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Expect a strong pick in 10th place overall

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For the Ottawa Senators, the October 2020 draft was not only unusual at the moment.

With three first-round picks, including two in the top five, the Senators and their fans were salivating at a unique opportunity in franchise history to add the basic pillars of the organization.

By comparison, Ottawa’s only pick in the first round of 2021 at No. 10 overall and just six picks overall (last year they drafted 10 players) is a bit more business-like rather than early Christmas. . The Senators have progressed as a franchise to the point where they want to add one or two key pieces rather than multiple building blocks.

One big consideration regarding the Senators: This draft thins out after the top 10-15 players, and Ottawa has two second-round picks (39 and 42). Both general manager Pierre Dorion and head amateur scout Trent Mann agreed that there has been a lot of internal discussion about using one of those second-round picks as part of a promotion package, if possible, to target another player. in the first round. Something to take into account.

Dorion said he believes he will select a player at 10 and will not change that selection.

Ottawa Draft Picks: 1st round (10th), 2nd round (39th, 42nd), 3rd round (74th), 6th round (170th), 7th round (202nd).

Potential targets in Round 1

Kent Johnson, C, University of Michigan

Johnson, the third member of Michigan’s ‘Top 10 Troika’, has been a points producer at all levels, including Junior A with Trail in BC Former Senators forward Bill Muckalt was one of the recruiters who led him to Michigan, where Johnston produced 27 points in 26 games as a freshman. The smart, hard-working left center is named by Michigan head coach Mel Pearson as the most improved player on his team this season.

As might also be the case with the sturdy forward Mason McTavish, a former Ottawa Valley Titan, the question is whether Johnson will remain at No. 10. Mann has said he doesn’t expect McTavish to be there at 10.

Chaz Lucius, C, NTDP from USA

Considering Lucius missed more than 30 games last season with a knee injury, his return to the game, instant production for the US Under-18 team, and a likely top-10 position in the draft is pretty impressive. . Lucius was out of the game for a full 12 months after knee surgery and led America’s attack as if he had missed 12 minutes. A right-handed shot to the smaller side at six feet 172 pounds is that rare cross who is better known for scoring goals than making plays. In 13 games, Lucius scored 13 goals and seven assists. His coaches of all skill levels rave about his hockey sense and drive.

Cole Sillinger, C, Sioux Falls – USHL

All other things being equal, Ottawa will take the former NHL member’s son when it can. It certainly worked with Brady Tkachuk’s selection (fourth overall, 2018). Sillinger is a heavyweight six-foot-two-inch, 201-pound center, which means he could be a great fit in a DJ Smith rig.

Like Senators center Josh Norris, Sillinger has a strong shot and doesn’t hesitate to fire the puck. In 34 games for Sioux Falls this season, Sillinger scored 24 goals and 22 assists. Though not quite as strong a skater as Norris yet, Sillinger is consumed with hockey, plays an effective two-way game, and doesn’t mind using his physical strength to knock players off the puck or fight for position.

The goalkeeper’s question: The consensus in Ottawa is that Senators will choose a skilled center or goalie with their first pick. My feeling is they are leaning towards the position player, but will that change after Sens lost goalkeeper prospect Joey Daccord in the Seattle expansion draft?

Probably not. If the senses want one of the front-line doormen to be available, they will select him, Daccord or not Daccord.

Dorion brought some intrigue to the question when he said in a Zoom call on Thursday that while he feels the club has a goalkeeper “quality and quantity at all levels,” he added: “That doesn’t mean that if we feel there is a Vezina “. – goalkeeper caliber at 10, which we are not going to take him ”.

Consider it a juicy bite or a pre-draft curveball.

Are Jesper Wallstedt of Sweden and Sebastian Cossa of Hamilton Vezina Caliber Draft Picks? Many explorers think so.

A quick check of the goalkeeping inventory: Ottawa has Matt Murray and Anton Forsberg as their 1-2 next season. Behind them are up-and-coming Filip Gustavsson and Mads Sogaard (7-0-0 at AHL Belleville last season) included in the AHL, as well as younger prospects Leevi Merilainen and Kevin Mandolese in the system. Dorion feels that the organization has the system. more depth in goal than in any other position.

However, if enough voices in the war room feel like they can’t get over Wallstedt or Cossa, if any of these top-rated goalkeepers are available in 10, there’s a chance that will happen. Again, with two picks in the second round, Ottawa could package one of their second-round picks with a later pick (third or sixth round, for example) to move up and catch the player or goalkeeper they really want.

Last year’s first choice: Tim Stützle, third overall

Senators could not have been more pleased with the progress of Stützle, a player they were able to select with the San Jose Sharks lottery pick (part of the Erik Karlsson trade). Stützle’s hat trick at the end of the season and the improvised toss of the hat in the backyard by neighborhood children that went viral on social media was a decent symbol for “Jimmy” (Brady Tkachuk’s nickname for his partner quarter) and his magical first season in Ottawa. Stützle finished sixth in scoring per team with 12 goals and 29 points, and although he showed some fatigue at the end of the season after a long routine that included youth world games and many travels, Stützle arrived as advertised. He’s dynamic, fearless, and should be a star in the league when physically completed.

Organizational needs: When Mann was asked this week if he thinks senators have a particular need when it comes to organizational depth, he was as shy as any pre-draft scout, but hinted that the club’s needs were clearer in a couple of years. behind. We assume you’re talking about Ottawa’s needs in defense, which have been directly targeted by recent drafts by Jake Sanderson (5th, 2020), Tyler Kleven (44th, 2020), Lassi Thomson (19th, 2019) and Jacob Bernard -Docker (26 °). , 2018). Artem Zub, 25, was a skilled KHL recruit and as the team continues to look for a top four defender to support Thomas Chabot (18th, 2015), in terms of prospects, defense is no longer a sore spot. . In fact, the Senators have quite a bit of depth up front, defense and goal. High level forward skill is your greatest need.

“I think we have addressed many of the areas that need to be addressed,” Mann said. “Now, we’re at a point where you always want more depth and you always want better depth.” In other words, they are weighing updates on all positions, rather than addressing urgent needs.

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