The Ottawa Senators couldn’t get past the Montreal Canadiens in the first round, but the fact that they got that far was a tremendous accomplishment that required a 21-3-3 run. That they then battled back from a 3-0 series deficit to force a Game 6 against one of the league’s toughest teams is the icing on the cake.
So although the Senators’ campaign ended tonight, there’s cause for them to exit with their heads held high.
“I’m extremely proud of this group,” Senators coach Dave Cameron said, according to the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch.
“We made some steps. This is a tough business, tough league, we’ll get over it ending … and feel good about what we accomplished,” he added.
The Senators certainly have reasons to be optimistic about the future. They had two of the top four scoring rookies this season in Mark Stone and Mike Hoffman. Mika Zibanejad, 22, took a step forward this season as well while defenseman Erik Karlsson and forward Kyle Turris are arguably just now entering their prime.
They certainly have some question marks going forward, especially with Zibanejad, Stone, and Hoffman all set to become restricted free agents and goalie Andrew Hammond eligible for unrestricted free agency. It also remains to be seen if they’ll be willing to spend to the cap going forward, which is potentially vital to both keep their core together in the long-term and build around it.
Still, the fact remains that they can take a lot of positives out of this campaign.