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Around The NHL In 30 Days: Senators Look To Future

The writers here at the FanSided Sports Network are now on day twenty of our NHL season preview. I’d like you to skate over to each of our sites daily and see what our talented hockey writers have to say about their teams’ upcoming season. Remember, we’re all fans and we have high expectations for our team, and previews are what they are…..previews. It will be interesting to see what the gang here has to say about their respective clubs. Will the Washington Capitals finally challenge for the Cup, what will happen to the Boston Bruins as they try to defend their championship, and can the Vancouver Canucks survive the “heartbreak” of losing in the Finals without tearing up their city….again.

Today, Fansided’s Senshot editor Tony Mendes takes a look at how his beloved Ottawa Senators will fare this season.

The 2010-11 season was a rough one in Canada’s capital. The Senators went from posting 94 points (good for 5th in the Eastern Conference) the season before, to 74 (good for 13th in the East, two points from 15th) this past season. A slew of injuries to key players (Jason Spezza, and captain Daniel Alfredsson among them), ineffective coaching and poor goaltending doomed the Sens campaign. After the frustration of last season, the Senators employed a strategy that Florida Panthers fans are familiar with in the the short time Dale Tallon has been GM:

When the organization decided to rebuild the Ottawa franchise, the plan was to rebuild the team through the draft and develop their own stars. With GM Bryan Murray and Assistant GM Tim Murray known for their drafting records, many believed the team was going in the right direction. With 12 draft picks heading into the draft, Ottawa had the assets to make some moves and help set the franchise up for the future.

At the draft, Ottawa nabbed three first round picks in Mika Zibanejad, Stefan Noesen and Matt Puempel. In total, Ottawa drafted ten prospects and had a very successful draft. Also at the draft, Ottawa traded for the highly skilled Nikita Filatov from Columbus.

Zibanejad was a guy I previewed here at The Rat Trick when we did our draft preview, and I loved what I was reading and hearing about it, so it’s no surprise that he’s impressing in Ottawa’s training camp. If he fulfills his potential, their rebuild will be much smoother.

I expect it to be another rough year. But the fan base, like Panther fans, can cling to the hope that the team is on the right track and the bad times will be short lived. Many publications and prognosticators are predicting (sorry for the alliteration) that the Sens will finish last in the Eastern Conference, which should put them in the bottom 2-3 in the league. And while that’s a grim thought starting an 82 game season in the face, the top draft pick that it would bring is another way to accelerate a rebuild.

You can read Tony’s full Ottawa preview here.

Thanks for reading! Any and all comments are greatly appreciated.

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