Draft Day Primer

What does tomorrow look like for the Ottawa Senators?

As it stands today, the Ottawa Senators have the following picks tomorrow:


That's a lot. of picks. They're missing their second round choice because they used it to acquire goaltender Ben Bishop last year. Bishop was then traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning for Cory Conacher and a 4th round pick (102nd overall).

Here's what we know.

The Senators want to move up

Of course they do. Murray is still looking for his white whale--that proverbial top-six winger--and it's easier to find one in the draft than via trade or free agency. Unfortunately, the cost of trading up in this draft is reportedly "insane."

Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun reports that the price of top picks in the draft are an impact roster player and a first round pick. An impact roster player is not Stephane Da Costa or other names most fans have mentioned:

What is a high asking price? Well, one team wanted the Senators to package up centre Kyle Turris and the No. 1 pick to move up in the draft.

To better understand the cost of moving up, check out this excellent article from our friends at Broad Street Hockey.

Bottom line: The Senators could offer every pick they had and it wouldn't be enough to sniff the a top-five pick.

However, it is worth noting that both Assistant General Manager Tim Murray and Director of Player Personnel Pierre Dorion have mention that they feel Ottawa is a team with depth, and that some of the teams at the top of the draft feel they're lacking NHL bodies.

With a plethora of NHL bodies and a few extra picks, there's still a possibility of the Senators making a move, but it likely will not be a major splash.

A player taken 17th is not likely to play in the NHL right away

The Senators have acknowledged as much. They would like to draft a player who can make an immediate impact, and aren't dismissing the possibility outright, but admit that the odds of that happening are long. Outside of the top 10, the development curve for the rest of the draft can take 2-3 years--or longer, as in the cases of players like Colin Greening and Erik Condra.

That does not mean an impact player cannot be drafted from this position, just that it might take longer for the team to see that impact.

For the record, here's every player taken 17th overall since 1980. There are some good names in here.

Year Player Pos. Drafted From Drafted By
2012 Tomas Hertl C/LW Slavia (Cze) San Jose Sharks
2011 Nathan Beaulieu D Saint John (QMJHL) Montreal Canadiens
2010 Joey Hishon C Owen Sound (OHL) Colorado Avalanche
2009 David Rundblad D Skelleftea (Swe) St. Louis Blues
2008 Jake Gardiner D MinnetonKa HS (MN) Anaheim Ducks
2007 Alexei Cherepanov RW Omsk (Rus.) New York Rangers
2006 Trevor Lewis C Des Moines (USHL) Los Angeles Kings
2005 Martin Hanzal C Budejovice Jrs (Czech. Rep) Phoenix Coyotes
2004 Marek Schwarz G Sparta Praha (Czech) St. Louis Blues
2003 Zach Parise C U. of North Dakota (NCAA) New Jersey Devils
2002 Boyd Gordon RW Red Deer Rebels (WHL) Washington Capitals
2001 Carlo Colaiacovo D Erie Otters (OHL) Toronto Maple Leafs
2000 Alexei Mikhnov LW Yaroslavl Torpedo (Russia) Edmonton Oilers
1999 Barret Jackman D Regina Pats (WHL) St. Louis Blues
1998 Martin Skoula D Barrie Colts (OHL) Colorado Avalanche
1997 Robert Dome RW Las Vegas Thunder (IHL) Pittsburgh Penguins
1996 Jaroslav Svejkovsky LW Tri-City Americans (WHL) Washington Capitals
1995 Brad Church LW Prince Albert Raiders (WHL) Washington Capitals
1994 Wayne Primeau C Owen Sound Platers (OHL) Buffalo Sabres
1993 Jason Allison C London Knights (OHL) Washington Capitals
1992 Sergei Bautin D Moscow Dynamo (Russia) Winnipeg Jets
1991 Brent Bilodeau D Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL) Montreal Canadiens
1990 Scott Allison LW Prince Albert Raiders (WHL) Edmonton Oilers
1989 Shayne Stevenson C Kitchener Rangers (OHL) Boston Bruins
1988 Kory Kocur RW Saskatoon Blades (WHL) Detroit Red Wings
1987 Andrew Cassels C Ottawa 67's (OHL) Montreal Canadiens
1986 Tom Fitzgerald RW Austin Prep (Mass.) New York Islanders
1985 Chris Biotti D Belmont Hill H.S. (Mass.) Calgary Flames
1984 Kevin Hatcher D North Bay Centennials (OHL) Washington Capitals
1983 Alfie Turcotte C Portland Winter Hawks (WHL) Montreal Canadiens
1981 Jiri Dudacek RW Kladno, Czechoslovakia Buffalo Sabres
1980 Brent Sutter C Red Deer Rustlers (AJHL) New York Islanders

The team will take the best player available

This is a no-brainer. Given that we've seen them turn depth at defense and depth at goal into players to fill needs at other spots, there's a demonstrable pattern of the benefits of having surplus talent. That said, Dorion also admitted the team did consciously hedge towards need in the 2011 draft, which saw them use their first five picks on forwards: Mika Zibanejad, Stefan Noesen, Matt Puempel, Shane Prince, and Jean-Gabriel Pageau.

However, with the team also feeling they're deep on prospects, there's a lot less incentive to repeat that pattern this time around.

The team is probably looking at a guy who can be a power forward

We know the team invited four players to a "mini-combine" at the beginning of this month. The always-reliable Sylvain St-Laurent points out that prospect Adam Erne tweeted he was in the city a few weeks ago along with Kerby Rychel:

Erne is a 6'1", 196 lb winger who is consistently described as a prototypical power forward. A quick summary from Hockey's Future:

A fleet-footed power forward, Erne blows by, or more often, right through defenders as he drives to the net. Though he plays a hard-nosed game, he also has soft hands and a blistering shot that he's able to fire off quickly. Blending offensive skill and physical prowess, Erne's multi-faceted style means he could fill many roles at the pro level. Some of that will depend on his consistency as he continues to develop.

Similarly, Rychel is a 6'1", 200 lb winger with an NHL pedigree who's considered in the same mold. Again, Hockey's Future:

Rychel’s game is still developing. He has solid, upper-end quality hands, but his feet need work. Rychel’s a proven 40-goal scorer in the OHL and has good speed. Unfortunately, his acceleration needs a lot of work. Once he gets going, he’s great, but it takes him a while to hit top speeds.

Consistency is the biggest worry when it comes to Rychel’s game. Some days, he just dominates; other games he’s invisible. He’s also intermittently attentive to the defensive end of the ice -- again, sometimes displaying remarkable attention to that aspect of the game; and at other times content to float around the blueline waiting for a breakout pass.

Rychel has a bit of his father’s pugnaciousness in him and plays with a bit of an edge. If he can combine his obvious talents with consistent focus, he’ll be a strong addition to any roster.

We don't know who the other players invited were, but someone like Anthony Mantha would also fit the type of player the Senators seem to be looking for, though that is purely my own speculation.


Based on what we know, the safest prediction we can make is that the Senators stay put at 17th and draft a guy they think will be a power forward in three years. They currently don't pick again until the third round, so after their first round choice, we should truly see a "best player available" approach. However, the team does have prospects and picks to move, so a mild surprise could happen, but the odds of a major splash are low. It's more likely we'll see the team put together a package post-draft, when the market has settled and they have a better idea of potential trade partners' needs.

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