Senators boost goaltenders with Murray acquisition on busy day 2 of draft


With three picks in the first round of the 2020 NHL Draft, the Ottawa Senators were bound to make noise early.

They kept that high profile in the second round, acquiring Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Matt Murray by trade and trading picks to move up to select fellow University of North Dakota defenseman Tyler Kleven. The Senators now have four prospects at the UND, including three D-men: Kleven, Jake Sanderson (fifth overall, 2020) and Jacob Bernard-Docker (26th overall, 2018). Ottawa has forward Shane Pinto (32nd overall, 2019).

It’s no wonder Senators general manager Pierre Dorion was asked on television if he was considering buying real estate in North Dakota.

Dorion has been targeting Murray for weeks. The need for help for goaltenders has been magnified by the recent news that Anders Nilsson, who is expected to start from Ottawa next season, is still suffering from concussion symptoms following an injury in last december.

Behind Nilsson, the Senators have only Marcus Hogberg, a decent prospect, but with only 28 games of NHL experience.

Murray, a Stanley Cup champion just two years ago, was coming off a tough season (.899 save percentage) and fell out of favor in Pittsburgh. The Senators gave up their 52nd overall pick (second round) plus prospect Jonathan Gruden.

Gruden, 20, a fourth-round pick for the Senators in 2018, spent the 2019-20 season with the OHL London Knights, scoring 30 goals and 66 points in 59 games. He was not seen as a key part of Ottawa’s future.

Murray, 26, is set to become a restricted free agent, but the Senators hope to close a contract with him on short notice to keep him for a few years. Dorion likes the idea of ​​Murray coming to Ottawa motivated after moving from Pittsburgh, where he competed in two championships.

“He brings credibility to this position, someone who we believe has something to prove and we are delighted to have him on board,” said Dorion.

“Without a doubt, we still think Matt can be No. 1 in this league. We watched every game of this Montreal series carefully. We knew throughout the year that he was a goalie who could move.

Senators goaltender coach Pierre Groulx believes Murray has the potential to return to his form two years ago, in addition to being a mentor to the Ottawa goaltender prospects.

“Just talking to him, the excitement in his voice, he looked like someone who had just been drafted,” Dorion said. “He was so excited. About our team, our core of young players and a chance to recover as one of the great goalies in the NHL.

Dorion has repeatedly praised the depth of purpose of his organization, with Joey Daccord, Filip Gustavsson, Kevin Mandolese and Mads Sogaard in the system.

And yet we say in the game that you can never have enough goalkeepers.

For the third year in a row, the Senators have caught a goaltender. Leevi Merilainen of Karpat U20 in Jr. A SM-Liiga, was selected with the 71st pick.

No qualifying offer for Anthony Duclair

It was a housekeeping question, a question about the many RFA players of the Senators and the deadline for qualifying offers approaching. But it became a bit of a bombshell when Dorion said the club are qualifying everyone except defender Andreas Englund, forward Jayce Hawryluk and forward Anthony Duclair.

Duclair, 25, led Ottawa in goals last season with 23 and represented the Senators in the All-Star game. He seemed to have changed his career after stops in New York, Arizona, Chicago and Columbus.

Now his days with senators are numbered.

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“I don’t want to go into details,” Dorion said during his post-draft Zoom call. “All I’m going to say is Anthony chose to represent himself, and we told him from day one, it’s not always easy to represent himself.

“We gave him a substantial increase over what he won last year. It is unfortunate that we were not able to reach a contractual agreement. We won’t close the door on anything, but he will explore free will. ”

Senators’ choices are linked

After acquiring Tim Stutzle, Jake Sanderson and Ridly Greig in the first round, the Senators made seven picks on day two and forfeited two picks from their draft jump – picks 59 and 64 to the Toronto Maple Leafs to earn 44th place . used this to write Kleven from UND.

In total, the Senators used 10 of their 13 original picks, drafting seven forwards, two defensemen and a goaltender. They also acquired defenseman Josh Brown and goaltender Murray through draft trades.

Dorion and Amateur Scout Leader Trent Mann left happy.

“I’m not going to make any bold statements, but these past two days have really put the franchise forward for many years to come,” Dorion said. “What our scouts were able to do, the added impact players in Stutzle, Sanderson and Greig, plus three second-round picks today and Matt Murray, who is a stabilizing presence in our net – are all factors that allow us to be successful for many. coming years. ”

Kleven, Ottawa’s first round third-round pick, said he had no idea he would become an Ottawa senator but was thrilled to join his three UND comrades in the system.

“I think they (the Senators) really like our style of play here in North Dakota and we will all be good additions to the Ottawa roster for years to come.

Kleven is Sanderson’s roommate at UND and was about to board a plane with Sanderson, Bernard-Docker, and the rest of his Fighting Hawks teammates.

At 6-4, 200 pounds, Kleven doesn’t have the Bernard-Docker or Sanderson’s offensive advantage, but is established as a closed defender and loves murder penalties. He was ranked 42nd among North American skaters by Central Scouting.

Yegor Sokolov also has deep connections to an existing Senators prospect. The 20-year-old Russian, who had one season with the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles, was a teammate and “billiard brother” with Ottawa’s Drake Batherson.

Sokolov said he was skating with Batherson in Nova Scotia this summer and was excited to join the same NHL organization.

“He took me everywhere with him,” Sokolov said, “and he helped me learn the English language. ”

Sokolov said he quickly texted Batherson with his news project.

“He’s proud of me,” Sokolov said.

After being passed twice in the draft, Sokolov has been working on his game and leading the QMJHL this season with 46 goals. He added 46 assists for 92 points. Right and left winger, Sokolov is listed at 6-4, 230 pounds, but says he has “lost about 12 pounds” training with Batherson.

Swedish player Eric Engstrand, a great forward who finished third in the SuperElite League in points last season, is also in the laggards category. Ottawa took him to # 155.

Three selections later, the Senators selected center Philippe Daoust from the Moncton Wildcats at 158 ​​years old. The Senators started the second day selecting a great Finnish forward, Roby Jarventie, with the No. 33 pick, and ended it looking west on Brandon and Wheat Kings ahead. Cole Reinhardt.


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