The Noon Number: 96

Bruce Bennett

There are 96 days left until the 2014 NHL Entry Draft on June 28th. Fans of teams with first-round picks generally look forward to the draft, but that's not the case this year for us Ottawa Senators fans.

When Bryan Murray traded for Bobby Ryan on July 1st, 2013, I'm guessing he didn't expect the Ottawa Senators to be so low in the standings at this point. Why would he? The 2012/2013 Ottawa Senators defied everyone's expectations and made their way into the playoffs in a rather "pesky" fashion. Things were looking up, so Bryan wanted a shiny, new hot-rod (i.e., Mr. Comin' in Hot). So on that faithful day, Bryan Murray traded away the Senators' first round pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft to the Anaheim Ducks because, you know, high expectations. The season, however, hasn't gone in the Senators' favour and they currently sit near the bottom of the Eastern Conference. So what is Murray going to do?

Murray can still try and trade someone away to get a first-rounder, although I'm not sure who would garner a first-round pick that he'd be willing to part with. Bobby Ryan, Kyle Turris, Jason Spezza, and Erik Karlsson are probably the only four who could bring in a first-round pick (obviously in some sort of package deal) and let's face it, Murray's probably not going to deal any of them in the summer. I know there is talk about trading Spezza, but I don't see it happening - in the off-season at least - unless Murray has an offer he can't refuse. Another possibility is that Murray can trick another GM into thinking that Jim O'Brien is pure gold.

Luckily, the draft this year is not a deep one (which was probably one of the reasons why Murray decided to trade the pick) if Murray can't snag a first-round pick. Although there are some highly-touted players in Aaron Ekblad, Sam Bennett, and Sam Reinhart, the rest of the draft doesn't appear to be as strong as other years. With any luck, the Senators (Ducks) won't end up winning the draft lottery and, therefore, won't be eligible to draft any of those three players. In order to lower their chances of winning the lottery, the Senators need to win a few more games. This would give them a worse chance at winning the lottery by hopefully boosting them up a few spots in the standings.

Alternatively, the Senators can win all of their final games, knock Toronto out of the wildcard spot, and life will be restored as we know it.

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