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Strengths: The Senators are the closest to the Bruins as far as the other teams go. The Senators have a puck carrying defense that can also be heavy and tough in their own end. Erik Karlsson led the charge this year offensively, amassing 78 points. He is a great setup man with a nice wrist shot, coupled with a strong slap shot. He has a natural ability to get the puck through, a necessity in a shot-blocking NHL. They have a superstar in Jason Spezza, a solid goalie in Craig Anderson, and a great leader in Daniel Alfredsson. Make no mistake, the Sens are very good. They will also be joined by Mika Zibanejad this year, and he is a very talented young player.
Fatal Flaw: The Senators have good defenseman who are heavy in the defensive zone. However, Erik Karlsson is not one of them. Karlsson has seemed unwilling to engage in physical play and has gained a well-earned reputation for being soft on opposing forwards. He needs to get better defensively for the Senators to reach their full potential. Their forwards are decent, but their offense is reliant on Kyle Turris, Daniel Alfredsson, and Jason Spezza. If they can be shut down, then the Bruins will easily beat the Senators.
Threat Level: 8
The Senators have a strong offense as it is, and adding Mika Zibanejad will only add to that. They've proved they can get under the Bruins' skin, and that has thrown the Bruins off in the past. The Senators are the Bruins biggest challenge this year as far as the Northeast Division, and the battle for supremacy will be a full season affair.
Expect these two juggernauts to battle out a close division race.