Editor's note: these predictions are purely based on gut feeling and trying to put our brain inside of the head of Bryan Murray. It's kind of like the movie "Being John Malkovich," except with less John Cusack.
1) Who do you think the Senators will take 6th overall? (Not who do you want them to take, but who do you think they'll take)
Darren: I have a feeling it will be Ryan Strome or Mika Zibanejad. The reason I say this is that Pierre Dorion, Director of Player Personnel, was recently speaking to the media and kept reiterating that it's not about taking the best player available now, but the best player in 4-5 years time. To me, that suggests it won't be Larsson or Landeskog (who won't be available at 6), or even Couturier (who many experts now have still being available at 6)., as nice as Couturier would be for this organization.
Mark: If they move up, it will be for Jonathan Huberdeau. If they select 6th, it will be Ryan Strome, who has more offensive upside than Mika Zibanejad.
Ryan: I think it'll be either Strome or Couturier, depending on who's left. My money's on Strome if they're both left on the table. Personally, I hope it's Strome. But since this is Bryan Murray drafting, it wouldn't shock me one bit if they took a defenceman, in which case it's Ryan Murphy.
Peter: If the team doesn't trade up--and I think there's a good chance they will trade up--I think Murray will select whichever centreman among the group of Couturier, Huberdeau, or Strome is available. I think Strome is the most likely, based on the fact that he seems unlikely to be picked in the first five and reports that the Sens scouts really like him.
2) Which pick is more likely to move -- the 6th overall or the 21st overall? Or will the Senators stay put at both picks?
Ryan: I'd say the 21st, because the Senators want to move up, and there's much more room to move with the 21st. I know there's speculation that Ottawa could be packaging the 6th and 21st in order to move into the top five, but I honestly cannot see any of the top five teams who'd want to take that deal. I'd say Florida might bite, but the word going around is that they're trying to pry the 1st from Edmonton to move up, not down.
Darren: The 21st. The Senators would love to move up from 6 but it won't happen. They'll find someone who lets them move up from 21.
Mark: I actually think the 6th is more likely to move, simply because that's the one Murray is likely to spend most of his effort on. The contracts given to Zack Smith and Colin Greening have helped solidify the bottom six for a few years, and Murray has to know he can't walk away from this draft without securing a top talent. There's nobody who's a surefire home run this year, so if Murray has to overpay to get the closest thing, I bet he will--rather than hoping it falls to him.
Peter: Tough call. I will say it's more likely that 21 will move, but it's still pretty reasonable to expect the team to move the sixth overall pick. I would be extremely surprised if neither of them are moved.
3) Are the Senators going to draft any defensemen in the first round?
Mark: I doubt it, unless Larsson is available at 6th. Since that doesn't seem likely, I imagine if the best player on their board at 6th is a defenseman, they'd rather trade down and pick up options rather than overloading on the only position of depth in the organization. I mean, I suppose it's possible that they'd take Ryan Murphy and choose to flip Erik Karlsson for a forward because he's become expendable, but that seems needlessly complex to me.
Ryan: My heart says no, but my instincts say that Bryan Murray is hell-bent on making a fourth line composed entirely of offensive defencemen (and Brian Lee). I'm going to say yes, he will.
Darren: No. Larsson will be gone by 6 and I don't see the Senators grabbing either Hamilton or Murphy there. Even though the Senators say they pick best player available, this draft just seems loaded with solid forwards in the first round, and the Senators really need to stock the cupboards with forwards.
Peter: Nope, at least I don't think so. The one guy who seems like a can't-miss prospect is Adam Larsson, and there's no way he falls to six. After him, it seems like there's no defensive prospect farther ahead of the forward prospects surrounding him, so I think the Sens always pick the forward available.
4) Will any of the Senators players or prospects be dealt on or prior to draft day?
Darren: Is there anyone on the team left to trade?
Ryan: I hope so. I'd love to see Filip Kuba or Sergei Gonchar move. I can see Foligno being dealt, but depending on the return I'm hesitant to make such a move. Do you think someone would trade for Marek Svatos' negotiating rights?
Mark: The team has the ammunition to avoid that if necessary, but I bet we see at least one more former Ottawa Senator after this weekend. Nick Foligno's development hasn't gone smoothly, for example, and it's not a stretch of the imagination to see Murray washing his hands of a John Muckler pick under the guise of "starting fresh."
Peter: There's not much time prior to draft day, but I don't think so. There may be a player moved before Canada Day when the free agency period starts, but I think Murray et al will prefer to wait and see how the roster shakes out (and how the kids perform in training camp) before making many moves.
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