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Senators' young talent will force roster decisions

Thursday, 08.23.2012 / 10:08 AM ET / Features
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Senators\' young talent will force roster decisions
NHL.com presents a its take on how the Senators\' lineup might look in 2012-13.

If the Florida Panthers weren't the most surprising team in the NHL last season, then it was certainly the Ottawa Senators, a club that was supposed to be rebuilding and expected to languish near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings.

Instead, the Senators ended up in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and they pushed the top-seeded New York Rangers to seven games in the first round. The majority of the key figures are back, and more help from the farm system could be on the way.

Ottawa replaced top-pairing defenseman Filip Kuba with Marc Methot. After dealing top-six forward Nick Foligno to get Methot, he was replaced by Guillame Latendresse on a one-year deal. Defenseman Matt Carkner signed a three-year contract with the New York Islanders, and Mike Lundin was acquired to replace him on a more team-friendly deal. The remaining position battles in training camp will depend on the readiness of a few top prospects.

Like the Panthers, the Senators will have to prove their work last season was not that of a one-hit wonder, but contributions from new young players and improvements from the established young guys could help Ottawa challenge the Boston Bruins and Buffalo Sabres for the top spot in the Northeast Division.

Forwards

Milan Michalek - Jason Spezza - Jakob Silfverberg

Guillaume Latendresse - Kyle Turris - Daniel Alfredsson

Colin Greening - Jim O'Brien - Mika Zibanejad

Erik Condra - Zack Smith - Chris Neil

Peter Regin

Defenseman

Marc Methot - Erik Karlsson

Sergei Gonchar - Jared Cowen

Mike Lundin - Chris Phillips

Mark Borowiecki

Goaltenders

Craig Anderson

Ben Bishop

NOTES: Murray told NHL.com that Silfverberg, Zibanejad and Mark Stone could all compete for a chance to knock Greening from a spot on the top line and back to a more natural fit on the third unit. It looks like there are two spots at most open for those three, so Stone could end up back in Binghamton to start the year.

Neil had his best offensive season in years, but the new guys could force him and Smith into smaller roles -- Smith would do well to improve his faceoff percentage if he wants to not be in danger of being scratched some nights. If those kids are ready, it does start to get crowded at the bottom of the Senators' forward group. Regin and Condra have been regulars, and Kaspars Daugavins was last season. That's 15 guys, without counting Mike Hoffman or Stephane Da Costa, who could also be in the mix with a strong camp.

If Methot slides into Kuba's spot, the Senators' defense corps is set, with Borowiecki and Patrick Wiercioch likely to battle for the final spot on the roster. A more interesting duel will be between Bishop and Robin Lehner to backup Anderson. Both could see starts in the NHL this season.

Follow Corey Masisak on Twitter: @cmasisak22

Author: Corey Masisak | NHL.com Staff Writer

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STANDINGS

ATLANTIC DIVISION
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - MTL 76 47 21 8 200 169 102
2 TBL 76 46 23 7 244 198 99
3 DET 74 40 22 12 216 201 92
4 BOS 75 37 25 13 199 195 87
5 OTT 74 37 25 12 216 199 86
6 FLA 75 34 26 15 186 205 83
7 TOR 76 28 42 6 198 244 62
8 BUF 75 20 47 8 144 254 48

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Karlsson 74 19 41 9 60
K. Turris 74 22 32 -1 54
B. Ryan 70 18 35 9 53
M. Stone 72 19 33 14 52
M. Hoffman 71 26 20 19 46
M. Zibanejad 72 19 24 2 43
M. Michalek 66 13 21 3 34
C. MacArthur 54 13 14 -10 27
D. Legwand 72 9 18 2 27
A. Chiasson 68 11 15 -4 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Hammond 14 1 1 .938 1.92
C. Anderson 14 12 8 .923 2.48