Ottawa Senators Draft Preview

One of the fun things about the draft is making predictions.  Despite the Ottawa organisation having many of the same pieces since Bryan Murray became GM (back in 2007), deciding on who they will pick is a devilish task.  Due to various constraints on my time I didn’t make predictions for last year’s draft, but I’ve managed to squeeze it in this time around.

The framework of how I’ll do this is: 1) look at Ottawa’s trends, 2) use my master list to determine who will be available, 3) provide potential options for each pick and predict which is the best.


Craig Smith quite rightly looks at picks after Tim Murray left for Buffalo (although since that was mid-season his fingerprints remain on the 2014 draft; I made a comparison between Tim’s drafts and Ottawa’s not long ago).  With that said there are older trends that indicate the preferences of the Sens since Bryan Murray was hired as GM.  Without further ado, and skipping over the 2007 draft as that’s John Muckler’s draft in all but name, here’s what we have:
2008: Sweden 3, WHL 2, BCHL/CCHL 2
2009: USHL/USHS 3, Sweden 2, WHL 1, QMJHL 1, OHL 1, NCAA 1
2010: QMJHL 1, WHL 1, USHL 1, Sweden 1
2011: OHL 3, Sweden 2, WHL 2, USHL 2, QMJHL 1
2012: OHL 2, USHL/USHS 2, QMJHL 1, WHL 1, Sweden 1
2013: Sweden 2, WHL 1, OHL 1, QMJHL 1, NCAA 1, EJHL 1
2014: USHL/USHS 2, QMJHL 1, Sweden 1, CCHL 1
2015: QMJHL 3, USHL/USHS 3, Sweden 2

NCAA/USHL/USHS/EJHL 16 (0-4-1-2-2-2-2-3)
Sweden 14 (3-2-1-2-1-2-1-2)
QMJHL 9 (0-1-1-1-1-1-1-3)
WHL 8 (2-1-1-2-1-1-0-0)
OHL 7 (0-1-0-3-2-1-0-0)
BCHL/CCHL 3 (2-0-0-0-0-0-1-0)

Note: Ottawa has not drafted a player under 6’0 since 2011

Notable organisation changes:
-Pierre Dorion was added after the 2007 draft as head scout (arriving from the Rangers)
-Tim Murray left mid-season in 2014, having come to Ottawa at the same time as Dorion (and also from the Rangers)
-Swedish scout Anders Forsberg (now with Buffalo) was with the org for the 08-10 drafts


In terms of CHL activity the QMJHL has remained steady while both the WHL and OHL have fallen off–I think some of this (particularly the WHL) is purely coincidence as head scout Bob Lowes is a western guy; there’s been a consistent emphasis on American leagues; the org always picks at least one player from Sweden, but no players from any other European league outside of Sweden and no Russians in any context (for example, the Sens gave up the chance to draft Vladimir Tarasenko to acquire David Rundblad in 2010).

What can we expect?  We’re guaranteed at least one QMJHL player, one Swede (what other option do the European scouts have?), and one player from the various US systems.  With that said, here are my predictions:

1-12 – the rankings puts Clayton Keller here, but given his size (5’10) either defenseman Dante Fabbro or Jake Bean (Smith’s choice above) are strong possibilities (despite being on the short side for defensemen, both around 6’0)–both are western players (BCHL and WHL) and I’m inclined to agree with Smith’s pick
2-42 – rankings have WHL defenseman Lucas Johansen here, but I don’t see back-to-back WHL blueliners (or blueliners in general) being selected, so Taylor Raddysh (the OHL rightwinger) is my guess
3-80 – I have another defenseman here (OHLer Sean Day), but I think QMJHL center/RW Maxime Fortier (who isn’t much further down) is more likely despite his size (at 5’10 he would break the 6’0 obsession)
4-103 – WHL center Beck Malenstyn slots here, although I think 6’5 WHLer Hudson Elynuik is more likely (Swedish forward Jesper Bratt is a possibility, but at 5’10 this is a bit of a stretch)
5-133 – 6’7 OHL Belarussian overage defenseman Stepan Falkovksy slots here, but I don’t see him being taken (he’s almost Russian and his numbers aren’t that impressive); USHL defenseman Samuel Rossini is next up, but USDP RW William Lockwood looks more likely to me (the former has traditional size, but his numbers aren’t remarkable)
6-163 – USHS forward Michael Graham slots here, but we’re due for at least one Swede so I like 6’3 overage defenseman Filip Berglund

This leaves me with:
Jake Bean (WHL)
Taylor Raddysh (OHL)
Maxime Fortier (QMJHL)
Hudson Elynuik (WHL)
William Lockwood (USDP)
Filip Berglund (Sweden)

This is a bit light on the US-system side of things and includes two players below the Sens usual height-minimum (Fortier and Lockwood), but it’s close enough to organisational trends to be reasonable.  Ottawa is notorious for taking players who aren’t well known or regarded however, so at least one pick is likely to be a player no one expects.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)


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