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Senators sure lessons learned will lead to playoffs

by Sean Farrell continues its preview of the 2014-15 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams throughout August.

The Ottawa Senators will be looking to move forward in 2014-15 after taking a step back last season.

A slow start and inconsistent play left Ottawa on the outside looking in at the Stanley Cup Playoffs as the Senators missed the postseason for the third time in six seasons.

"I think we learned a lot from last year," center Kyle Turris said. "I think the previous two years before that was kind of a step forward, and I think last year was a step back and we really got to evaluate everything and it was a great lesson because we learned a lot, we took a lot out of it. We're a young team to begin with but having to learn from last year and having gone through some success a couple of years before that, I think that we're still a young group but I feel like we've matured a lot and we're going to have a really good team this year."

Gone is center Jason Spezza as the Senators lost their captain for the second consecutive season following Daniel Alfredsson's departure for the Detroit Red Wings in the summer of 2013. Spezza asked to be traded and in July was sent to the Dallas Stars in return for forward Alex Chiasson and prospects Nicholas Paul and Alexander Guptill.

Senators coach Paul MacLean sees Chiasson as a hard-working player.

"His willingness to go to the net and the hard areas to score are elements that we like about him and those are the things we're going to encourage him to do and continue to do on our team," MacLean said. "We felt we were missing a little bit of that natural knack of getting to the hard area to score."


2013-14 record: 37-31-14, 88 points, 5th in Atlantic Division, 11th in Eastern Conference

2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Did not qualify

Additions: RW Alex Chiasson, C David Legwand

Subtractions: C Jason Spezza, RW Ales Hemsky, C Stephane Da Costa

Pending free agents: D Joe Corvo, LW Matt Kassian, G Nathan Lawson

Promotion candidates: C Curtis Lazar, RW Mark Stone, C Derek Grant, D Mark Borowiecki

Top 2014 NHL Draft pick: D Andreas Englund (No. 40), D Miles Gendron (No. 70)

The Senators also signed free-agent forward David Legwand, who spent his first 15 seasons with the Nashville Predators before he was acquired by the Detroit Red Wings last season. When he was an assistant coach with Detroit, MacLean had plenty of opportunities to get to know and appreciate Legwand, a Detroit native who is 23 games shy of the 1,000-game milestone.

"He's an older player (33), brings a veteran player's leadership," MacLean said. "He's played in all situations. He's played in the last minute, killing penalties in the last minute, 5-on-3, 5-on-4. He can play in any situation on the ice and he still has, we believe, enough foot and leg speed to get up and down the rink. We still have some young centers in Kyle Turris, Curtis Lazar, Mika Zibanejad along with Zack Smith that need to continue to learn how to continue to win faceoffs, how to play in the defensive zone, how to play in the offensive zone and be a good centerman. We think David Legwand is really going to help us in a lot of areas with our centermen and he's going to provide that veteran leadership."

Turris looks forward to getting the opportunity to put into practice solutions to a variety of problems that plagued the team last season.

"It's a combination of getting back to how we know we can play, like we did a couple of years ago," Turris said. "We showed it at times this past year but it wasn't consistent enough, so we need to bring back that consistency and kind of getting back to our pesky ways that we were before. Obviously things that we needed to work on coming out of last year were getting out of our end a bit quicker and more clean. There are lots of things that we've taken into account that we're going to work on moving forward. We'll make those corrections and be back to where we want to be this year."

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