Five Thoughts For Friday
This week is filled with hot takes about the frugality of the team’s management.
Four. Days. Left. Until the Draft.
Here are Five Thoughts to help pass the time:
The Life of a Budget Team
The Tampa Bay Lightning have been a powerhouse for the last few years, and their efforts have culminated into them winning their second Stanley Cup. Their success comes from a combination of exemplary drafting by Steve Yzerman and a willingness to spend to the salary cap ceiling each year. Which brings us, of course, to the Ottawa Senators. We all know they won’t be spending to the cap; Eugene Melnyk can’t and/or isn’t willing to, and there’s no guarantee that his eventual replacement won’t follow suit. The question then becomes, can the Senators win a Cup in the future without spending to the cap? Are they going to be able to build a winning team with the restrictions that most other teams don’t have? They do have a lot of prospects and picks, but the organization can’t afford to miss on many of them if they want to be competitive.
The Upside to Being Cheap
For what it’s worth, the Senators’ ridiculous cap flexibility has given them some pretty significant advantages. For example, they’re able to sign any young player they want to a long-term deal. If Drake Batherson has a good year and wants an eight-year deal, he’ll get it from the Senators, whereas a team like the Islanders might be forced into a bridge deal due to their cap situation. If Ottawa can nail these kinds of decisions, we’ll see a competitive budget team for a good stretch. And if you aren’t convinced that these prospects won’t be traded when they reach pending UFA status, like with the previous core, well, some of those trades have turned out better than expected. Also, there are definitely risks to signing players to long-term market-value deals beginning in their late twenties. Chicago hasn’t made the second round of the playoffs since those Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane extensions kicked in. If the Kings become a powerhouse again, it will likely be in spite of Drew Doughty. And while Erik Karlsson is still capable of a Norris-worthy season, the albatross contracts of Brent Burns and Marc-Edouard Vlasic are definitely holding the Sharks back from being a dominant team.
Trading Down From #5
Chief Amateur Scout Trent Mann spoke to the media on Tuesday to give some insight into the team’s thought process going into the draft. Based on his comments, they may decide to move down a few spots from fifth overall depending on which player Detroit takes at fourth overall. When asked specifically about Jack Quinn amidst the recent rumours surrounding him, Mann talked up the 52-goal-scorer’s game, as well as the growth of Lucas Raymond, alluding to the group of promising right-wingers at the top of the draft. My guess is they’re looking at Raymond at 5th overall, and if he’s taken by Detroit, they’ll look to move down to a spot where they feel they can snag Quinn. Moving down to the 8-10 range is feasible in this scenario, so look for Buffalo, Minnesota and Winnipeg as potential trade partners in the next few days.
And just as I finished writing this segment, this happens:
Sens GM Pierre Dorion says “99%” they keep the 5th overall pick...which was thought to be potentially in play. (He’s already said they are keeping #3).— James Duthie (@tsnjamesduthie) October 1, 2020
Dorion will join us on the #TSN Mock Draft with Craig Button, which airs tomorrow 11:30am et on TSN 5.
Well, it’s still not 100%, right?
The Winter Soldier
There was one particular little nugget of information that jumped out at me from Mann’s media availability. When talking about Jack Quinn and Lucas Raymond, there was a third right-winger who was given some love. You might think that it’d be Alexander Holtz, widely considered as a Top-10 pick this year, but you’d be wrong. Apparently, Ottawa has been keeping somewhat of a close eye on Portland Winterhawks forward Seth Jarvis.
We really haven’t talked about Seth Jarvis in nearly as much detail as some other prospects, because he was always considered to be in that group that was not good enough for the Top-10, and too good for the 20th pick or later. Looking at his production though, it doesn’t seem to add up. 42 goals and 98 points in 56 games ranks him second in the WHL in points-per-game, notably ahead of last year’s eight-overall pick, Dylan Cozens.
I’m not a prospect expert, nor do I know what the best sources are for information, but I personally am a fan of the Draft Dynasty Youtube channel. He compiles a good amount of game footage for each player while discussing strengths and weaknesses. The following video highlights Jarvis’ potential to become a complete two-way player with high-end agility, playmaking and shooting accuracy.
If Ottawa does indeed go against the 99% odds and move down from fifth overall, Seth Jarvis could be the player they’re looking to take. He could very well end up being one of the more shrewd instances of the team reaching to select a player.
Aside from the seven picks in the first two rounds, the team will also have an opportunity to add some quality to the prospect pool with their two third-round picks...although maybe not. For whatever reason, the Senators haven’t drafted in the third round since 2014. This is pretty crazy stuff, folks. Their 2015 first-round pick was sent to Edmonton in a deadline deal for Ales Hemsky in 2014. In the draft that followed, they used their 2016 third-rounder to move up and draft Gabriel Gagne. Later, they acquired another 2016 third-rounder from the New York Islanders for Shane Prince, which they used to move up once again, this time to select Logan Brown in the 2016 draft. Their 2017 third-rounder was traded for Viktor Stalberg to help the team’s playoff push that year, and their 2018 third-rounder was swapped with Pittsburgh’s 2019 third-rounder as part of the Derick Brassard trade, only for that pick to be used in the 2019 draft to move up and draft Mads Sogaard. The Senators’ own third-rounder in 2019 was part of the package to land Matt Duchene, and the 2020 third-rounder they got from the Blue Jackets for Ian Cole, was sent to Toronto to have them pay for Nikita Zaitsev’s signing bonus.
Yeah, I think it’s time for the organization to stop trading third-round picks.