Photo: Defenseman Chris Wideman was one of many Senators prospects to ink an entry-level deal at the conclusion of his season. Expected to start 2012-13 in the AHL, Wideman brings a two-way puck-moving presence to the Ottawa organization. (Tim G. Zechar/Icon SMI)
As an organization, the Ottawa Senators were able to gain invaluable experience during the recent playoff season. The NHL club exceeded most predictions and made the playoffs in what was supposed to be a rebuilding season. Many observers credited a portion of their success to a core group of young players who played a major role in the Binghamton Senators championship run in the 2010-11 AHL playoffs.
Photo: Forward John Huberdeau is the top prospect for the Florida Panthers and one of the top forwards not currently playing hockey at the professional level. (Cliff Welch/Icon SMI)
Below is the final part of Hockey's Future's 2012 Spring Organizational Rankings. The rankings were determined by taking each NHL team's entire prospect pool into consideration as well as the likelihood those prospects are to meet their maximum potential. For reference, each team's top five prospects are included, as well as the players they have graduated, traded, or added to their pool over the 2011-12 season. To be eligible, a player must meet HF's prospect criteria. The rankings are done twice each season, in the fall and spring.
Photo: Ottawa Senators prospect Jim O'Brien has made steady progress since being drafted by the club in the first round of the 2007 NHL Draft (Jay Kopinski/Icon SMI)
The Ottawa Senators' inaugural prospect award winners are a telling mix of talent at varying stages of readiness, with as many as four players expected to make a push for an NHL roster spot next season. Of the recipients, up to eight could be in the professional ranks by October, a good reflection of the commitment the organization has made to build from within. Noticeably conspicuous by his absence, top ranked prospect Mika Zibanejad received serious consideration in four of these categories.
Will Schneekloth/Icon SMI)
With many wondering just how much longer Daniel Alfredsson will be lacing up his skates for the Ottawa Senators, it’s easy to understand that fans of the team are already clamoring for an heir apparent from Scandinavia’s biggest producer of NHL talent. One such candidate is Jakob Silfverberg, a player that Senators' GM Bryan Murray was ready to add to his NHL lineup last fall.
Photo: Defenseman Ben Blood is one of several NCAA prospects the Senators have signed over the past few weeks to an entry-level deal. (Photo courtesy of Brace Hemmelgarn/Icon SMI)
The Ottawa Senators continue to make extensive use of the NCAA and SEL to develop their young talent. This past season four of their prospects suited up in the top Swedish league and two of their blue chippers – Mike Zibanejad and Jakob Silfverberg – should push for roster spots in Ottawa next season.