Tuesday, June 8, 2010

16th - Ottawa Senators Draft Preview

I don't know what it is about this logo but to me it's terrific. Maybe it's the simplicity or the way the parliament building is used. It certainly says "Ottawa" and "Canada's Capital City" a lot better than a Roman general... or Spartan... or whatever the soldier is. I get the tie-in to him being a government official but he's not very Canadian is he?

1st pick last year: Jared Cowen (9th overall) - Cowen didn’t play much in his draft year due to a knee injury, but the Senators saw enough of him in is rookie year with Spokane, where he won a Memorial Cup, to still take him 9th overall. The hulking D-man was rated the best stay at home rearguard of the 2009 draft by ISS as well as being the 3rd toughest and having the 3rd hardest shot. Cowen was thought to be an above average skater, but his knee injury seemed to slow him down, and he was used sparingly by Canada at the World Junior Championship. He’s great in his own end when he uses his 6'5 inch frame. He’s been a +69 in 3 years with Spokane.

The Good: Erik Karlsson (15th overall, 2008) - 6 defenceman were taken ahead of Karlsson in 2008 and for me he’s already ahead of all but 2 of them (Doughty, Myers) on the development path. In his first full season with Ottawa, the small but smooth skating and surprisingly physical defenceman finished 2nd on the team with 26 points. He also added 6 points in 6 playoff games. The only blemish on his report card was a -5 rating which should improve as his decision making catches up with his hands and feet. Karlsson could have played in Saskatoon for Sweden at the WJC but was to valuable to the Senators organization.

The Bad: Ruslan Bashkirov (60th overall, 2007) - Bashkirov could turn out to be a decent pick, if he returns to North America. If he doesn’t then it will be a miss for the Senators, considering Wayne Simmonds went one pick after the Russian and has played 160 NHL games already. He showed plenty of skill with 30 goals and 67 points for Patrick Roy’s Quebec Remparts of the QMJHL. He also revealed some grit with 117 penalty minutes but he was home sick and wanted to return to Russia, which should have been a red flag for the Senators.

The Unknown: Brian Lee (9th overall, 2005) - Only one player taken ahead of Lee in 2007 has played less NHL games (Jack Skille, Chicago) which has to be a bit of a disappointment for the Sens. Lee has been up and down between Ottawa and Binghamton since leaving North Dakota after the 2007 season. Only once in 3 seasons has Lee played more NHL games than AHL games in a season. If he can’t stick with the club this year, it might be time for Ottawa and Lee to part ways.

Coming Down the Pipe: Ottawa signed 2nd round pick Patrick Wiercioch after the defenceman left Denver University and he’ll likely spend 2010-11 getting seasoned in the AHL. They also have to be excited about 5th round pick from 2009, Mike Hoffman who was named the QMJHL’s MVP thanks to a 46-goal, 85-point season in 56 games with Saint John this year. After back-to-back 20 plus goal seasons in Seattle, ’07 first round pick Jim O’Brien didn’t light things up offensively in Binghamton with just 8 goals in 76 games. However O’Brien might be better suited as a defensive centre who faces the other team's top lines as he does have good size.

Draft Trends: The Senators are kind of all over the map with their picks. They have taken defenceman with first round picks in the last 2 years, and have only taken one goalie in the past 3 drafts, but other then that they’re not too picky about where a player comes from.

2010 Prediction:

Dean Millard: Mikael Granlund (HIFK Helsinki) - Granlund was talked about quite a bit before the World Juniors… but not much since. He had an underwhelming tournament and was outplayed by his linemates Toni Rajala and Teemu Hartikainen. Granlund is a great passer with as much hockey sense as anyone in the draft. The draw back is his size; at 5'10 and 175 lbs he doesn’t win a lot of one on one battles. Granlund will go to the top of the charts in Ottawa as their best forward prospect. (Photo: Matt Manor IIHF Images)

Guy Flaming: Alex Burmistrov (Barrie) - It won't be expected that the fleet footed, ultra-skilled Russian will still be available at this point in the draft but with a few surprises it's plausible that he could fall right into Ottawa's lap. He was a point-per-game player with the Ontario League's Barrie Colts and although his passport will give some teams an uneasy feeling, his former coach Marty Williamson told us months ago that he expected Burmistrov back in the OHL next year.


slopitch said...

Getting Granlund at 16 would be a great pickup. Based on what Ive read, I think he'll go top 10. Possible proving what little I know.

Excellent series guys. Looking forward to the Oilers prediction!

Unknown said...

Granlund would be a great pickup there. I'm picking for Ottawa in the Hockey's Future mock draft and my nightmare was that Burmistrov would still be available and I'd have to make a decision. Obviously talented but I think Ottawa will be burned by the Russian Factor, given what they experienced with Ilya Zubov bolting this year when he didn't make the team.

Great analysis guys. Speaking of Lee, I recently reviewed the '05 draft for HF at http://www.hockeysfuture.com/articles/12187/senators2005_draft_evaluation/