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A lot of focus for the Ottawa Senators’ faithful has been on what player the club will select with the No. 3 overall pick in the NHL draft.
But, there will be no time for the club’s scouting staff to celebrate after taking either winger Quinton Byfield of the Sudbury Wolves or forward Tim Stuetzle of Mannheim in the Deutsch Elite League with the No. 3 pick.
Not long after the Detroit Red Wings make the No. 4 pick, the Senators will be back at microphone with their own pick at No. 5 and there isn’t going to be any shortage of debate. The decision will depend on where the Wings go with their pick, but general manager Pierre Dorion wasn’t tipping his hand on what the club might do.
The Senators know they need to get these selections right if this organization is going to get back to respectability.
“We’re going to draft the best player that’s going to help us win as we move forward through this plan,” said Dorion on a conference call with reporters Wednesday. “We have a lot of needs. We’ve finished in 30th, 31st and 30th place over the last three years so we have a lot of needs. We have a lot of prospects coming, but we’re going to draft (a player) who we feel is going to help us win in the near future.”
You can pick any name out of the hat at No. 5.
Saginaw centre Cole Perfetti, Erie defenceman Jamie Drysdale, Swedish wingers Lucas Raymond and Alexander Holtz are considered candidates. So is U.S. development team defenceman Jake Sanderson, who’s headed to the University of North Dakota and may play with Ottawa prospect Jacob-Bernard Docker if the NCAA season is held and he’s an interesting option as well.
“We’re very well aware of who’s being paired with who especially when it comes to our prospects,” Dorion said. “Jake Sanderson is one of the better defencemen in this draft and there’s a lot of very good defencemen in this draft. He’s someone that we did interview along with a lot of other defencemen.
“We have a good feel for him, we’ve seen him play a lot and wherever he falls in the draft we know he’s going to be a good NHL player down the road.”
And, then there’s the whole possibility of making a deal.
The Senators have been studying the goaltending market because there are no guarantees Anders Nilsson will be ready for camp. He’s still feeling the effects of a concussion he suffered Dec. 16 against the Florida Panthers and hasn’t been on the ice.
There’s no shortage of goalies available and the Senators have studied the marketplace to see what’s available. The likes of Pittsburgh’s Matt Murray, Carolina’s Petr Mrazek, Joonis Korpisalo of Columbus and Toronto’s Frederik Andersen are among those available. The club has four second round picks but doesn’t plan to use all of them and would like to bring in some veterans with a couple of those selections.
“We’re going to look at all options on this front and see what’s best for the team and the goalies themselves,” Dorion said.
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