With the draft in the books it’s time to take a look at how the Ottawa Senators did. Just like the previous two drafts the Sens tried to land a 2nd round pick and were unable to do so. As with the recent Murray trends, the team went local with an Ottawa 67, picked a player from the QMJHL, selected from the WHL, USHL, Sweden, and picked a player nearly off the map. I’ve compiled all the scouting reports I can find below. Beyond that I look at my predictions. Here’s who was picked:
First Round – Cody Ceci 15th overall
Third Round – Chris Driedger 76th overall, Jarrod Maidens 82nd overall (pick acquired from Nashville in the Mike Fisher trade)
Fourth Round – Timothy Boyle 106th overall
Fifth Round – Robbie Baillargeon 136th overall
Sixth Round – Francois Brassard 166th overall
Seventh Round – Mikael Wikstrand 196th overall
Acronyms: ISS (International Scouting Service), RLR (Red Line Report), FC (Future Considerations), HP (Hockey Prospects), McK (Mckeen’s), THN (The Hockey News), CSNA (Central Scouting North American skater), CSNAG (CS North American goalie), CSE (CS European skater)
Cody Ceci (DR, 6’2, DOB 1993, OHL 64-17-43-60)
Draft rankings: CSNA #6, THN/ISS #10, FC #11, McK #12, HP #13, TSN #14, RLR #19
The highest scoring draft-eligible CHL defenseman this year, Ceci is yet another pick from Ottawa’s backyard, the OHL’s 67s. This is the third time Bryan Murray has drafted a 67, following in the footsteps of last year’s Shane Prince and 2009’s Corey Cowick. A three-year veteran in the OHL, Ceci played internationally for Canada’s U-18 team in 2010-11 and was a late cute for this year’s World Junior roster. Tim Murray said Ceci was in their top-five.
ISS’ scouting report: they list his size/strength, skating, puck skills, shot, defensive play, and hockey sense as Very Good, his offensive play as Excellent, and his physical play and competitiveness as Good. They write that his strenghts are his vision on the puck, a heavy/accurate shot, quick feet and can jump into the play, and smart own zone play. “Weaknesses: Physical play & Aggressiveness low in zone. Skill: Excellent all-around game while showing intelligent/creative plays on both sides of the puck. Scouting Report: Cody plays a dynamic two way game. He continually shows his ability to shutdown the opposition using his speed and smarts. This season he showcased his superior offensive talents where he quarterbacked the Ottawa 67’s offense. Cody has shown strengths on both sides of the puck from anticipation in laying the big hit and awareness in rushing the puck up ice. Ceci has tons of confidence on the backend and although being able to shutdown top opponents he has definitely added a high risk, high reward aspect to his game. When he keeps it simple in his own end he is generally more effective. Headsy D-man with tremendous upside. Possesses the right attitude to continue to develop his game. NHL Potential: Big time Upside – top 4 who can play all situations. Style compares to: Brent Burns.”
TSN’s Craig Button writes: “Cody is the prototypical work horse player. He goes about the game playing in all of the important situations and at the critical times, seemingly effortless but with an incredible effectiveness and efficiency that goes unheralded but is ultimately important to winning. He plays a game that is rooted in his razor sharp attention to detail, strong positioning and an awareness of what he can do to shift the balance to his team’s favour. He does it in so many ways; eliminating opponents in defensive situations, getting the puck up the ice, either by passing or skating, jumping into the attack when required, running the power play with a combination of passing and shooting and helping kill penalties with whatever sacrifices are necessary. He possesses all of the requisite skills, physical and mental, as well as a determination to make a difference in the game in some way, shape or form. He is a coach’s dream in that when he is on the ice, the game is under control and your team has an increased chance of success.”
FC’s scouting report: “STRENGTHS: Ceci’s progression this season has been outstanding. From our initial viewing at the NHL R&D to now, he may have been the one player who has grown the most all year. His mobility, with a focus on his lateral movement and acceleration, has really improved as well. There has been a big jump in Ceci’s mobility and his footwork. He looks to have added some speed to his game. Always known as a strong defense first defenseman, Ceci is now showing that he has some nteresting offensive upside. He was aggressive with the puck, skating it out of his end and either passing it off to a teammate or skating it into the offensive zone. He has one of the strongest shots in the league, both accurate and heavy. He has smart positioning in his own end. He has really improved his puck skills and is showing the ability to create offense from the back end. He has the size and strength to consistently win puck battles down low at his own end. He blocks shots and closes off passing lanes with positioning and his active stick-handling. He shows a strong anticipation for when it is time to pinch into the zone for added offensive pressure. His combination of size, mobility and puck skills make him an intriguing player. WEAKNESSES: His physicality has still not shown even though he is a six-foot-three, 210-pound defenseman. He shies away from destroying smaller opponents, which is admirable, but not if it is for a lack of aggressiveness. There is some debate as to whether his offensive skills will translate in the NHL to the points we are seeing him put up in junior as he is not overly creative or puck savvy. SCOUT QUOTE: “The big blueliners progression this season has been outstanding. From my initial viewing at the NHL R&D to now, he may be the one player who has grown the most all year.” NHL POTENTIAL: Top four two-way defenseman.”
Here’s HP’s scouting report: “Cody’s skating isn’t perfect by any means, but he moves fairly smoothly up the ice. His first few steps are far from great, but he has good overall mobility for a player his size. He generates good speed and his puck rushing ability is excellent. He’s very calm with the puck and intelligent in the decisions he makes. He reacts quickly to the movement of the puck and is extremely powerful down low. He clears the front of the net, will block shots and has great positioning. Cody’s physical game requires some explaining. He doesn’t have a mean streak and doesn’t go looking to pound opposing players enough. He separates the forward from the puck when challenged. When they try to go around him, he forces them outside fairly well, and as we mentioned earlier, his mobility allows him to stay with rushing forwards. Cody is effectively physical because he’s build so solid and is so strong, he could destroy players along the boards, but that is just not an aspect of his game he seems to get excited about. While he’s a solid defensive defenseman, he shows a lot of offensive upside as an offensive defenseman as well. Cody is the anchor on the 67’s power play and has a cannon for a shot. It comes in low and hard and is extremely effective. He moves the puck well, picking the right options with limited time to process the situation. What is really impressive, is he seems to have great instincts and recognition of when to pinch on the opposing blueline. We’ve seen him score a few goals utilizing this ability. Cody is one of the safer prospects in the draft. He has great size and is effective in every area of the game. He is one of the most NHL ready players in the draft and it should be interesting to see where he gets selected. We don’t realistically expect him to stick in the NHL until he completes at least one more year of junior, and perhaps a season in the AHL.”
Chris Driedger (GL, 6’3, DOB 1994, WHL 24-12-3 2.80 .896)
Draft Rankings: ISS 3rd rnd, CSNAG #13, RLR #129, FC #155, HP #185
A slightly off-the-wall pick (only ISS had him as a third-rounder), taken shortly after Daniel Altshuller was scooped up by Carolina. After spending last year as the back-up with Tri-City, Driedger carried the mail for Calgary this year. He played in the U-17 tournament in 2010-11, but has no international experience this season. There’s no question he’s going back for another year in the WHL (Pierre Dorion implied he was a project while Tim Murray said he’s extremely athletic). George Fargher, the scout most responsible for the pick, said he thought Driedger was 3-4 years away from being NHL-ready.
Here’s ISS’ scouting report: they list all his attributes as Very Good, then write: “While Matt Murray got most of the attention for his play during the Top Prospect Game, Driedger was equally as good, if not better and should have cemented himself in the top 5 goalie talk for the draft. Driedger is already very good, but has shown incredible development in his ability to track the puck and adjust to rebounds this season. He still has a ton to learn and seems eager to put in the work to do so.”
All FC’s has to say it: “A hot and cold puck stopper who shows flashes of potential; he needs to be more consistent.”
Here’s HP’s scouting report: “A big goaltender who showed some flashes of brilliance as the season progressed. Driedger split the regular season with his goaltending partner, and was able to have a fairly good season for Calgary. Driedger plays a controlled style. He is mostly a butterfly style, but has shown some good display of athleticism when required. He moves from post to post at an above average level, and has a tendency to dive when there is a quick pass being made. He has to improve on his quickness to be more effective. He has average puck tracking abilities, and must get better at looking through traffic to stop shots. He is a little slow at reacting to plays when there is a screen in front of him. One of his strengths is his rebound control. He is very good at steering shots to the corners and making sure that opponents do that get many opportunities to try to bang home a rebound. He keeps his stick active to direct those pucks away from danger. One other area of improvement would be his puck handling skills. He is not very good at moving the puck to his defensemen, and is almost a liability every time he goes behind the net to stop a dump in. Driedger still has a lot of improvements to make, but looks well on his way to potentially become a good goaltender as a pro. He certainly has the size to move up the ladder, but needs to put everything in his game together to do so.”
Jarrod Maidens (C/LW, 6’0, DOB 1994, OHL 28-12-11-23)
Draft Rankings: CSNA #35, THN #38, McK #47, TSN #48, ISS #58, FC #61, HP #74, RLR #81
Had his season ended by a nasty concussion which is probably what caused him to slide down so far in the draft. He gets a lot of flattering comparisons to other players, although it’s sometimes hard to match specific comments to the overall assessments. He’s also someone I’d expect to be returned to junior hockey. Pierre Dorion flat out called him a pro (meaning in the future) and said his health was fine. Greg Royce, the scout most responsible for him, said they liked his competitiveness and projects him as a third line player. He’s not expected to attend the development camp.
ISS’ scouting report: they list his skating, puck skills, shot, defensive play, and physical play as Very Good, his competitiveness as Excellent, and his size/strength, offensive play, and hockey sense as Good. They give his strengths as compete level, leadership/character, defensive awareness, and accurate shot/quick hands. They write: “Weaknesses: Continue to add strength & Mobility Skill: Very good puck handling and offensive instincts with incredible grit. Scouting Report: The kind of player that every coach wants on his team. Extremely driven, effective in all zones while being most dangerous from the hashmarks in. Unfortunately for scouts Maidens got injuried and missed the final 44 games of 2011-2012 season with Concussion like symptoms. Center with a powerful stride, excellent speed once he’s moving, and a strong heavy shot. Plays a meat and potatoes type game defensively while showing a high degree of smarts in the offensive end, knows where his teammates will be and thinks ahead of the play. Competes from start to finish. Communicates to his teammates and is a natural leader. Looking forward to seeing what he will achieve when he is healthy next season. NHL Potential: Top 6 – grit and leadership mixed with offensive upside. Style compares to: Mike Richards.”
FC’s scouting report: “A strong power centre with goal scorer’s instincts. Not a pylon but could use work on his first few steps and edge work for quick turning. Has a very deceiving skating stride that generates a very good amount of straight line speed. His shot is his biggest strength as it is pro-caliber and dangerous when he gets into the offensive zone. Uses his size to protect the puck and drive into the greasy areas for a scoring chance. He thinks the game quickly and shows solid maturity in his overall game. Wants to win and shows the work ethic and leadership to take charge and lead by example. Could use some added strength but uses what he has to battle for pucks and bring a hard forecheck. He is not a fighter but will stand up for himself and is projected to play a power forward game at the next level. His draft season was not what he wanted it to be to say the least as he struggled with concussion symptoms all year. His potential is first round worthy but injury concerns push his stock down. NHL POTENTIAL: Top six two-way forward.”
HP’s scouting report: “When Jarrod Maidens was selected 4th Overall, he was expected to be an impact player for the Attack as he developed. However up to this point it’s been a bit of a reverse role than most rookies. Due to a concussion, Jarrod was only able to participate in 28 games this season. However Maidens’ biggest moment with the Attack likely came while still in his rookie season. Jarrod scored the OHL Championship winning goal in overtime to help the Attack capture their first ever OHL Championship. Jarrod is a good skater for someone over 6 ft. tall. He rushes the puck effectively and particularly when he’s on Left Wing, he drives the wing hard, protecting the puck towards the net. He has a good shot, with a very quick release on it. While his puck protection is good and he seems to absorb contact well, showing good balance, he doesn’t seem to engage much in the physical game. His willingness to throw hits is inconsistent at best and he does take the long route to the puck, trying to win it without taking the initial hit. He has size, but overall plays a little smaller. We’d like to see him add some more muscle and physicality to his game, as he needs to be more aggressive to maximize his potential. His skating, hands and shot will make him a valuable prospect, but we feel he could drop more than his skill would suggest, due to how much hockey he missed with his concussion.”
Timothy Boyle (DR, 6’1, DOB 1993, USHS 24-6-12-18)
Draft Rankings: CSNA #208
The most enigmatic pick by the Sens. No one has a scouting report on him, although he’s Brian Boyle‘s brother. He’s coming off a down year at Noble & Greenborough and will be playing for Union College in the NCAA. A long term project, it will be interesting to see what he can do at this year’s development camp (if he attends). Pierre Dorion said they decided to draft Boyle after seeing him play with other players they were scouting and feeling he was the best player on the ice. Tim Murray expects him to play out his collegiate career. Bob Janecyk (the scout most responsible for him) said he was a skilled guy who can skate and has good size.
Robbie Baillargeon (CR, 6’0, DOB 1993, USHL 54-14-34-48)
Draft Rankings: CSNA #50, ISS #69, HP #71, THN #73, RLR #76, FC #107
Another player whose stock fell during the draft, he’s coming off a strong rookie season in the USHL after dominating at Cushing Academy. He’s scheduled to attend Boston University and much like Boyle above I’d expect him to do so. Tim Murray implied he would play the full four years in college.
ISS’ scouting report: they list his skating, puck skills, and hockey sense as Very Good, while his shot is Good and his size/strength is Average. They write: “A quality player that makes his teammates better. He doesn’t look like much physically, but he’s a real playmaker who is a couple of steps ahead of everyone else out there. Although he has not set the USHL scoring charts on fire, he was able to showcase good offensive potential for the next level. He is creative and skilled enough to execute in difficult circumstances. He is not strong and that does force him to rely on his skating and stick skills too heavily.”
FC’s scouting report: “A fleet footed offensive minded forward. His feet generate good speed and are able to make lateral cuts very quickly. His skating ability and soft, creative hands adds considerably to his ability to produce offensive chances for his line. Reads the game well with strong anticipation and vision. Makes strong, crisp passes and has the moves to beat defenders and goalies one-on-one. His shot, while not overpowering by any means, is accurate and off his stick quickly. Defensively he has the ability and smart to know where his check is and what to do to close of the lane but does not always execute from lack of trying. Other times he looks like a true two-way force. His body language can be problematic as he shows his frustration playing with less skilled linemates from time to time. He will need to add considerable strength as he is often out-muscled when engaging in puck battles. Committed to Boston University. NHL POTENTIAL: Second line offensive forward.”
HP’s scouting report: “Baillergeron joined in the Indiana Ice this season and is a Boston University commit for the 2013 season. Considering he only really played secondary minutes in Indiana this season, his numbers are extremely impressive. What sticks out about Baillargeon is his entire offensive game. He can really do it all in the offensive zone. He has the ability to finesse, or to play a power game, which allows him to be very dynamic. Moreover, his high level finishing and distributing abilities while being able to make elusive plays. He is lanky right now, but is still strong on the puck. In fact, he has a very good frame to develop into. In terms of improvement, he needs to work on his first few steps. His skating is not a setback by any means, but improving the first few steps will really help him. Obviously, he must also add some strength to his frame before entering BU in 2013. His defensive play is not perfect, but has come a long way. Overall, his first USHL season has been quite impressive and with his offensive upside we won’t be surprised if he gets selected earlier than some may think.”
Francois Brassard (GL, 6’1, DOB 1994, QMJHL 20-10-3, 2.80, .905)
Draft Rankings: CSNAG #15, RLR #120, ISS 5th rnd, HP #191
One of the goaltenders brought to Ottawa prior to the draft and a local product, I have to see him as insurance in case Driedger does not turn out. He’s projected as a backup however, so there may simply be different expectations of him from the organisation. He will undoubtedly return to the Q next season. Tim Murray called him a raw talent, but wasn’t nearly as effusive about him as Driedger. Trent Mann, the scout most responsible for his selection, emphasized how much of a battler he was.
HP’s scouting report: “The back-up to Louis Domingue, Brassard saw his fair share of action this season and responded well. The first thing we noticed with Brassard is his composure when he’s between the pipes. He is very calm and that’s always a good sign coming from a young goaltender. He excels with his butterfly style and has good lateral movements. He covers the bottom of the net well with his pads even though he has a tendency to go on his knees too quick. Brassard also reads the play well and is able to follow the puck through traffic. He needs to develop his glove side a little bit more and would benefit a lot from challenging the shooters more as he plays deep in his crease. His upside is not high end at this point but his abilities, along with composure and mental toughness makes him a good flyer to take later in the draft.”
Mikael Wikstrand (DL, 6’1, DOB 1993, Allsvenskan 47-2-1-3)
Draft Rankings: CSE #23, ISS/THN #85, FC #113, HP #167, RLR #191
Continuing the trend of players who slipped down the draft, Wikstrand (I’ve seen the name spelled “Vikstrand” as well) is the token Swede for the Sens this year. He was part of Sweden’s U-18 squad last year and spent most of this past season playing in Sweden’s tier-2 professional league. At the moment the plan is for him to return to Mora and develop. From the scouting reports he looks like a hit or miss prospect. Pierre Dorion believes he’ll be on Sweden’s World Junior squad next season. Tim Murray called him well-rounded saying he does everything well. Vaclav Burda, the scout most responsible for his selection, emphasized his skating. Hey and fellow scout Mikko Ruutu also liked that he was able to handle himself in the men’s league. They want to see him work on his physicality.
ISS’ scouting report: they list his size/strength, skating, and shot as Good, while his puck skills and hockey sense are Average. They write: “A good mobile, two-way defender that moves the puck effectively. Vikstrand accelerates well in all directions and exhudes maturity, already having played over 75 pro level games in Sweden. He stands out most in situations when he has a little bit of extra time and space to make a play, such as the PP- but proves to be capable in 5 on 5 situations as well. He has good upper body strength & battles hard along the boards & can throw the odd big hit here and there.”
FC’s scouting report: “A smart and safe two-way defenseman. Skates well with good speed and quick feet but is not overly dynamic. Has nice vision and makes strong breakout passes. Can get his point shot off quickly and on target. Defends well with an active stick and strong body positioning, closing gaps quickly and blocking off passing lanes. He does many things very well, and is a smart defensive player coupled with decent puck moving skills. However, he’s not extremely physical, and he does not possess much in the way of a high offensive upside. His cool and calm all-around game and the confidence he brings to his blueline are like what you see in a ten year veteran. Might be more ready for pro hockey than many others in this draft out of Sweden, but the upside is certainly not as high as some. He will need to add some more strength over the summer to have a shot at cracking an NHL lineup. NHL POTENTIAL: Bottom pairing two-way defenseman.”
My predictions went down in flames for the most part, although I did guess two of the seven picks and in some cases they selected players I did not think would still be available. Here’s a review:
1-15 – I thought Hampus Lindholm would be the pick here or, in his absence, Derrick Pouliot or Olli Maatta. Only the latter was available when the Sens picked, but they clearly had Ceci ahead of the Finnish blueliner (who was not expected to be available at this point).
3-76 I had Calle Andersson listed here, with James Melindy, Dylan Blujus, or Baillargeon as alternatives; Andersson was available as were all my alternatives except Blujus, but the Sens went with their first goaltender Dreidger
3-82 I had Esa Lindell here, but he was taken as was my alternative Mitchell Moroz; Maidens was not supposed to be available this late
4-106 I had Erik Karlsson listed here, but he was already gone; Kevin Roy was my alternative, but he too was gone; Boyle was not a player I would have guessed the Sens would pick
5-136 I had Daniel Altshuller here, but he was taken in the third round; Baillargeon was not supposed to be here (but was considered above)
6-166 I had Carter Rigby here who went undrafted; my alternative was Brassard who the Sens picked (I did not guess they would draft two goaltenders)
7-196 I had Mike McKee as the pick, but he was long gone; my alternative Zane Jones went undrafted; Wikstrand was not supposed to be available here