkachuk for me. After a massive breakout campaign with 39 goals and 90 points, Stutzle mentioned on the 32 Thoughts podcast that he is eager to win and wants to dominate. Expect him to take another big step this season and crack 100 points.
If you have a lot of confidence in Stutzle, selecting him around the 20th pick would be a good place to do so. Even just based on last season, the top 30 picks should include Stutzle, even if he was to just replicate last season.
#3 – Claude Giroux, RW/C
Claude Giroux is 35 years old and just set a career-high of 35 goals in 2022-23, and his 79-point campaign was very impressive. He was a fantastic signing by the Senators and worked really well with Stutzle and Tkachuk. Where Giroux will play in the lineup is not set in stone, as Vladimir Tarasenko might take his place. Still, he will be slotted in next to talented players and can be a huge factor in the success of his line.
While Giroux isn’t likely to set a career-high in goals again, he could have a pretty similar season in 2023-24. A realistic expectation for Giroux would be flirting with 30 goals and 70 points. If you are looking to add Giroux to your lineup, you might be able to wait a bit longer and pick him up around 65-70. He might fall even lower than that, but if he is one of your targets, this is a safe place to make your pick.
#4 – Josh Norris, C
Health is going to be a big factor for Josh Norris this season. He might be a risky pick, but he is eager to get back to the game and make an impact. After a 35-goal campaign in 2021-22, Norris missed all but eight games last season. Expectations are high for his return, as the team will look for him to bring balance back to the top-six. His lethal shot was missed last season, and the hope is that he picks up where he left off two seasons ago.
If he stays healthy and returns to form, he deserves to be the fourth Senator off the board. Despite the risk, he could pan out to be a really good bet around the 80th pick but might go off the board earlier than that if someone in your draft has faith in his shoulder staying together.
#5 – Thomas Chabot, D
After what many called a down season, Thomas Chabot has the potential to have his best season to date. His workload is expected to lighten up with very capable defensemen Jake Sanderson and Jakob Chychrun able to take some minutes from him. The team is improved and should have the puck more, resulting in less offensive pressure from the opposition. Chabot has not reached the Norris-caliber season many expected after a 55-point sophomore campaign, but he is still young and has time to get back to a place where those are realistic expectations.
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Expected to play with Chychrun, Chabot will remain on the top pair and likely the top power play as well. Chychrun is great defensively and will be the best partner Chabot has played with in his career, which should result in a bit more offensive freedom for him, and his point totals could go up. Taking him anywhere from 100-115 will be a safe bet.
#6 – Drake Batherson, RW
Drake Batherson, like Chabot, was criticized and said to have had a down season in 2022-23 when he finished with 22 goals and 62 points in 82 games. His play away from the puck was questionable, but for the first 60-ish games of the season, Batherson was still feeling the lingering effects of his high-ankle sprain that ended his season in 2021-22. He was on track to be a point-per-game player in that season, so expectations were high heading into last season.
In 2023-24, Batherson’s offence could land somewhere between his previous two seasons’ totals. If he can score 25 goals and 70 points, that would be a very successful season. He is most likely to line up with Norris and Giroux on the second line, which will also help, as the line of Alex DeBrincat and Shane Pinto wasn’t doing Batherson any favours. I expect him to go right around the same spot as Chabot. The two could be interchangeable on this list, but I think he will go just a few picks after Chabot.
#7 – Vladimir Tarasenko, RW
Tarasenko is coming off of a down year by his standards. He started slow with the St. Louis Blues last season, and that could be a big factor in his overall stats, but even after he was traded to the New York Rangers, he didn’t produce at the level many expected. Could that be due to how much star power the Rangers had? Sure, but he used to be able to take over and dominate a game, and this will be a great opportunity for him to prove he can still do that.
Tarasenko is by far the toughest player to judge where he will land in a draft. Just two seasons ago, Tarasenko registered 34 goals and 82 points in 75 games. Like Batherson, I expect Tarasenko to land somewhere in the middle of his last two seasons. It would be fantastic if he could be a 25-goal scorer for the Sens, but there is a chance that last season was a sign of regression. He will be in the same tier as Batherson and Chabot, but closer to the bottom of that group. I would be comfortable taking Tarasenko around the 135th pick.
#8 – Jakob Chychrun, D
The biggest factor here is health.
Chychrun is a very capable two-way defenseman who can score goals and points. In the 56-game shortened season in 2020-21, Chychrun scored 18 goals. That is a very impressive stat, but it’s also the only full season that he has played. He averages 55 games a season, and for that reason, he may go a lot lower than he would if he could stay healthy. Having a player like Chychrun, who treats his body like a temple, be so injury-prone is frustrating for him, the team and the fanbase. If he can stay healthy, I have no doubt he could be a consistent 60-point player.
Just because we are talking about fantasy hockey doesn’t mean we are living in fantasyland. Chychrun’s average of 55 games per season isn’t enough to rely on for your fantasy team. With that being said, he is still worth taking later in the draft, as he could turn out to be extremely valuable if he plays a lot. Taking him around the 130th pick would be a good balance of risk and reward in terms of his play and his health.
#9 – Dominik Kubalik, LW
Dominik Kubalik is a pretty consistent player that can be relied on for close to 20 goals and 40 points most seasons. A depth player who can score 20 goals for your fantasy team is valuable, and while obviously, he isn’t worth a super high pick, his goals, points, shots and hits make him a well-rounded fantasy asset.
Everybody has their preferences when drafting, but having a player who chips in on every stat is very useful. Kubalik should be one of your later picks, roughly around 180th.
#10 – Jake Sanderson – D
In the same range as Kubalik, Sanderson would be a great pick. There are plenty of offensive-minded defensemen, who will be taken ahead of him, but Sanderson has the potential to land around 40 points, a high plus-minus with good hits and blocks. Some may look for a bigger breakout season, but playing behind the other two defensemen mentioned here might make it tough for him to get the opportunity to showcase himself as an offensively capable defender.
Honourable Mention: Shane Pinto, Joonas Korpisalo
As I stated, everybody has their preference. Depending on how you are drafting your team, you may want to change the order, but as a general guide, if you are looking to pick up a Senator, this is a great reference point.