With the NHL draft being held this weekend in Philadelphia, the Senators are currently without a first round pick. Barring a trade, the Sens first pick won't happen until the second round on Saturday when they pick 40th overall. While it is tough to speculate who would still be available at the 40th pick, there are a few intriguing options.
Brett Pollock (Edmonton Oil Kings)
The 6'2" 185 lbs left winger (who also plays centre) is ranked 34th among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting. In his sophomore year with the Oil Kings, Pollock put up 25 goals and 30 assists in 71 regular season games before adding 11 goals and 8 assists in 21 playoff games. Playing alongside Curtis Lazar at the end of the year, the pair helped lead the Oil Kings to a Memorial Cup championship. I believe there is a lot of value in drafting someone from a winning environment as hopefully the good habits will continue. Heading into his third year in the WHL, he will see increased minutes which will greatly help with his development. While keeping tabs on Lazar, I'm sure Pollock's name was thrown around in discussions between the Senators' scouts, and it might be worth taking a chance on him.
See for yourself what this kid is all about:
Brett Pollock 2013-2014 WHL Highlights (via bigwhite06)
Andreas Englund (Djurgarden)
Englund isn’t going to wow you in the offensive zone, but he will make sure that no one gets by him in the defensive zone. The 6’3" 190 lbs Swedish defenceman is ranked 30th among European skaters by NHL Central Scouting and 44th overall on Bob Mckenzie’s final draft rankings. The Senators have not shied away from drafting from Sweden in the past, so I believe that the young stay-at-home defensive prospect would be a great addition to the Senators’ prospect pool.
Here’s what Eldon MacDonald from The Hockey Writers has to say about him:
"Take a Hal Gill; sprinkle him with the ability to skate and make a very nice first pass; then add a little bit of Douglas Murray lack of tenderness and you pretty much got it – a solid NHL size stay at home defenseman with some bite – no dangles, very little puck rushing even though he is a powerful skater, Andreas is a mature defender for his age (mentally and physically) and a leader by nature. He plays a North American style of game and has a very high compete level"
Vaclav Karabacek (Gatineau Olympiques)
The 5'11" 185 lbs goal scoring winger from the Czech Republic excelled in his first year in North America. He notched 21 goals and 26 assists in 65 regular season games before adding another 6 goals and 6 assists in 9 playoff games. Karabacek is ranked 41st among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting. While putting up a ton of points in his first year in the QMJHL, he does have some development to do in the defensive zone lacks some speed. One of his strengths is his fight level. He battles hard in the corners and knows where to find open ice to make a play. Due to the proximity of playing in Gatineau, Karabacek would have had plenty of opportunities to impress the Ottawa scouts.
Last Word on Sports had the following to say about him:
"Karabacek’s offensive game is based around his tenacity. He digs pucks out of the corners for his linemates, and works hard to continue the cycle game down low. He makes short quick passes to teamates, and almost always takes the safe option over those that are riskier, but more creative. The stickhandling is decent, but it is more about puck protection on the cycle than it is about making the type of creative moves to beat a defender one-on-one. Without the puck, he has the ability to find open spaces on the ice, and to evade defenders. From there he is able to unleash a good one-timer, or a very powerful wrist shot, with an excellent release. The shot is the best part of his offensive game and is among the better shots in this draft class."
While the 2014 draft class is considered to be one of the weaker ones, it looks as though there will be some talent still available for the Sens at the 40th pick. After the 40th pick, the Sens will pick again at 70, 100, and 190. Based on Murray's excellent draft record, I am optimistic that he will find someone who will fit into the Senators' plan.