With thirteen picks in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, including seven in the first two rounds, GM Pierre Dorion will have every opportunity to improve the Ottawa Senators’ prospect pool at every position. Dorion has stated that the team will take the best player available with his two (it still sounds too good to be true) Top 5 picks, which is the right move. However, as the consensus best players are taken early, every team’s list will become increasingly different from each other, and more emphasis will be placed on positional need. It’s no secret that Ottawa’s future is very bright in the crease, as well as on the left wing and left point. This draft will provide an opportunity to vastly improve some of the weaknesses in their prospect pool.
First off, despite a glut of promising centre prospects, none of them really scream “Elite 1C”. Every Stanley Cup winning-team in recent history has had a top centre leading the charge, whether it be Ryan O’Reilly, Nicklas Backstrom, Sidney Crosby or Jonathan Toews. Josh Norris, Logan Brown and Shane Pinto all have an outside shot at filling that role but drafting a centre early on, such as Quinton Byfield or Marco Rossi, would instantly create another position of strength, and secure a necessary ingredient for a winning team.
Drake Batherson is one of the most exciting, if not the most exciting prospect in the Senators’ system, but there’s not too much beyond that at the right-wing position. Notable players include Jonathan Davidsson, Vitaly Abramov and Rudolfs Balcers, the latter two being left-handed and have played both wings. Of those three, Balcers is the safest bet to carve out an NHL career as he’s been able to contribute in an NHL role during the past two seasons and was looking like the team’s most NHL-ready prospect at the start of the season before getting injured.
Finally, while the addition of Jacob Bernard-Docker and Lassi Thomson in recent drafts have given the Senators some intriguing options on the right side of the blue line going forward, though there isn’t much to get excited about beyond those two. It should be noted that Christian Wolanin and Erik Brannstrom, both lefties, have experience playing on the right point, and it may be necessary for one of them to do so if Brannstrom makes the team out of training camp.
It’s clear that one of the organization’s biggest strengths is the sheer number of legitimate prospects in the pipeline, and the early rounds of the upcoming draft should supply at least a couple of star players to round out that group. Where do you think they could use the most help? Thanks for reading and stay safe!
What is the Ottawa Senators’ biggest positional need?