Ottawa Senators Should Have No Problem Returning To Playoffs Next Season

By Jonathan Katje
Senators Karlsson Playoffs
Marc DesRosiers – USA TODAY Sports

The Ottawa Senators may have bowed out of the 2013 postseason in a rather disappointing fashion, but with a talented and young core group of players they should have no trouble remaining a postseason contender for years to come. The Senators needed just five games to get past the Montreal Canadiens in the first round of the playoffs, but barely avoided being swept by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round. They may be a few pieces away from being able to get to the Stanley Cup Finals, but their perseverance throughout the season and strong performance in the first round of the playoffs shows they are one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference.

The Senators have one of the best defensemen in the league in Erik Karlsson, and as long as he stays healthy they may be even better next season. Goaltender Craig Anderson has experienced great success with the Senators as well, and has shown no signs of slowing down. The fact that the Senators reached the playoffs with both of those players sidelined for most of the season is incredible, and attests to how deep this team is. Young players like Mika Zibanejad, Jakob Silfverberg and Cory Conacher had great performances during the season, and should only continue to get better. Robin Lehner gives the team a solid backup to Anderson, while the return of Jared Cowen from injury puts things in great shape on the blue line. Jean-Gabriel Pageau had an amazing run throughout the playoffs, and could be one of the Senators’ most dangerous weapons next season. The Senators should have no trouble bouncing back from their second-round setback, and contending for the playoffs again next season as long as Karlsson and the rest of this group stick around.

Jonathan Katje is an NHL senior writer for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter or add him to your circles on Google Plus.

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