At the point the NHL season was suspended March 12, the Ottawa Senators had allowed 243 goals, the second-most in the league, through 71 games. That's part of the reason they had only 62 points, the second-worst in the NHL.
However, the Senators appear set to be getting a defensive boost for next season.
According to TSN's Darren Dreger, Ottawa is expected to sign KHL defenseman Artyom Zub, a 24-year-old who is ready to leave SKA Saint Petersburg for the NHL. Dreger stated that Zub "has the potential to be a top-four shutdown" blueliner.
It's not a huge surprise that Zub has reportedly picked the Senators because they were one of the two teams that were on his final list, according to Dreger. However, it's unclear which other team he was considering. There had been rumors of Zub considering Ottawa for a while, and it appears the move will come to fruition.
Zub is coming off his best KHL season in his sixth year in the league. He had a career-high 22 points (13 goals and nine assists) in 57 games while posting a plus-minus of plus-35, which was the league's best record.
At the 2018 Winter Olympics, Zub had four assists in six games while helping the Olympic Athletes from Russia win the gold medal. He's also twice won World Championship bronze.
Although it's not clear how much the Senators will pay Zub, they should be in a good financial position this offseason. They have only $41.5 million of total cap allocations for the 2020-21 season, per Spotrac, so they should have some flexibility with how they fill out their roster.
Ottawa already has several of its top defensemen under contract for next season, with Thomas Chabot (39 points this season), Mike Reilly (12) and Nikita Zaitsev (12) all set to return. Ron Hainsey, who is 39, is set to be an unrestricted free agent this offseason, as is Mark Borowiecki.
By adding Zub, the Senators will have one less hole to fill on defense. His stats give hope that he could also give them better production than what they got from their defense this season.
Ottawa will still likely need to make other additions to get back on track; they have not made the playoffs since reaching the Eastern Conference Final in the 2016-17 season. Zub should provide a boost to one of its areas of need, which is a good start to an offseason that could also see them land the No. 1 pick in the draft.