Ottawa Senators Draft Day Scenarios

UPDATE: Bryan Murray spoke to the media on Thursday and revealed how the organization is going to proceed.

http://senators.nhl.com/v2/ext/Audio/110623_BMurray.edit.mp3

Assistant GM Tim Murray

http://senators.nhl.com/v2/ext/Audio/110623_TMurray.MP3

We’ve heard it day after day how important this draft is for the Ottawa Senators.  The Senators possess a ton of draft picks and hold a surplus of young, talented defenceman that they can use to lure a potential trade partner.  Will they be able to convince the Oilers/Avs/Panthers/Devils or Isles to swap picks?  Will they stand pat?  Or will they opt to trade down and possibly acquire a NHL calibre player that has already proven himself?  Let’s explore all the options.

1) Trading up – There is no question that GM Bryan Murray would love to trade up.  Who wouldn’t?  It greatly enhances your chances of getting the player you want without worrying about what the other teams are going to do.  The only problem – convincing the teams ahead of you that its in their best interest to slip back. 

Murray acknowledged at the Draft Lottery that both the Oilers & Avalanche would probably not consider moving their picks.  Makes sense, why would they pass on those prime slots?  So, initially the trade partners would then be the Panthers, Devils & the Islanders.  But would moving up 1 or 2 slots be worth what you may have to give up?  Is the difference in talent that great?  Probably not.  So eliminate the Devils & Islanders and focus on the Panthers, a 3 slot jump and a team looking to improve their talent base.

Now back to the initial reason of trading up…GETTING THE PLAYER you want.  This is where it gets difficult.  Many people feel that the player Murray would trade up for would be Gabriel Landeskog.  However, there are reports that the Avalanche are high on him as well.  Trading with the Panthers before the draft would be a disaster if they were to premptively strike and watch as the Avs took their guy one spot before their own.     

So, unless Murray somehow strikes a deal with the Oilers or Avalanche before the draft, the only way I see him trading up and dealing with the Panthers is IF he knows that he can get Landeskog at 3.  A package that includes the No. 6 pick and one of Weircioch or Gryba might get that deal done. 

UPDATE: Ian Mendes on twitter has said that Bryan Murray has made an effort to trade up but the 5 teams ahead are not willing to move from their spots.

2) Staying put.  What’s wrong with No. 6?  In this draft, I don’t think anything.  Based on all the mock drafts and “expert analysis,” the Senators SHOULD end up with one of Sean Couturier, Jonathan Huberdeau or Ryan Strome.  Not too shabby.  All 3 project to be an offensive forward in the NHL, exactly what the Senators are looking for in their draft pick.  If the team’s scouts feel that the difference between Landeskog & one of these 3 is not that significant, expect the Senators to keep their surplus of riches and draft at 6. 

3) Trading (down) to acquire NHL players.  One of the good things about having all these draft picks is that if you can turn one or 2 of them into NHL players that have already established themselves in the league, you always have a couple more to fall back on.  The Senators aren’t perfect, far from it, and have multiple needs across the board.  If the team is given the opportunity to acquire a top-6 forward and the price is the No. 6 with a combination of prospects/roster players, I wouldn’t be surprised  if Murray pulls the trigger.  There are a few teams that find themselves in cap trouble and may be looking to dump salary.  Let’s say for instance, Philadelphia approaches Murray about Jeff Carter, long rumoured to be on the block.  If it takes the No. 6, a couple of roster players and a prospect, does Murray accept?  Most likely.  Also, what if a couple of teams slightly below Ottawa such as Winnipeg or Columbus offer a roster player or highly touted prospect to swap spots?  A player moving up the rankings like Mika Zibanejad may allow the team to improve the roster, while still drafting a tremendous talent.  This is the least likely scenario to happen in my opinion, but if the Senators are not able to draft one of “their guys”, I doubt Murray hesitates to pick up the phone.

UPDATE: Jeff Carter has been dealt to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Jakub Voracek, a 1st round & 3rd round pick.

General Manager Bryan Murray and the rest of the Senators staff have multiple options as to how to proceed with this year’s NHL Entry draft.  This draft marks the first of the so-called “rebuild” and will provide even more depth for this organization.  No matter which route management chooses, Sens Army should watch closely as their team is about to add some more pieces to the puzzle.

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