We can pinpoint several moments this season where the Ottawa Senators thought it could get this ugly. The Canadian team currently sits 29th in the League overall with a 10-13-7 record.
When they started off the season, after almost making it to the Cup Finals last spring, fans and Sens management could never imagine they'd land it close to halfway in the campaign. Probably the same thing happened when they made the blockbuster trade for Matt Duchene, shipping out picks, prospects and Kyle Turris in the process.
But now, the Senators not only face an uphill battle to return to playoff contention - they also face quite the conundrum following that major trade.
“You look at Ottawa. They make that deal with Duchene, and there’s no way they think their first-rounder this year is going to matter. And all of the sudden you’re sitting there and you’re saying, ‘Thank God our first round pick is Top 10-protected,’" explained NHL Insider Elliotte Friedman on Calgary's Sportsnet 960 on Friday.
“But if they don’t give Colorado their first-round pick this year, they’ve got to give it up next year with no protection. So now all of the sudden you’re sitting here, you’re like, ‘We’re 29th in the league. We’ll probably get to keep our first-rounder this year, but if we really tear it down, we risk giving up a high pick the next year.’
“Look at what you’re staring at if you’re the Senators with that pick, and that’s a pick all of the sudden – you don’t think you’re going to need it, but now you’re like, ‘Oh my God, we’re really going to need it.’"
We would like to know how Sens management feels about this problem. Like we said, no one expected this...