Exceeding expectations is fun isn’t it? The Ottawa Senators were almost guaranteed to finsih near the bottom of the standings which is still the case but just not as bad. So far, the Senators haven’t been able to match the tanking skills of the Detroit Red Wings and New Jersey Devils which most fans can’t complain about since it’s been entertaining to watch.
The surprise of the season isn’t the Senators’ position in the standings, it’s that of the San Jose Sharks. As part of the crushing Erik Karlsson trade the Senators were able to get the Sharks’ first round pick for 2020. At the time, it didn’t seem like it would be the team altering asset but it seems we may be snatching a top-10 pick from them.
One of the blessings of the new draft system is that bottom teams always have a chance to move up and get a fair payout on their painful season. However, assuming the Senators continue to win games they should be losing and moving away from that coveted bottom-2 finish, they have options.
It should be noted that in this year’s extremely deep draft, having two picks in the top-10 including one in the top-5 means we are certain to get at least one extremely excellent player (still scarred from Jared Cowen at #9). However, the true prize would be one of Alexis Lafrenière or Quinton Byfield, especially if one will go a divisional rival. So what should the Ottawa Senators do should the time come and they are far from picking either one of these players? Should they even try to do anything to acquire either or just settle with the position they land in?
Rumours about players like JG Pageau or Craig Anderson being traded have been heating up but whatever picks they fetch, it won’t be from the Red Wings, LA Kings or New Jersey Devils. However, these teams could be more intrigued by the possibility of getting the Senators’ two top-10 picks in exchange for the coveted 1-2 pick. Could Logan Brown and one of the picks also fetch that kind of return? Are either option worth the risk to get one of the coveted top two players? How much of the farm system should the Senators sacrifice in order to get a top draft pick should they continue to outperform the Red Wings and Devils?
There is always the argument that having the most amount of great players is the way to develop a successful team but how about the game changing player? The Buffalo Sabres have Jack Eichel, the Toronto Maple Leafs have Auston Matthews, the Tampa Bay Lightning have Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov and the Senators? Brady Tkachuk and Thomas Chabot are proving to be long term cornerstones of this team but on the purely offensive front, the Senators have many good players but not elite. The Senators need a player who can do what Erik Karlsson did for the team, elevate them in the most unexpected and crucial times. They need a player who is a constant threat every time he steps on the ice and it would certainly help if this player came into the mix sooner than later.
So if you’re Pierre Dorion and the Sens finish in the 4th or 5th draft position, what would you do?
What should the Senators do at the draft?
This poll is closed
Stay put, two picks in the top 10-15 spots is great
If the option is available, trade both the Sens and Sharks first round pick to move up
Start trading players of value (i.e Pageau) early to facilitate a lower finish in the standing
Look at what prospects can be included in a potential "move up" trade, including Logan Brown
Other (respond in comments)