Before tonight’s big event, we’ve gathered the Silver Staff together to answer a few important questions.
What do you see as Ottawa’s biggest area of need heading into the draft? Can they address it with the picks they have?
Trevor: It’s tough because they really have so many needs. It’s a toss-up between a top-4 RHD or a top-6 winger, and I’ll say the top-4 RHD is slightly more important just because they seem to have a more difficult time finding that. I can’t imagine Simon Nemec or David Jiricek will be available at 7, but if either of them is, they need to be taken.
Spencer: If you look at Ottawa’s prospect pipeline, the biggest holes in my opinion are on the wings with an honourable mention to RHD. This is not because I don’t like Thomson or JBD as prospects, but they’re missing that top flight, high end RHD that you’d truly love to see beside Chabot. Can they address this with the picks they have? Absolutely. At 7th overall, there will likely be a number of names like Joakim Kemell, Matt Savoie and Jonathan Lekkerimäki available and they’re also, in my opinion, the best players available at that spot, regardless of position.
Beata: I see the biggest area of need on the wing. The lack of NHL caliber talent on RHD is definitely a problem as well, but given how many high-end defensive prospects they have in the minors right now, there’s at least a chance that problem resolves itself with time. Forwards, on the other hand? There’s no one who’s expected to fill that gap. It seems possible that the 7th overall pick can get them a top-six winger, whether they draft someone or use it in a trade.
Ross: Ottawa’s biggest area of need is on the wing. I would’ve said RW, except Joseph was very good as a winger to Tkachuk and Norris, so maybe it’s wing in general. The truth is that on a good team, you wouldn’t have two of Mathieu Joseph, Connor Brown, and Alex Formenton in your top six. They can address this through the draft, though whoever they select almost certainly won’t be an impact player for another three or four years even in the best-case scenario.
Shaan: The weakest position by far is right-wing. Egor Sokolov, Tyler Boucher, and Carson Latimer make up the list right now in terms of non-NHL prospects and drafting someone like Kemell would make things look a lot better. A right-shot defenceman would be nice as well, but I have a feeling that Lassi Thomson is going to be pretty good next season so that should be less of a problem.
Ary: More good players, period. This year, more than ever, I’ve seen the fanbase get lured into drafting by need. It’s understandable, especially given that this is the fifth year the organization is in the position of having to make decisions around high draft picks. It’s important to remember that most players aren’t of the Tim Stützle variety; they take two to four years post-draft to make an impact on your pro depth chart. Roster turnover can happen rapidly over that timespan, as the Sens have witnessed firsthand.
Dorion and colleagues have trumpeted the message that the “cupboards are full”, but a look at the depth chart indicates that while that may be true at the NHL and AHL levels, the team only has 10 prospects outside those levels heading into next season. Moreover, I’d argue that of the players not on the NHL roster (including Sanderson and Pinto), only Ridly Greig, Roby Järventie, Lassi Thomson, Jacob Bernard-Docker, and Mads Søgaard have T6/T4/starting goaltender potential. With the team potentially trading their first-rounder for immediate help and a second-rounder to shed salary, there’s a chance this draft won’t add a ton of depth at the top-end of the organization’s prospect pool.
Nada: They need to stock up on defensemen mostly, but generally speaking the Sens need immediate help and one way to get that is to have as many attractive prospects to use as trade bait in the near future. Draft the best player available.
nkb: I’ll agree with Ary and Nada here: the Sens have the biggest need on the wings, but they just need more good players no matter what position. If someone like Kemell is available with the 7th pick, then there’s a decent chance to address both positional need and pick the best player available but if things go sideways in the first few picks Dorion and co. shouldn’t hesitate to deviate from the plan.
Will Brady Tkachuk make an appearance in the crowd?
Trevor: Is this even a question? Of course he will and it will instantly be a meme.
Spencer: I doubt it but I would love that. The question is whether or not he has a suit with back pockets big enough to fit a pair of tall cans.
Beata: No, but he will make an appearance on Taryn’s TikTok page and on the instagram stories of several strangers witnessing him losing his mind at some bar in St. Louis.
Ross: I doubt it. I imagine we’ll get his reactions somewhere on the internet though, and we’ll hear about how he texted the Sens’ pick 4 minutes after he was drafted.
Shaan: I hope so. It would be nice to remind Habs fans of what they could’ve had.
Ary: Echoing Shaan’s response, here.
Nada: Not to sound like a stalker but social media suggests that he’s been recently vacationing with the family in Greece so I doubt it but it sure would be fun!
nkb: Unfortunately no, but if the Sens kept the 7th pick we can expect to see him at a bar with Brady in the next couple of weeks.
Is there any player that you’d really like the Sens to take that might not be on a lot of people’s radar?
Trevor: RW Jordan Dumais of the QMJHL put up 109 points in 68 games for Halifax, but he’s expected to go in the middle rounds because he’s only 5’9. Hmm, I feel like I’ve read this story before with a certain star winger who is available for trade now...
Spencer: When I put together that full mock draft for Ottawa recently, I had them picking Tucker Robertson of the Peterborough Petes. In the mold of Egor Sokolov, I can easily envision the team “reaching” for him with one of their second round picks, as Ottawa has never been afraid to take an over-ager. He had 41 goals and 40 assists in 68 games for Peterborough after missing the entire OHL season last year.
Beata: I do not pay enough attention to prospects to have an answer to this question.
Ross: I did joke about Kyle Jackson in my “most Sens pick of the draft” piece, but if he’s still available in the 4th round or later, I’d like to see the Sens roll the dice on him as their over-ager.
Ary: My personal favourites of the players I profiled in our 2022 NHL Draft coverage expected to be taken in the mid-to-late rounds include Zam Plante, Martin Johnsen, Topi Rönni, Cedrick Guindon, and Samuel Savoie. A word of caution though that despite running regular draft coverage since 2016, it’s been rare for the Senators to take someone that I’ve profiled so... I’m not holding my breath.
nkb: Whoever I list here is unlikely to be as unheralded as whoever the Sens take in the second round so I’m just gonna let the master Trent Mann surprise us all yet again.
Okay, prediction time: are the Sens keeping the 7th overall selection?
Trevor: Top-10 picks are hardly ever traded as GMs are quite risk-averse. I bet something is somewhat close but a deal is never finalized and the Senators pick 7th.
Spencer: Do I want them to move it? I think I do. Do I predict that they will move it? I think I do. Welcome to Ottawa *checks notes* Jakob Chychrun?
Beata: It really could go either way, but I think they’ll trade it. They’ve been too quiet lately.
Ross: These picks hardly ever get traded, so I predict the Sens will trade it. They’ll swing for the moon to get DeBrincat, and the package will include this year and next year’s 1st-round picks.
Shaan: Yes. And I’m terrified.
Ary: I think they end up keeping it, but I’d be cool with trading it for DeBrincat or Keller. I’m nervous about some of the other names being thrown out in the public sphere so I hope Dorion’s wise enough to not feel pressured into making a move for the sake of it given all the talk about the team. The team would’ve had to win 15 (!) — fifteen — more games to make the playoffs this past season, and no one player is going to have that kind of oversized impact, outside of prime Erik Karlsson.
Nada: They really should as it’s such a golden opportunity to get a much needed improvement the team via trade but knowing the Sens they will likely keep it and make a mildly baffling selection.
nkb: The fact that it feels like a coin flip, and has been reported as such, speaks to just how badly the Sens want to improve next year. The most likely scenario is still that they keep the pick but if there is a trade I just hope it’s for a top-end impact player. Strap yourselves in, the hours before the pick could get hectic.