Is Dion Phaneuf the man to inspire Ottawa Senators to the postseason?

The Ottawa Senators have struggled to build any serious momentum throughout the opening stages of the season and really needed to make some form of change in order to get their season back on track.

While there weren’t many calls for a managerial switch-up, a trade was welcomed and the Senators managed to acquire experienced defenseman Dion Phaneuf from the Toronto Maple Leafs as part of a five-man switch. Not only are the Ottawa fans excited to see just what he can do on the ice but his gritty determination and desire to win should have a positive effect on the entire locker room.


As of 12th February, Ottawa have their work cut out to reach the playoffs but they are capable of going on a good run – especially following the added confidence boost from the Phaneuf trade. According to Bet365 NHL betting markets, Ottawa are 33/1 to win the Stanley Cup this season and if they are going to achieve their ultimate goal, Phaneuf will be central to their chances.
Although they aren’t quite genuine contenders just yet, Ottawa will stand a brilliant chance of earning a few shock wins if they tighten up their defense – and that’s where Phaneuf’s impact on the ice will be crucial. After making such a bold move midway through the season, the former Toronto man must now repay the faith that the Senators have shown in him.
Ultimately, the Senators have put all their eggs in one basket with this trade. They allowed three relatively experienced NHL players to leave in order to get Phaneuf and also received a number of unknowns. In fact, Matt Frattin and Casey Bailey – two of the five players to join Ottawa – combined for just 15 games and one goal for Toronto last season. If Phaneuf flops, they’ve risked it all for very little gain.

However, his upside is huge. In his last 51 NHL games, Phaneuf has racked up 24 points – an impressive total considering he’s a defensive player. Ottawa will like his aggression and ability in attack, as well as his reliability and organization in defense. Unfortunately, he was unable to help his new side to victory on his Senators debut as they  but he showed enough to impress a few of the Ottawa supporters in attendance.


Ottawa October 21 Hockey Night In Canada” (CC BY 2.0) by  Adam Kahtava
The Atlantic Division is certainly there for the taking if Ottawa put a good run together. While the Florida Panthers have a decent cushion at the top, the following five sides are separated by just a handful of points. The Senators are not a bad side and, although they have won just four of their last ten fixtures, they will come good eventually. And when they do, their rivals had better watch out.

So, will Phaneuf make a difference at Ottawa and can he lead them to the postseason? Well, he will definitely make a difference. His versatility and leadership qualities may prove useful throughout the campaign, especially if they manage to sneak a playoff spot. Will they make the playoffs? It’s almost impossible to call. If they do, they will have done it the hard way but the decision to bring Phaneuf in will almost certainly be regarded as the turning point in their season.

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