The Ottawa Senators were founded in 1990 and joined league competition in 1992. The Senators struggled early on and finished last in the NHL standings in each of their first four seasons of competition. But since then, the Senators have become a consistent and reputable organization, qualifying for the playoffs every season with the exception of 2009 and 2011. This franchise is a reincarnation, of sorts, of the Senators team formed in 1883 which was incredibly successful with 11 Stanley Cups before disbanding in 1934 after relocating to St. Louis as the Eagles.
The current Senators have yet to win a Stanley cup in the modern era, but came close in 2007 when they faced the Anaheim Ducks in the finals and lost the 7 game series in 5. Following their playoff run, a slew of managerial changes led to general unrest in the locker room and in the front office with contract disputes and trade rumors circulating incessantly. Eventually, goaltender Ray Emery's contract was bought out, Wade Redden signed with the New York Rangers, Andrej Meszaros was traded, several others were left unsigned and left the team as free agents, and in 2009 Dany Heatley was traded to the San Jose Sharks.
It seemed that the Senators were bound for a period of rebuilding and overall restructuring of the organization, but the 2009-10 regular season was surprisingly successful in spite of injuries to key players, including captain Daniel Alfredsson and forward Milan Michalek. 2010-11 was another difficult and disappointing year, but the Senators rebounded to make the playoffs in each of the next two seasons, thanks to the impressive play of young stars Erik Karlsson and Kyle Turris, along with long time Senator Jason Spezza and newly-aquired American forward Bobby Ryan.
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