The Ottawa Senators continue to improve their roster, dipping into the free agent market to sign gifted scorer Evgeni Dadonov. Photo by @thehockeybear (Twitter).
- Ottawa Senators’ Stanley Cup odds remain at +10000 even after signing talented scorer Evgenii Dadonov
- With 25 goals last season for Florida, Dadonov ranked ninth among NHL right wings in scoring
- See complete 2021 Stanley Cup odds and analysis below
The Ottawa Senators’ aggressive efforts to improve their roster this season haven’t moved the needle when it comes to their Stanley Cup odds.
The Senators remained at +10000 in the Stanley Cup Odds Thursday even after signing Evgenii Dadonov, considered one of the most valuable scorers in the free-agent class. Ottawa will pay him an average of $5 million per season on a three-year contract. General manager Peter Dorion had previously acquired a new No. 1 goalie in Matt Murray, plus gritty forward Auston Watson and two serviceable defensemen in Erik Gudbranson and Josh Brown.
By comparison, the Sabres’ odds improved from +6000 to +5000 since they acquired Taylor Hall, considered the top scorer in the free-agent class.
The lack of movement on the odds speaks to how poorly the Senators played in 2019-20. In finishing 30th out of 31 teams with a 25-34-12 record, the Senators ranked 25th in offense (2.68 goals per game) and second-to-last in goals-against average (3.35 per game).
2021 Stanley Cup Odds
|Vegas Golden Knights||+750|
|Tampa Bay Lightning||+950|
|St. Louis Blues||+1800|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||+1900|
|New York Islanders||+2600|
|New York Rangers||+2600|
|Columbus Blue Jackets||+3800|
|San Jose Sharks||+4000|
|Los Angeles Kings||+5500|
|New Jersey Devils||+5500|
|Detroit Red Wings||+11000|
Odds taken Oct. 15 at FanDuel.
Dadonov was Mr. Consistency as a Florida Scorer
In his three full seasons with the Panthers, he scored 28, 28, and 25 goals. By comparison, Hall has only scored 28 goals once in his 10-year NHL career.
For another comparison, consider Mike Hoffman, the No. 2 scorer on the unrestricted free agent list, has 85 goals over the past three seasons and Dadonov scored 81. Hoffman still hasn’t signed yet.
At 5-11, 185, Dadonov is a smallish forward who won’t win a high percentage of physical puck battles. But he’s slick with the puck and he boasts an accurate, heavy shot. He has the instincts to find the soft areas in defensive coverage.
Only a $5-million AAV for Dadonov? Since he returned to NHL in 2017-18 he’s 11th among RW in points (between Laine and Radulov).
Talk about getting squeezed by the flat-cap market. A steal for Ottawa.
— Matt Larkin (@THNMattLarkin) October 15, 2020
Brady Tkachuk Could End Up with Dadonov on His Line
The Senators only had three players score 20 or more goals last season, and two of them, Jean-Gabriel Pageau (traded to New York Islanders) and Anthony Duclair (not given a qualifying offer) aren’t on the team anymore.
Skilled, gritty left wing Brady Tkachuk is the leading returning scorer (21-23–44) is the leading returning scorer and it makes sense to use left-shooting right-wing Dadonov with him. Josh Norris might be the center on that line.
Even with the addition of Dadonov, the Senators still project to be a below average scoring team.
Evgeny Dadonov (3x5m with Ottawa) is a good play-driver and a very good finisher. Power-play creation not great, penalty differential good if quiet. A great signing, the sort that I didn’t think the Senators were going to make in the next half-decade. pic.twitter.com/3vhLwpzf8G
— Micah Blake McCurdy (@IneffectiveMath) October 15, 2020
Senators Could Improve More, But Won’t
According to CapFriendly.com, the Senators have the NHL’s lowest payroll today. That isn’t likely to change. The Senators have more than $21 million in cap space remaining. But owner Eugene Melnyk isn’t going to sign off on Dorion going on a spending spree to sign the most talented players still in the free-agent marketplace.
Welcome to Ottawa, Evgenii! pic.twitter.com/8kIrczuF5J
— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) October 15, 2020
The Senators might add another player or two, but they aren’t going to move too far away from the floor of the salary cap. Melnyk, unpopular with the Senators’ fan base, is watching every expenditure these days. It doesn’t help that if the NHL can’t bring fans into the arenas, teams are going to lose plenty of money.
When you consider how well this offseason went, Dorion is doing a masterful job in his rebuilding effort. But it is still a long-term project.
2021 NHL Eastern and Western Conference Title Odds Tracker
The addition of Dadonov is a good move by the Senators. But it doesn’t magically transform them into a playoff team. As it stands now, the Senators are still closer to the bottom than they are the top.
Kevin Allen has covered most major events, including the Olympics, Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Finals and Stanley Cup Final. He covered the NHL for USA Today from 1986-2020, receiving the Lester Patrick Award in 2013 and was honored by the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2014 with the Elmer Ferguson Award.