Senators to be “hard-to-beat team” with successful draft, coach says


The Ottawa Senators will be a “hard to beat team” if they choose wisely in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, coach D.J. Smith told Sportsnet on Monday.

The Senators may have 13 choices, possibly three in the first round, and will have at least two of the first six selections determined by the NHL draw on June 26.

“You need special players if you want to eliminate all of these teams, and I think we’re going to have one, if not two,” said Smith. “I think we already have a few on our team and over time we will be a hard team to beat. “

The Senators (25-34-12, 0.437 percentage points) fail to advance to the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the third consecutive season. They did not participate in the Eastern Conference qualifying round as part of the NHL return to play plan announced on May 26. The teams were ranked by percentage points as of March 12, when the season was stopped due to concerns about the coronavirus.

Smith said project gives Ottawa opportunity to add to young core that includes 23-year-old defender Thomas chabot and the 20 year old striker Brady Tkachukand top prospects like 21-year-old forward Josh Norris, who won the Dudley (Red) Garrett Memorial Award as an exceptional rookie in the American Hockey League this season.

Senators have first round pick and San Jose Sharks first round pick Erik Karlsson September 13, 2018. Ottawa also has a conditional first round pick from the New York Islanders in the trade Jean-Gabriel Pageau in New York on February 24. If the draw places the Islanders in the top three, the Senators will receive a first-round pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft.

Ottawa has a 13.5% chance of selecting number 1 in the 2020 draft with its choice and 11.5% chance of choosing San Jose, the second and third best odds after the Detroit Red Wings (18.5 %). The Senators ‘choice in the first round cannot be less than the fifth and the Sharks’ choice cannot be less than the sixth. The Islanders have a 1% to 6% chance of pick # 1 before the results of the qualifying round.

In addition, Ottawa has four choices in the second round and two in the third.

“We have good players and good players to come, and we plan to add here with this draft,” said Smith. “They say it’s the deepest draft in a long time. We have three first round picks, [first]. And when you get players like that, it’s special franchise players who could make the difference. “

Forward Alexis Lafrenière of Rimouski in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League should be the number one choice in the 2020 draft, which will take place on a date to be determined.

“I’ve always managed to imagine what I want, so I already imagined that we get [No.] 1, so it’s over, “said Smith jokingly. “Just like that, we get [No.] 1. It’s over. “

Tweet from @Sportsnet: “There are no excuses. You have nine months to reinvent yourself. D.J. Smith spoke to @SNkylebukauskas about his first season as head coach of the @Senators and what the team needs to work on during their long off-season.

Listen: New episode of the NHL Entry Draft


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