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Is 2011 the most important NHL Entry Draft in Ottawa Senators history?

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The Ottawa Senators have taken part in a lot of very important NHL Entry Drafts over the course of the franchise's history. Their first draft, in 1992, was huge, as were the 1993, 1995, and 1996 drafts in which they selected first overall. All of those were huge years in building what would eventually become the team's core, and the success of the organization through the late 1990s and early 2000s was built almost completely through the team's good drafting.

But the team has never been in the position they are today. The Senate Reform is well underway, and the Ottawa Senators, for the first time ever, are re-building their organization, nearly from the ground up. It's a position fans are unfamiliar with, and it raises a serious question: Is this year's the most important draft the in franchise history?

It might be.

The Senators have had as many picks as they have this year (12 in total), but those were during longer drafts--the team's never had an average of as many picks per round as they have in 2011. Similarly, they've never had the number of high draft picks as they have this season. It sets the team up well to really build up a stable of good, young prospects from various leagues around the world, and at various developmental stages to step into the team over, in all likelihood, the next 4-5 years.

Ottawa turned many of the assets they'd accumulated into draft picks for this year, converting players from past years into what will be one massive influx of incoming talent for the organization. That makes it all the more important for the franchise that what's acquired on draft day be capable of becoming the next group of players to play significant roles on the team--otherwise, the players who had been on the team (Mike Fisher, Chris Kelly, and the like) will have been sent packing with nothing in return.