Reviewing Ottawa’s 2014 NHL Draft

With the draft in the books it’s time to take a look at how the Ottawa Senators did.  While they were unable to get a first round pick, the Sens picked in the second round for the first time since 2011.  The normal Murray draft trends continued, as they selected a local kid (Summers), a player from the QMJHL (Perron), picked from Sweden (Englund) and US leagues (Eiserman), but did not take anyone from the WHL (a staple) or go completely off the board.  While the team failed to trade Jason Spezza, they did make a minor deal with Winnipeg in order to acquire the pick they took Summers with (giving up their 6th in 2015).   I’ve compiled all the scouting reports I have.  Here’s who was picked (acronyms: Red Line Report (RLR), International Scouting Service (ISS), Hockey Prospect‘s (HP), and Future Considerations (FC)):

2-40 Andreas Englund (DL 6’3 SuperElit Djurgarden 33-5-5-10) Ranked: HP 42 RLR 44 FC 63 ISS 67
Physical defenseman with good feet was picked ahead of projections; scouts question his puck-skills, but they did the same for Mikael Wikstrand so I’ll take a wait-and-see attitude on that.  He’ll play for Djurgarden in the fall (either their junior or men’s team, or more likely, both).
RLR: Huge rearguard is very powerful and still a bit raw.  Workhorse with a massive frame and wingspan.  Consistently mean and aggres- sive.  Plays with an edge and really drives right through his man on big hits.  Nasty with his stick around the crease.  Controls gaps well and steps up at the blue line to deliver big hits.  Loves the physical aspect of game and looks to initiate contact.  Wins all battles down low.  Eats up ice with long strides and is fast straight-ahead even if he isn’t overly quick or agile.  Has a keen sense for when to join the rush.  Not a natural puck rusher or PP quarterback – even if he does pick his spots well – but is adept at sneaking in the back door on PP.  Showed improved composure on outlets and clearings.  As his best when he plays the body, wins the puck, finds the tape, and joins the rush. Projection:  Pounding, physical presence on the blue line. Style compares to:  Alexei Emelin
ISS: Englund is a big, physical defenseman who shows strong toughness below the goal and when battling for pucks. Strong awareness and anticipation to step up and lay the body. Above average mobility for his size and good feet to quickly react and takeaway offensive room. Doesn’t possess many offensive weapons as he thrives in the defensive leadership role utilizing every inch of his 6.03 frame. Thrives playing in a similar role with Djurgardens Junior and Allsvenskan this year where he could focus on his shutdown game and defending his own zone. Elevated his game to a higher level with Sweden at the U18 World Championships, took on a leadership role on the backend and showed tremendous character in doing the little things needed to win.   Size/Strength  Very Good Skating   Good Puck Skills  Average Shot   Average Offensive Play  Average Defensive Play  Excellent Physical Play  Very Good Competitiveness Very Good Hockey Sense  Very Good
HP: Englund is really big kid who competes hard. He didn’t show us a huge amount of hockey sense but he can really skate. He was in a group of the ‘big three’ we needed to see more of coming into the season. He’s the best skater by far over Lagesson and Olas-Mattsson. The size, skating ability and compete level make it easy to rank him as a draftable player. He plays with heart and wants to make a difference every game. He could have a wide range of rankings amongst the NHL teams.
FC: A two-way defenseman who is more physical than technical, Englund is solid in his own zone and pretty dangerous on the opposing blueline. Englund demonstrates impressive mobility and speed. He is a powerful skater and gets going quickly. He is balanced and controlled on his skates, and can move well for his size. He demonstrates strength on the puck and the ability to escape pressure in his own zone. Englund makes a good first pass and sends his team quickly up ice with quick outlets. He is a little too aggressive at times in his own zone, but he was mostly smart with his decision making. He takes space away quickly and isn’t afraid to use his body to take a man off the puck. He contains his man well and is strong against some bigger forwards. He shuts players down well with his size and is impressive down low in his own end, with the ability to win pucks and earn his team possession. Englund edges out opposing forwards well into the corners. Very strong and harsh on opponents in front of the net. Can be very tenacious, especially in those little one-on-one battles. NHL POTENTIAL: Top-Six Two-Way Defenseman

3-70 Miles Gendron (DL 6’2 USHS Rivers 22-6-13-19) Ranked: HP 73 RLR 77 ISS 121 FC 179
Mixed opinions from scouts on the former forward; there are questions about how well he’s adapted to being a defenseman, but these are early days in his development.  He’s slated to play in the BCHL in September and then go to the NCAA with University of Connecticut subsequently.
RLR: Wild young colt plays like a rover, which is understandable since he was a forward until a year ago.  Likes to wander and move up into the play – pushes the attack.  Is one of the best pure skaters in this draft with a long, fluid stride and terrific mobility.  Great first step burst and accelerates to full speed in two strides.  Crisp edging and balance with sharp stop/starts, directional change and recovery speed.  But backs in on his goalie constantly — as you would expect, he’s not yet confident in his gap control.  Also plays with only one hand on the stick too much and has very little understanding of defensive zone positioning and coverage down low.  Can either make crisp, pro style outlets or carry the puck up out of danger himself.  Has terrific puck skills and natural instincts.  A longterm project with an extremely high offensive ceiling. Projection:  Wildcard rover from the back end. Style compares to:  Nick Leddy
ISS: A gifted offensive player with natural play- making ability. An excellent skater with good speed who can change gears without hesitation and loves carrying the puck. Possesses a hard, accurate point shot that he can get off in no time and is adept at skating in from the blue-line and making cross-crease passes to his team-mates. Had played as a forward in the past and is a work in progress defensively who can sometimes create too many turnovers due to his high-risk approach. Tries to do too much on his own. Still needs to get stronger physically as he has a lanky frame. Was Green Bay’s 11th Round Pick, 177th Overall in 2014 USHL draft and has verbal with University of Connecticut, 2015-16.  Size/Strength  Good Skating   Excellent Puck Skills  Very Good Shot   Good Offensive Play  Very Good Defensive Play  Average Physical Play  Average Competitiveness Good Hockey Sense  Good
HP: Miles is an outstanding skater, especially for his size and he utilizes his size and speed to take the puck end to end. He has strong puck handling ability but likes to utilize his skating to his advantage. Miles is a bit of a project as he needs to get stronger and needs to improve defensively but he has the skating to recover when he goes out of position. He has signed on to join the Penticton Vees of the BCHL for one year before heading to the University of Connecticut in September 2015. He will be a long term project but could really pay off in the end to a team that remains patient.
FC: A very raw, but talented puck-moving defender. Made the switch to defense for his senior year and there have been many struggles. With his size, his exceptional skating ability and his ability to skate with the puck, he can be a dangerous puck rusher. Looks lost during some of his shifts as he struggles to find proper position. However, when he gets the puck on his stick, he has the ability to create offense quite quickly by making a strong, long-range breakout pass or carrying it out of his zone himself. Very creative, has impressive vision and is able to control the puck well with his skilled hands and reach. Might have the best skating ability on the East Coast. Has a decent wrist shot, but needs to improve his velocity and release of his slap shot. Playing as a defenseman might have been the wrong choice. After watching him closely since last summer, he has yet to develop any type of feel for the game from the backend. Has no idea how to keep a solid gap, and often has incredibly poor stick position. Could a move back to forward be in the cards? NHL POTENTIAL: Top-Six Offensive Blueliner

4-100 Shane Eiserman (LW 6’2 USHL Dubuque 53-16-24-40) Ranked: ISS 48 FC 57 RLR 95 HP 97
Mixed feelings about Eiserman who dropped beyond anyone’s expectations (if not by much); some question his work-ethic, his skating, and whether he’s plateau’d, but projects as a rugged power forward and pest.  He’s committed to the University of New Hampshire (NCAA) in the fall.
RLR: One of the year’s biggest disappointments.  Could have challenged for the first round, but word is he developed quite an attitude.  His game has hit a plateau.  At his best, he’s an honest, hard-working, two-way winger who plays a pro style, north-south game.  Rugged and likes to initiate contact.  Does his best work down low in the offensive zone and is at his best when powering down the slot causing trouble and looking for rebounds.  But just like the movie “Groundhog Day,” his season became the same scenario game in and game out:  drive down the wing, lose the puck, lazily backcheck.  Rinse, repeat.  There was no variety or development, and we hear he doesn’t retain coaching well – a major red flag.  He’s a powerful skater with strength and balance, but needs to improve his first step quickness and lacks a top-end gear.  Uses his size/strength effectively along the walls and will sell out his body to clear the defensive zone consistently. Projection:  Rugged, physical 4th line grinder. Style compares to:  Travis Moen
ISS: Eiserman has come a long way in the past few years. His development with the US NTPD was strong and developed him into an extremely competitive player. He is a relentless and intimidating forechecker who can be like a bull in a china shop at times. He likes to battle and play the body as much as he possibly and that includes driving lanes right down the middle of the ice or the most direct route to the net, regardless of how many opponents occupy those lanes. It is not uncommon to see him mixing it up around the net and making life hard for opposing goaltenders. He has a strong powerful stride and shows great balance on his skates and can also show off a strong shot from time to time.  He can lose sight of other options other than the net at times and that can cost him here and there.  Size/Strength  Very Good Skating   Very Good Puck Skills  Good Shot   Very Good Offensive Play  Good Defensive Play  Good Physical Play  Very Good Competitiveness Very Good Hockey Sense  Very Good
HP: The QMJHL draftee opted for the USNTDP for a season before leaving the national program for Dubuque after the 2012-2013 season. While with the national program he also represented Team USA at the 2013 U18’s, where he recorded one assist in six games during the tournament. Eiserman is a big, strong, physical power forward with the skill and skating ability to match. He is a heavy hitter, and is always looking to put a body on someone whenever given the chance. Some of the biggest hits viewed all season long came courtesy of Shane. High compete level at both ends of the ice, responsible defensively. He backchecks hard, always covers his assignment in the defensive zone, has good support, and is responsible with the puck in his own end. He always plays it safe and smart outleting the puck, and is very largely mistake-free in his own end. He’s a big body, and that combined with his high effort level leads to him winning most board battles. There are times where the effort level was in question, however, and was less consistent than you would like. Offensively, Shane has the skating ability, strength, and hands to bull his way through traffic. When he’s not bulldozing, he’s drawing defenders to him and dishing the puck off to teammates. He uses his line mates well and creates a lot of space for them and himself to operate. He often just simply overpowers defenders, plain and simple.  He has decent foot speed and mobility, but it could be improved. Once at full speed, though, he’s tough to stop. His offensive play did tail off a bit toward the end of the season, and he had a disappointing Clark Cup Playoff, registering only two assists in seven games. The dip was a bit concerning, as were the periods where it seemed like he could work harder, so it will be interesting to see how he responds at the University of New Hampshire next season. If he works hard and the effort is there, he could be a real good power forward at the NHL level, but the effort has to become much more consistent.
FC: A prototypical power forward, Eiserman has effective size and impressive skill with the puck. Eiserman is a very good skater with a powerful stride and highly effective acceleration coming down the wing. He is effective playing a north-south game, and likes to use his power and speed to take the puck down the wing and then find a lane to crash the net. Eiserman has a quick, powerful shot that he’ll use off the rush, and he is also very successful when driving the net from an outside lane. He does a good job finding his teammates off the rush, but there are times where his decision making with the puck fluctuates. He has a tendency to attempt to force the issue with the puck and will give it away or make a poor feed. Eiserman does a good job using his size both with and without the puck. He protects it well, and also does an exceptional job at getting in hard on the forecheck and banging players off the puck. Eiserman will return defensively, but at times, seems lost in his own zone and can improve his defensive game as well as his overall consistency. NHL POTENTIAL: Top-Nine Power Forward

7-189 Kelly Summers (DR 6’2 CCHL Carleton Place 56-17-43-60) Ranked: ISS 61 FC 66 HP 134 RLR 235
Taken well ahead of his rankings (excluding RLR), the blueliner, who may have skating issues to work on (ISS and FC have opposite opinions about it), but otherwise is thought well of.  He’ll play for Clarkson (NCAA) this upcoming season.
RLR: offers no scouting report on him
ISS: Possesses an excellent head for the game and makes smart decisions with the puck. A good skater with plus mobility and above-average play-making skills. Is an effective general with the man advantage and likes the puck on his stick. A reliable defensive zone player that can either carry the puck out thanks to his mobility and skating ability, or who can get the puck up quickly to his forwards. Plays with poise and confidence in all situations and can log a ton of minutes when required. Has a very high panic threshold when being pressured by opposing fore-checkers. Can be physical and has game in this regard, picked his spots to be physical especially on the offensive blue line when pinching. Front net presence was very good with a very active stick.  Size/Strength  Very Good Skating   Very Good Puck Skills  Very Good Shot   Very Good Offensive Play  Very Good Defensive Play  Good Physical Play  Average Competitiveness Good Hockey Sense  Very Good
HP: offers no scouting report on him (despite the ranking)
FC: Summers is a good skater with excellent pivots and lateral movement. Uses his skating ability to get out of trouble and has no problem handling the puck. Always seemed to have his head up. Summers moves the puck extremely well. Good tape-to-tape passes and doesn’t take unnecessary chances coming out of his zone. His point shots always seem to find their way to the net. Strong sense of when to pinch and when to back off. He uses his big frame effectively in the corners, tying up his competition and winning puck battles. Summers is not a player who will get into many fights, but he will not shy away from contact either. Makes smart plays in his own end and has good vision quarterbacking the power play. Challenges rushing players one on one and wins the battles. He also uses his frame to battle at the front of the net and does not get out of position looking for big hits. It’s impressive how much he has worked on his skating since the beginning of the year. He has clearly been working on his foot work and improving his overall speed. NHL POTENTIAL: Top-Six Two-Way Defenseman

7-190 Francis Perron (C/LW 6’0 QMJHL Rouyn-Noranda 68-16-39-55) Ranked: RLR 78 ISS 110 FC 145 HP n/r
Taken well after his usual rankings, the playmaker is knocked below mostly for his size (a dubious quality the further we get into advanced statistical analysis).  He’ll spend a couple of seasons in the Q before the team has to make a decision on him.
RLR: Smooth skater with soft hands and a quick release, especially from the off wing.  Slightly built, but willing to battle for loose pucks and heads into traffic.  More a playmaker than a scorer, and looks to pass first before finding his own shot.  Soft passing touch off both sides of the blade, and can feather saucers through traffic even in short areas.  Makes good reads in transition and sets up numerous odd-man rushes.  Just starting to come into his own and rapidly gained confidence over the season’s second half.  Impressed us with his agility and instinctive offensive mind – thinks outside the box.  Slender frame and will need to add loads of upper body strength to be able to battle more effectively in tight quarters and push through checks at the next level. Projection:  Versatile 3rd line winger. Style compares to:  Reilly Smith
ISS: The first thing that stands out about Perron is his smooth fluid stride, good quickness and edge use.  He is a player with good offensive upside; good 1 on 1 skill set and shot, good read/anticipation on the offensive side of the puck, plus sees the ice well and has above average playmaking ability. The biggest weakness in his game is the lack of a physical game and a willingness to play in traffic.  He plays mainly in open areas, seemed unwilling to compete and battle for pucks, and unwilling to compete and battle for space.  He did play in all situations for Rouyn-Noranda and does utilize his speed, quick feet and stick well on the penalty kill.   Size/Strength  Average Skating   Very Good Puck Skills  Good Shot   Good Offensive Play  Good Defensive Play  Average Physical Play  Average Competitiveness Average Hockey Sense  Good
HP: does not include him
FC: Perron is a small-framed, but skilled player. He is a really good skater, agile and shifty, not really powerful though and doesn’t have very good balance. Because of his frame, he is not a physical player. He will finish a check, but it doesn’t impact the game at all. He’s not the kind of guy to engage and he tries to avoid being hit as well. He plays at the point on the power play, where he displays really good, quick hands and nice vision. He can make good, accurate saucer passes and touch passes. Puts the puck into open space for teammates ahead of them being open, and can do so with pressure in his face. He has yet to find that shift-to-shift consistency, but has some flashes each and every game. He can finish plays as well as set them up. He is not a goal scorer per se as his shot is accurate, but not very hard. Perron is the kind of skilled guy who can become a late bloomer if he adds more weight and strength to his frame. He has a good skill set, but the transition to the next level is a question mark due to his size. NHL POTENTIAL: Top-Nine Playmaking Winger

Was it a good draft?  With three college-bound players it will be a long time before we know for certain–none of these players will be suiting up for the Sens or B-Sens in the near future.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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2 Comments

  1. A boring draft for the Sens. Not much flashy talent to pick up where they drafted. Interestingly, the Sens are still staying as far away as possible from Russians.

    • No Russians, no Finns, no Swiss, no anything other than Sweden–I put it down to their limited scouting budget. I see the haul as a lot of swings for the fences (other than Englund who should be able to play)


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