Senators go off the board, pick Noesen 21 overall

With the 21st pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, the Ottawa Senators selected Plano, Texas native Stefan Noesen. Noesen is a 6'1", 193-pound right winger from the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League.

Noesen's first OHL season was an unremarkable one (just 8P in 33GP), but he broke out in his second year, scoring 34G and 43A for 77P in 68GP, as well as 111 11P (6G, 5A) in 11 playoff games. He's a big kid with a goal scorer's ability who Bryan Murray likened to Corey Perry.

Although he was ranked low on the prospect ranking--Central Scouting had him ranked 35 among North America skaters, TSN had him ranked 33 overall--it's not so surprising to see Noesen climb the rankings, although few would have predicted he'd climb right up to 21 overall. He's billed as a guy with a big shot, but he says his biggest asset is his size and strength.

From Buzzing the Net:

"Most teams I have been on, I've tried to become the spark. When things are going down for us, I feel like I can make a big play, a big hit, a nice play or score a goal to give us a lift."

" ... My game is like a mix. I would say a little bit like [the Detroit Red Wings'] Johan Franzen, with a bit of [the Dallas Stars'] Brenden Morrow — big in the corners, a known presence on the ice, always trying to make the key play."

Neither of those players are ones I wouldn't like on my team. I look forward to seeing what he might do in training camp next year, and in his career as an Ottawa Senator.

Those wondering what the difference between Noesen's first and second seasons should read this story from Hockey's Future, in which he described an off-season training program with players and staff of the Dallas Stars. There was also likely some physical maturation between the seasons, but that kind of learning opportunity so early in a player's career seems like the kind of thing that could quickly get a career going--and it obviously did for Noesen.

But the best part? According to the scouts at TSN, Noesen is just 'scratching the surface' of his potential. From their rankings:

The Plano, Tx, native made huge strides in his sophomore season, improving his goal total by 31 and point total by 69. Strengths - competitive, has some jam, likes throwing hits, smart playmaker with effective shot arsenal. Sees the ice well, uses linemates sagely, effective along the boards and in physical situations, protects the puck well, good hands. Good hockey sense, only scratching the surface of his upside. Weaknesses - feet and mobility are average at best, will need to work on his quickness. Still very raw, a projection. NHL Upside - if his skating improves as much over the next two years as it did in the past season, has the potential to fill a robust, productive second-line role.

Emphasis mine. Again, these are mostly projections, and his abilities against NHL-level talent remain to be seen. Still, even if Noesen is a project player, what we're hearing about him are mostly good things.

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