At this time last year, the Ottawa Senators season was over for all practical purposes. Starting play on 12 March 2011, the Senators were 15th in the eastern conference and 29th in the NHL. They were set to draft Gabriel Landeskog, but others wondered if they could get Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or Jonathan Huberdeau. Of course, Ottawa ended up finishing 5th last, dropped a spot in the lottery and picked Mika Zibanejad at sixth overall.
This year, however, there has been barely any talk of the draft. With forward prospects Mika Zibanejad, Jakob Silfverberg, Mark Stone, Stéphane Da Costa, André Petersson, Shane Prince and Stefan Noesen in the ranks, the Senators have a high number of potential candidates to be top six players at some point in the future. There is also Matt Puempel whose junior career has been plagued with a number of injuries. On the other hand, with the trade of David Rundblad to Phoenix, Ottawa's defensive prospects are not looking that great. Ottawa has Erik Karlsson and Jared Cowen in the NHL, but aside from that their best defensive prospects are Patrick Wiercioch, Mark Borowiecki and Fredrik Claesson. Maybe one of these can pan out into a top four role, but there is a lack of high end talent after the Rundblad trade.
MyNHLDraft.com had the Senators picking 20th overall (as of last Monday) and picking Swedish defenceman Ludvig Bystrom. Other defencemen in that range include Slater Koekkoek, Olli Maatta, Derrick Pouliot, Brady Skjei and Michael Matheson. I am not going to pretend to know anything about any of these players, but I feel what we need is another offensive defenceman for the second pairing (or to play with Karlsson).
More after the jump.
Here are today's links:
- The lines in practise were the same: 1) Greening-Spezza-Michalek, 2) Klinkhammer-Turris-Alfredsson, 3) Foligno-O'Brien-Neil, 4) Daugavins-Smith-Condra. (Sylvain St-Laurent)
- Defence also the same: 1) Kuba-Karlsson, 2) Cowen-Gonchar, 3) Phillips-Gilroy. (Sylvain St-Laurent)
- Craig Anderson was on the ice before practise and looked comfortable. He should start to practise fairly soon. Ottawa hasn't really missed him so far though, going 4-2-1 (after the Alex Auld disaster was abandoned) and getting strong goaltending. (Ian Mendes)
- Erik Karlsson understands he is going to get hit and become a target due to his elite status. He also feels he has to do a better job of keeping his emotions under control. (Ottawa Sun)
- The opposition's main plan for stopping the Senators in the playoff will be to stop Karlsson. He better be ready to get around it if Ottawa is to have a chance of winning a round. (Ottawa Citizen)
- Jason Spezza is in favour of keeping the status quo of having no rule against the two-line pass, reminding people how slow the game used to be. (Steve Lloyd)
- Since the Senators do need more defencemen, they are believed to be targetting yet another college free agent, Andrej Sustr, a 6'8" defenceman from the Czech Republic. (The 6th Sens)