This one is dedicated to my Senator-loving friend and colleague, Britton Gray.
The future is looking bright for the once Eastern Conference, bottom dwelling, Ottawa Senators. Whether you read off the fact that they are keeping a stable record of around .500 or, the fact that the Senators are currently sitting in a playoff position after being 20+ games into the season really doesn't make a difference. What any stat involving the standings will indicate, is that this team is clearly better than they have been as of the last few years, and they are only going to continue to improve. The rebuilding process has quite clearly been slow, but so far it has been effective. Players in the system the likes of Erik Karlsson and Mika Zibanejad are sure to be future stars in the league, while captains such as Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson will be the perfect leaders in showing these players how to carry the team when the time comes.
If you look at the youth within this lineup, there is no question that with a little experience and a few additions to the roster, the Senators will once again be a part of the elite in the Eastern Conference. Karlsson is 21, Rundblad is also 21, and Cowen is merely 20. Three very solid defensemen in their own right, that are only bound to improve. Along with the solid core defensively, comes the earlier mentioned forward, Mika Zibanejad who is only 18 years old. Though not part of the Senators lineup yet, the forward is very high-powered and he tends to be involved with most goals his line scores. The other key, bright star up front for the Senators is young Nick Foligno who is 24. Simple additions that could be made to help these boys lead the franchise forward comes up front, and in the crease. A few more forwards to kick-start this offense would be phenomenal. As well, a good young goaltender, possibly grabbed through the draft could make the Senators a team to be reckoned with.
Look to see these guys battling it out for first in the East with teams such as Boston, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia within the coming two or three years.