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.
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.
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.
Nick Turchiaro/Icon SMI)
The NHL's Northeast Division produced two playoff teams and three clubs now busily planning tee times. With the 2011-12 season now in the books, it is time to grade the teams' of the Northeast on how they fared this past season.
It's been a turn-around season for the Ottawa Senators, with contributions coming from many of the young players who were core components of last year's Calder Cup champions. Perhaps no bigger contributor, both literally and figuratively, than Jared Cowen who just recently graduated after sitting on top of the Senators' prospect rankings for most of this season. Overall there is a good mix of prospects playing in the AHL, European leagues, CHL, and NCAA with a few making a case for a spot with the NHL club. With a few exceptions, the Senators' pool of emerging talent has improved and is on the expected time-line the organization has in place for their development.