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Tarasenko’s addition to Ottawa may not be enough to make the playoffs

It’s no secret that the NHL’s Atlantic Division is packed with powerful clubs.

The Boston Bruins, who enjoyed an excellent 2022-2023 season, the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Tampa Bay Lightning are all major contenders.

Although the Bruins lost captain Patrice Bergeron, who recently announced his retirement, the team can count on two very good goaltenders as well as other star players.

Linus Ullmark is coming off a dream season and Jeremy Swayman, when he finds out his salary following arbitration, is a very promising young goalie who did very well last year.

Apart from these three clubs, the Florida Panthers are not to be overlooked. Although they narrowly missed out on the playoffs, they made it to the Stanley Cup Grand Final.

Already, we’re down to four contenders. Boston, however, could lose a lot of hair and even be left out of the playoffs. That would be a major surprise, but the other clubs in the division are young and have plenty of potential to make the playoffs.

We can rule the Montreal Canadiens out of the playoff race right now, but the Detroit Red Wings, Buffalo Sabres and Ottawa Senators are hungry for the spot.

Detroit has added the talented Alex DeBrincat, who can certainly breathe new life into the Wings’ attack. However, the team lacks depth up front, and although they can count on Moritz Seider on defense, the rest of the defensive brigade isn’t very scary.

In my opinion, Detroit can be excluded from the spring dance too.

Ottawa lost DeBrincat in a major trade between the Sens and Wings, but received Domonik Kubalik in return, as well as a prospect and a 1st and 4th round pick.

Ottawa’s attacking top-6 is excellent, with players like Tim Stützle, Drake Batherson, Brady Tkachuk and Claude Giroux.

As you can see from the line-up above, the defensive brigade is very good, especially on the left, with young Jake Sanderson, Thomas Chabot and Jakob Chychrun.

Erik Brännström is a talented young defenseman who is slow to establish himself as a good offensive defenseman, but at 23, this could be his breakout year.

The fact remains that the depth, especially in attack but also in defence, is a little frightening.

Not to mention the fact that Joonas Korpisalo and Anton Forsberg don’t make one hell of a tandem in front of goal.

It’s pretty hard to see the Senators sneaking into the playoffs next year with the powers that be in this division.

Five of the eight teams qualifying in the East would have to be in the Atlantic, which could very well happen, or there could be a surprise, like Boston missing the playoffs without its captain.

Then there’s the young Buffalo Sabres, who have one of the NHL’s finest prospect banks, with some of these young talents already in the line-up.

Buffalo can count on its star forward, Tage Thompson, as well as Rasmus Dahlin and Owen Power on defense.

In addition to these elite players, the Sabres can also count on the services of Jeff Skinner, Dylan Cozens, Alex Tuch, Victor Olofsson, Peyton Krebs and Mattias Samuelsson. Youngsters Jiri Kulich and Matthew Savoie could also make the team.

In short, Buffalo will be one to watch next year, and the chances of seeing the Senators in the playoffs in 2024 remain pretty slim.

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