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Ottawa Senators Team History

Updated October 2018.

The Ottawa Senators joined the league in 1992-93.  The club takes its name from the original Ottawa Senators, who played in the NHL from 1917-1934, winning 11 Stanley Cups.

senators logo oldThe Senators won just 10 games in their inaugural season. They improved to 14 wins before dropping to just nine in their third year.  Four straight seasons as the worst team in the league enabled them to draft a number of skilled players including Alexei Yashin, Bryan Berard, Chris Phillips and Marian Hossa.

Ottawa turned the corner in 1996-97, with Calder Trophy winner Daniel Alfredsson and 1992 first-overall draft pick Yashin driving the offense. They made their postseason debut, their first of 11 straight seasons in the playoffs.

They won the President’s Trophy as the best team in the NHL in 2002-03. Hossa (45 goals, 80 points) and Alfredsson (78 points) paced the squad in scoring. They lost to the Devils in seven games in the Eastern Conference Final. The Sens followed up their solid run with two early playoff exits before realizing their greatest playoff success.

senators logo currentThe 2006-07 club, led offensively by Alfredsson, Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley, reached the Stanley Cup Final. They were unable to make it past the Anaheim Ducks, dropping the series in five games.

The club alternated missing the playoffs with first-round exits before finally making it into the second round in 2013, where they fell to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Longtime captain Alfredsson left the team after the 2012-13 season, opting to sign with Detroit. Alfredsson holds franchise records for goals (426), assists (682), and points (1,108).

Thanks in large part to the efforts of Norris-Trophy-winning defenseman Erik Karlsson, the Senators reached the postseason in 2017 for only the second time in the past four seasons. After a season that saw an emotional roller coaster for the entire franchise, the Senators were the feel-good story of the year, getting all the way to the third round of the Eastern Conference playoffs for the first time since 2007. They lost to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins in seven games.

However, if a team could face the exact opposite of that kind of uplifting success, it was during the next season. Rumors circled that team superstar Erik Karlsson would be dealt, while scoring forward Mike Hoffman was a target for trade throughout the year as well while the Senators circled the drain. The franchise saw a 31-dip in standings points, dropping to 67 and falling to second-to-last in the league. After the season, Karlsson and Hoffman were in fact dealt, and the Senators face a season where they could potentially finish with the best odds to win the draft lottery, but be forced to forfeit the first overall pick thanks to a trade with the Colorado Avalanche. Needless to say, the Senators franchise has seen better days.

senators locker room

Feature photo courtesy Bob Fina | Flickr

This post produced in collaboration with Josh Smith, managing editor of ScoutingTheRefs.com.

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Tags : alexei yashincanadachris phillipsdaniel alfredssondany heatleyerik karlssonjason spezzamarian hossanhlnhl historyottawa senators
Jeff Ponder

The author Jeff Ponder

Jeff brings a wealth of hockey retail experience to xHockeyProducts, as well as a vast knowledge of marketing and content development. Jeff is also a former hockey reporter for various media outlets in the St. Louis area and has attended numerous NHL Entry Drafts. He has played hockey since the age of 10.

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