Oops, He Did It Again, and Again, and Again…
It might go down as the draft that saved the Senators.
In 2008, the Sens weren’t thinking re-build, at least not openly, for fear of a Melnyk bomb threat, the Sens went into the draft with an eye on next season, not 2011/12.
But, that being said, Murray, in one draft, made some of this teams most important managerial decisions, thanks to outstanding scouting.
Erik Karlsson, a player that might prove to be a truly elite defenseman, and franchise player, was chosen 16th over-all, after Murray pulled a trade with Nashville to land their 16th pick for Ottawa’s 18th and 70th picks.
Then came Wiercioch, a player yet to prove himself an NHL’er, let alone an impact player, but a solid prospect none-the-less, good enough to make Rundblad available in order to land Turris. As a defenseman Patrick has time to develop, and general opinion has him making the NHL, but all bets are off after that. But, at 42nd over-all, just being a regular NHL’er is a major accomplishment at the draft table. Unfortunately he suffered a severe neck injury earlier in the season and it remains TBD how he will respond to the frightening incident.
With the 79th pick the Ottawa Senators select Zach Smith. Wow, talk about a great pick. Smith, so early in his career already with 113 NHL games played, 18 goals, 15 assists and averaging over fifteen minutes of ice-time. Add to that a Calder Cup ring and Smith defines a late round gem.
And at 109th? Andre Petersson. No, this kid has yet to break into the NHL, but he will, book it. Last year he was stalled with a nagging back injury, which was re-habbed here in Ottawa, and has since been a solid contributor at the AHL level. He was an impact player in Sweden, and will be here in the NHL. Wait until this kid gets some exposure to the speedy NHL, with Turris or ZBad feeding him the puck…turn on the red light.
Another late round sleeper is Derek Grant, an NCAA track prospect who has made an impact in his first full season in the AHL with 12 points in 25 games, on an injury plagued team. Grant has been in the shadows of this clubs other high-end offensive prospects, but he has been touted by the Murray’s as a player still showing legitimate NHL potential. At 6-3, and getting his first taste of pro hockey, expect this kid to get a real chance to grow into a bottom six role, or more.
The Borocop, Mark Borowiecki, a hulking, determined, nasty and reliable defenseman able to do it all from the blue-line in. Some believe, if not for the play of Cowen, Boro would have started the season in the NHL, and is still only an injury away from making his NHL debut. All this from a 139th over-all selection.
Apart from Karlsson and Smith, these selections have yet to break into the NHL, but to have 6 players, from one draft, to still be showing legit NHL potential, s simply astounding.
Murray may be a bit of a gong show on the trade front, but as a team builder…he’s a rock-star.