The Ottawa Senators are an up and coming club in the Eastern Conference, with a solid young core and a solid mix of veteran talent. They cruised through the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs before hitting a wall against the top seed in the East in the second round. The goal for next year is to get back into the postseason, perhaps just a little deeper.
No one is expecting the Senators to go out and contend for a Stanley Cup next season. They have a loaded farm system, but it’s going to take a bit of time for that to develop. The hopes for next year, whatever they might be, rest heavily on the shoulders of center Jason Spezza.
Spezza played in only five regular season games for the Sens before he was forced to undergo back surgery. Prior to the surgery, he was off to a terrific start, with points in each of the five games he appeared in. Not really a surprise, given that he was coming off of one of the best offensive seasons of his career, with 84 points in 80 games.
Though he would return for the final three games of Ottawa’s postseason, Spezza wasn’t nearly as effective as he could have been if he was completely healthy. He played playoff hockey with a torn meniscus. His presence was a boost, but it wasn’t big enough to change their playoff fortunes.
Spezza is no strange to injury. Prior to playing in 80 games last year, the previous two seasons had seen Spezza play in a combined 122 games. If the Senators are going to contend, and seriously this time, next year, they need Jason Spezza in the lineup and completely healthy. With a full summer to rest up, there’s no reason he shouldn’t be.