Photo: Forward Cole Schneider is one of several forwards having a strong year for the Binghamton Senators. Schneider was signed as a free agent in 2012. (courtesy of Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images)
A little more than halfway through the 2013-14 NHL season, the Ottawa Senators are crowded at most positions. A number of forwards and defensemen are being evaluated as Ottawa tries to solidify its roster and push up the Eastern Conference standings.
Photo: Forward Matt Puempel is playing in his first season of professional hockey. Puempel is a sniper who was selected in the first round of the 2011 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
After several years of strong drafting by the Ottawa Senators, a healthy competition for a limited amount of NHL jobs has developed among their young players. A wealth of Swedish prospects, led by goalie Robin Lehner, has served Ottawa well in recent years. They also have several first round picks, including Cody Ceci and Curtis Lazar, who are on track to become impactful NHL players.
Photo: Now in his third year of professional hockey, Patrick Wiercioch has started to blossom into an offensive defenseman. Through 30 AHL games he has nine goals and nine assists. (Jay Kopinski/Icon SM)
In years past, Ottawa's AHL affiliate has been a mixed roster of AHL veterans, free agent signings, and draft picks. This is no longer the case. The Binghamton Senators are stacked with young talent and are among the youngest teams in the AHL.
Photo: Mark Borowiecki is one of several defensive prospects the Ottawa Senators have playing at the AHL level. (Tony Medina/Icon SMI)
The future of the Ottawa Senators looks bright. The Senators are considered to have one of the better pools of young talent in the NHL and, while some top draftees have recently cemented themselves on the Ottawa roster, most notably Erik Karlsson and Jared Cowen, there are many prospects on the verge of becoming solid NHL contributors in the near future. The club has quality and various skill-sets in all positions and has worked to draft where they previously had weak depth.
Photo: Forward Jakob Silfverberg is one of several Ottawa Senators prospects who will be vying for NHL time in 2012-13. (Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
With a surprise appearance in the Stanley Cup playoffs in 2011-12, the Ottawa Senators' rebuilding blueprint is starting to show signs of success. Competition for roster spots and ice time this coming season should be fierce as Jakob Silfverberg, Mark Borowiecki, and Jim O'Brien appear targeted to claim roster spots in Ottawa. Other prospects such as Mika Zibanejad and Robin Lehner should also push for full time spots in the NHL.