Who To Draft With The Senators' First-Round Pick
The Ottawa Senators have the 18th-overall pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. This is a look at who a variety of sources say Ottawa should draft.
The NHL entry draft takes place in a week and a half, June 26-27, hosted by the Florida Panthers. Everyone knows that Connor McDavid will go first overall, followed closely by Jack Eichel. Some permutation of Noah Hanifin, Dylan Strome, and Mitch Marner will go in spots three to five. Much further down the list, the Ottawa Senators have the 18th-overall pick. There still remains a chance that the Sens will trade up, or trade down, or trade their two second-round picks to get another in the first. Still, for now it looks like Ottawa will be picking 18th overall. Here's a look at who various sources believe the Sens should take.
--- NHL Central Scouting picks...
Filip Chlapik (C with Charlottetown, QMJHL; 6'1", 196 lbs)
Regular season: 33 G, 42 A in 64 GP
Playoffs: 1 G, 8 A in 9 GP
Technically this isn't a prediction of who Ottawa picks, but rather at statement of who the 18th-best available player is. Still, assuming Ottawa takes a "best player available" approach, it seems reasonable to apply this pick to Ottawa. Chlapik is billed as a strong two-way centre. He can be a strong contributor in all areas of the game, though he isn't expected to provide much offensive flourish. Ottawa is strong down the middle currently in the NHL, but does not have any prospects in Binghamton who project to be top-line centres. Chlapik could fill this void.
--- Damien Cox of Sportsnet picks... Filip Chalpik
--- Bob McKenzie of TSN picks...
Evgeni Svechnikov (RW with Cape Breton, QMJHL; 6'2", 199 lbs)
Regular season: 32 G, 46 A in 55 GP
Playoffs: 1 G, 6 A in 7 GP
Like the NHL Central Skating pick, this isn't a statement of who Ottawa should pick but rather who the 18th-best player is. Svechnikov is a strong, playmaking winger. Offensively, both his shot and his creativity in creating plays have been praised. His skating is also seen as a plus. He is projected as closer to NHL-ready than the average late first-round pick.
--- ISS Hockey picks... Evegeni Svechnikov
--- Yahoo! Sports picks...
Joel Eriksson Ek (C with Farjestad, SHL; 6'2", 180 lbs)
Regular season: 4 G, 2 A in 34 GP
Playoffs: 0 G, 0 A in 3 GP
Eriksson Ek (or Ek Eriksson, depending on your source) projects to be a strong two-way centre. He is reported to have high hockey IQ, and to be quick to adapt to any kind of system. He is skilled in the offensive zone and reliable in the defensive zone. He is expected to require a few years of development before being ready for the NHL.
--- USA Today Sports picks...
Travis Konecny (RW with Ottawa, OHL; 5'10", 175 lbs)
Regular season: 29 G, 39 A in 60 GP
Playoffs: 3 G, 7 A in 5 GP
Konecny's greatest asset is his shot. Despite his smaller size, he has shown a propensity to be a net-front presence as well. His skating could use some improvement for him to become an NHL threat. After drafting Cody Ceci in 2012, it wouldn't be a surprise to see the Sens take another 67s player. The problem is that most mock drafts expect Konecny to be off the board by the time the Sens get to pick.
--- The Hockey Writers picks...
Jansen Harkins (C with Prince George, WHL; 6'1", 182 lbs)
Regular season: 20 G, 59 A in 70 GP
Playoffs: 0 G, 4 A in 5 GP
Harkins is listed as a skilled, unselfish, defensively-responsible centre. His reliability on defence and overall maturity have earned comparisons to Curtis Lazar at the same age. His skating could use some development.
--- Bleacher Report picks... Jansen Harkins
--- HockeyProspect.com picks...
Brock Boeser (RW with Waterloo, USHL; 6'1", 191 lbs)
Regular season: 35 G, 33 A in 57 GP
It seems hard to categorize Boeser. Often described as a power forward, he also possesses the ability to create plays from below the goal-line, and has a good shot with a deceptive release. Has the ability to get himself into the right places to be open for scoring opportunities.
--- McKeen's Hockey picks...
Jakub Zboril (D with Saint John, QMJHL; 6'1", 184 lbs)
Regular season: 13 G, 20 A in 44 GP
Playoffs: 1 G, 2 A in 5 GP
A defenceman who stands out for his ability as a puck-mover and a powerplay quarterback. Despite this reputation, he is also known for using his size effectively in the defensive zone. Comes with a red flag in that he was suspended twice this past season, once for a head-shot and once for kicking an opponent.
--- Hockey Wilderness picks... Jakub Zboril
--- Some other players to keep an eye on
With the uncertainty as the draft progresses, it's very possible Ottawa gets someone ranked anywhere from 15th to 25th in people's drafts. Here are some other players to keep an eye on.
Colin White (C with USA U18 NTDP; 6'0", 183 lbs)
Regular season: 16 G, 26 A in 45 GP
White projects to be a strong two-way playmaking centre. Definitely has skill, and uses it to make his teammates better. Though his points dropped from 63 to 42 when going from U17 to U18, his PIMs also dropped from 81 to 28, suggesting an increase in discipline.
Nick Merkley (C/RW with Kelowna, WHL; 5'11", 191 lbs)
Regular season: 20 G, 70 A in 72 GP
Playoffs: 5 G, 22 A in 19 GP
Very skilled forward who knows how to take advantage of opponents. Needs work on his shot to become a regular NHL contributor.
Paul Bittner (LW with Portland, WHL; 6'4", 204 lbs)
Regular season: 34 G, 37 A in 66 GP
Playoffs: 4 G, 8 A in 17 GP
Most known for his ability to read the play, his slick passing, and his powerful shot. Possesses the height that many scouts love, and appears to use his size better than most. As pointed out by Canucks Army, the biggest issue here is the Bittner spent the season with two of the best forwards in the WHL in Nic Petan and Oliver Bjorkstrand, so his stats were probably inflated.
Oliver Kylington (D with Farjestad, SHL; 6'0", 185 lbs)
Regular season: 2 G, 3 A in 18 GP
What stands out most about Kylington is his skating ability. He is one of those quick, agile skaters whose stride is beautiful to watch. Undersized, skilled, offensive defenceman from Sweden projected to go in the second-half of the first round -- sound familiar? Has seen his stock fall considerably from the middle of the season, so he may be a steal at 18th, or issues with his game may have become more obvious.
Jérémy Roy (D with Sherbrooke, QMJHL; 6'0", 188 lbs)
Regular season: 5 G, 38 A in 46 GP
Playoffs: 1 G, 4 A in 5 GP
He is known for significant poise with the puck, both in passing and in skating. Has a strong ability to read the play as it develops. His biggest knock is his speed.