The way in which the Ottawa Senators were eliminated from the playoffs was a painful one. After cruising through the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Sens looked like they were going to put up quite the fight for the top seeded Pittsburgh Penguins. That didn’t happen, as they were easily dispatched of by the no. 1 seed in the East.
But that doesn’t mean there is any shortage of optimism for this organization. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Heading into next year and beyond, this is a Senators team that is more well built than most teams throughout the league. With a savvy front office and the right people in place to develop their young talent, this team isn’t far off from being a power in the East.
There are already pieces in place for this team. You obviously have the key veterans like Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek, as well as the captain Daniel Alfredsson if he chooses to return. Kyle Turris and Erik Karlsson represent part of the young core of this team that is coming together.
This is a Senators roster that currently boasts 12 players that are the age of 25 or younger. And more are on the way. The likes of Mika Zibanejad and Jakob Silfverberg have only had their first taste of the NHL. Cory Conacher will put up more points in his first full season in Ottawa.
The Senators have drafted extremely well over the last several years. Stefan Noesen and Matt Puempel represent two more players coming up through the ranks that could make an impact soon. They have players like Jean-Gabriel Pageau that could contribute more than anyone had thought.
Ottawa may not be a Stanley Cup threat next season. Their playoff season may look awfully similar to the end result this year. But they have the young talent currently on the roster and coming up through the system. They have some solid role players in place. We haven’t even mentioned the goaltending.
Bottom line: this is a team that is going to be very dangerous in the future. Their playoff loss, as disappointing as it was, doesn’t change anything about that.