They’re a team that hasn’t played a single game in over six months – and likely won’t play another until next year.
The one event that kept Ottawa fans engaged – the NHL Draft – started off like a coronavirus-shaped soccer ball, before finally coming to a halt in early October, a month typically associated with the start. of the regular season.
Oh, there was another night at the end of June that captured the imagination, an infuriating teasing event called the Draft Lottery, which did not get Ottawa to land first overall (despite a 25 percent chance), but losing to a placeholder team. to-be-named-later, which we now know to be the New York Rangers.
Thank God for the San Jose Sharks, whose terrible season gave the Senators a second chance at a high draft selection. The first-round pick, which was part of the deal with Erik Karlsson, moved to third, while Ottawa’s own pick dropped to fifth.
And yet, there’s more – the rebuilding Senators also acquired a first-round pick from the New York Islanders as part of the center Jean-Gabriel Pageau trade. And while the Islands have done Ottawa no favors by reaching the Eastern Conference final, the Senators can add this play, the 28th pick, to their wealth in the 2020 draft.
So we present Ottawa’s first round feast: third, fifth and 28th picks overall.
What can the Senators achieve with their first-round picks?
One of the pros and cons of having six months to anticipate a project is that team project perspectives and strategies have been analyzed from one side to the other. In hockey starved cities like Ottawa, Los Angeles and Detroit, the mock drafts outnumbered the playoff groups as scouts and pundits sort the order after consensus top pick Alexis Lafreniere.
Overall, the Senators consider this deep draft to be one of the biggest in franchise history, with hopes of acquiring two impact players with the No.3 and No.5 picks. There is enough talent in this draft. to imagine writing another key element at 28, additions to a team that Brady Tkachuk and Thomas Chabot have anchored their foundations on.
N ° 3: Byfield ou Stutzle?
In Ottawa and Los Angeles, search engines have been worn out by these three words: Byfield or Stutzle? Stutzle or Byfield? The choice is of course up to the LA Kings, having jumped into the lottery for the second overall pick. The Senators will advance the remnants more than capable.
Barring a curvy pick for one of the best defensemen available, the forward’s decision rests with either OHL Sudbury Wolves’ towering center Quinton Byfield or skillful Germany winger Tim Stutzle.
Not to overload them with expectations, but to play this prospect matching game with their mature skill model in the current NHL, scouts might call it a debate between having an Evgeni Malkin type or a Patrick Kane type. It’s possible, both teams can win.
After nearly three months of speculation, the consensus seems to be that LA will go for Byfield, although the first thoughts got them excited about Stutzle. Ultimately, it could revert to an old hockey belief – all things being a little equal, take the bigger kid – that could seal the deal for Byfield in Los Angeles. At six foot four, and around 220 pounds, Byfield is tall, skillful and raw – ten months younger than Lafreniere, who was born in late 2001. This potentially gives him more advantage than other top forwards, including the devious Stutzle, who played against men in DEL, Germany’s top professional league.
Sportsnet Draft Analyst Sam Cosentino called Byfield the ideal choice as a top center with his combination of size and strength and also “an excellent skater who handles the puck well in tight spaces … an equal threat as as scorer and distributor.
Stutzle is listed as a left winger, where he plays in the DEL, but can play center and has made it to the world junior championships.
Cosentino: “Stutzle is dancing with the puck, he can play at top speed and although his number of goals has gone down, this part of his game will evolve with strength and maturity.”
If the Senators land in Byfield, they will have their number one center for years to come. If Stutzle is their guy, it will be interesting to see if he settles down to the wing, where he can dazzle with his speed and skill, or come back to center to meet the needs of the team.
# 5 has all the intrigue
Barring some shocking development, Ottawa’s first selection on October 6 looks predictable. It’s their second choice, at No.5, which could go in a number of directions. Historically, the senators’ drafting group has held firmly to two strong principles:
1. They keep their draft cards nearby.
2. They know who they like and are not swayed by “board” selections.
General manager Pierre Dorion repeated his mantra of “best player” for this draft, but who will be the best available in 5th place and will Ottawa select a forward or a defender?
The idea of landing two impact forwards must be intriguing for an organization that doesn’t have a lot of points, at least at the NHL level. My hunch – Dorion is heading in that direction with her top two picks.
Consider who might be available at No.5, including two top defenders:
F Lucas Raymond: Raymond, ranked fourth among European skaters by Central Scouting, has the kind of lineage a Senators fan can appreciate. He is originally from Gothenburg, Sweden (like Daniel Alfredsson) and played for Frolunda (like Alfredsson and Karlsson). A brilliant skater, Raymond is physically lighter than other top attackers but captivated by his skill and speed.
Perfect F Cole: Likely led to Detroit in 4th place, Perfetti was ranked top playmaker and second best bathandler (after Lafreniere) by NHL scouts in Grant McCagg’s Rookies Draft Guide. This OHL Saginaw center is sleek and heady and speaks with the maturity of an older player. Small at five-foot-10, Perfetti has focused on strength and skating this summer, and now weighs over 180 pounds.
F Marco Rossi: This small Austrian center has delighted the Ottawa crowds for years, as a stylish and determined OHL Ottawa 67’s player who improves his entourage. Reminiscent of Martin St. Louis, Rossi packs nearly 190 pounds of power and force on his five-foot-nine frame.
F Alexander Holtz: If it’s a sniper they’re after, look no further than Holtz, a classic right-wing scorer from Djurgardens in Sweden. With his quick release, Holtz can injure you with a slap or a flick of the wrist.
D Jake Sanderson: While the Senators have some depth in defense, their only sure thing as top-pair D is Thomas Chabot. Like Chabot, Sanderson of the U.S. National Development Program is a silky skater, but comes into the NHL as an even more complete two-way defenseman. His defensive play is superb, with gap control that made scouts scribble, if not drool.
D Jamie Drysdale: Any team that needs a power play quarterback should consider Drysdale, the five-foot-11 dynamo of the OHL Erie. A straight D like Karlsson, Drysdale is going to have a long and productive career in the NHL. The Senators have Chabot, and in the minors, Erik Brannstrom, but Drysdale would add a level of excitement.
The longest wait, at 28
Predicting who the Senators will face in their third and final first-round pick is a crazy game, and they don’t exchange it, but here are some names that might be available:
F Tyson Foerster: This Barrie Colts right winger is big, tenacious and can score (36 goals, 80 points). Could project onto a scoring winger on one of Ottawa’s first two lines.
F Christmas days: The Swedish answer to Foerster, Gunler is an effective right-sided scorer with a good size. Needs to mature as a player, but has shown flashes of being a consistent goal producer.
D William Wallinder: At six-foot-four and 191 pounds, Wallinder is a great flexible defenseman, a good skater for the MoDo juniors in Sweden. Should play in the D-man top four.
F Jake Neighbours: The Senators have done well with their picks in the WHL and Neighbors fits the mold of a tough and tough left winger. Born in Calgary, he plays for the Edmonton Oil Kings.
D Helge Grans: Another strong Swedish defender, Grans, is six-foot-two, 206 pounds and has been a regular player for Malmö. Has the four best potentials.
At the end of the day, if Ottawa comes away with Stutzle, Raymond and, say, Wallinder, they can call it a day for the first round. A very good day in the history of the organization.