Happy draft day Sens fans! The actual NHL draft is just hours away, and just in time, the SB Nation mock draft is coming to a close today. Catch up on all the picks so far at this link, including our previous first round selections of Lucas Raymond and Marco Rossi.
With the 28th overall pick, the Ottawa Silver Sevens are proud to select from Malmö...
While most of us expected to be coming out of this exercise with three forwards in the first round, one of our favourite defencemen in this draft class fell right into our lap at 28th, and we couldn’t resist. Some of the other available options are listed at the poll in the bottom, although the ones who generated the most group discussion were Lukas Reichel and Tyson Foerster.
Grans is our second Swede taken in this mock draft after Raymond, coming from a Malmö program where he’s already seen ample playing time in the SHL. He split his time evenly in 2019-20 between the SHL and SuperElit, the latter of which he broke apart offensively with 27 points in as many games.
As of writing, he currently has two points in his first three SHL games of the new season, already just one short of his total in 21 games from 2019-20. His skills are already flourishing in his expanded role, making us more excited for what he could potentially bring to the Sens should they select him.
Here’s what I had to say in our in-depth report on Grans from last month:
There are plenty of immediate tools that make Grans appealing to NHL scouts — he’s a coveted right-shot defender, and his combination of size (6’3”) and strong skating ability is extremely uncommon to find outside the top ten in any draft year, let alone one with as thin a crop as 2020. [...]
He’s one of the draft’s most consistent defencemen when it comes to zone transitions, as he can use his motor to swiftly get the puck from one end of the ice to the other. He’s also excellent at evading defenders in the process — his size definitely gave him a large advantage in that sense playing against U20 competition in the SuperElit, although it was an ability that also seemed to translate in his 21-game stint in the SHL last season.
While he can sometimes look awkward and lanky on the ice, or make a gaping mistake leading to a scoring chance against, the amount of upside Grans packs as an offensive-minded defender is undeniable. He loves to take risks, which in turn makes this selection a bit of a gamble as to translate his playing style will translate against NHL defenders. But while his tools may be raw, the opportunity is there for a team to be patient and diligent, helping him string together his fantastic set of individual skills into a potentially game-breaking defender.
On top of this, Grans would provide the Senators with an additional option on the right side of their blue line. While Jacob Bernard-Docker and Lassi Thomson are two solid prospects, there’s no blue-chip players like they have on the left side in Thomas Chabot and Erik Brännström (if that’s the side where the Sens keep him). Prospects are never a guarantee to pan out in the ways we expect, so broadening the team’s options down the line with an exciting yet mouldable player has the potential to pay off in spades.
Now the choice is up to you — did we make the right pick? We’ll know what happens for real this evening, and I’m teeming with excitement.
Did we make the right call? Who would you have chosen with pick #28?