Photo: Forward Curtis Lazar had a strong 2013-14 season, managing 41 goals in 58 WHL games. Lazar was picked 17th overall in the 2013 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
The lack of a first round selection in the 2014 NHL Draft hurt the Ottawa Senators, but the arrival of two forward prospects via trade helped generate some excitement. Acquired from the Dallas Stars as part of a package deal for Jason Spezza, OHL forward Nicholas Paul is a player on the rise, poised for a breakout year in 2014-15. Fellow new arrival Alex Guptill, on the other hand, is looking to rebound back to elite form after a forgettable final season with the Michigan Wolverines.
Photo: Defenseman Andreas Englund was one of three defensemen selected by the Ottawa Senators in the 2014 NHL Draft. The Senators picked Englund 40th overall. (courtesy of Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)
Prior to the NHL Draft, Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray possessed distinct, possibly incompatible priorities: trade Jason Spezza, and replace the 2014 first round pick which he dealt last summer in exchange for Bobby Ryan. The former happened days later in a deal that sent Spezza to the Dallas Stars, but the latter move never materialized.
Photo: The Buffalo Sabres added to their already deep draft pool with nine selections at the 2014 NHL Draft, including first round pick Sam Reinhart (L) and second round selection Brandon Lemieux (R) (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
The NHL's Western Conference currently has the bragging rights to league supremacy as a a result of the Los Angeles Kings five-game Stanley Cup final win over the New York Rangers. While the results from the 2014 NHL Draft may not alter the current lock the West has on the NHL's most prized trophy, at least one team in the Eastern Conference might be offering a ray of hope for the future.
Photo: The Ottawa Senators selected forward Curtis Lazar 17th overall in the 2013 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Aaron Bell/CHL Images)
The Ottawa Senators are in for another interesting, potentially franchise-altering offseason. Following former captain Daniel Alfredsson's footsteps last summer, the 2013-14 Senators captain Jason Spezza is likely on his way out. Two more top-six forwards, Ales Hemsky and Milan Michalek, might be following suit. With valuable assets to shop around, general manager Bryan Murray will remain busy leading up to the 2014 NHL draft.
Photo: Frolunda defenseman and Dallas Stars prospect John Klingberg has gotten a small taste of North American hockey the past couple of seasons, but will move to North America for the 2014-15 season (courtesy of Andrew Dieb/Icon SMI)
As the 2014 NHL Draft approaches, it is important to take note that the NHL is currently chock full of players hailing from Sweden. In particular, it would have been difficult to find many NHL rosters that lacked a Swede patrolling the blueline this past season.