The Ottawa Senators made some noise late in the first round of the NHL entry draft. After selecting Mika Zibanejad with the 6th overall pick, the Senators waited for the 21st pick to roll around.
I pause this post for a little bit of editorializing. Remember the selection of Brian Lee in 2005? I certainly do. I remember Ottawa sitting with the #9 pick, and San Jose picking Devon Setoguchi with #8, and being elated that Ottawa could select defenseman Mark Staal. Well John Muckler steps up and picks this kid out of a Minnesota High School who looked like he was 12 years old, named Brian Lee. I was dejected, and had a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach. Fast forward to 2009, Ottawa again had the 9th pick. With dynamic defenseman Ryan Ellis still on the board, Bryan Murray opted for Jared Cowen instead. Again I was disappointed.
As it turns out I was right on the Lee/Staal feeling, and the jury is still out on the Cowen/Ellis feeling I had, as neither has played in the NHL yet. Back to last night.
As the picks approached the 21 pick, and with bruising winger Tyler Biggs on the board, I was counting down the picks and willing teams picking in the 19 and 20 spots to avoid Biggs, because as I said before the draft, he is the exact element the Ottawa club needs. As the wish was granted, I thought Biggs was a no-brainer in that spot. Originally I thought he might last a few more picks, into the late 20’s but with the rankings the way they were and how it progressed, I knew he wouldn’t get past Brian Burke and the Leafs at #25. Now was the time to grab the emerging power forward. Ottawa stepped to the podium and selected not Biggs, but Stefan Noesen from the Plymouth Whalers. Noesen is described as a hard working, two way centre who makes good decisions. Sounds a lot like Mika Zibanejad to me, so it seemed a little redundant.
Sure enough, Brian Burke then stepped in and traded up with the Ducks to get the 22nd pick and of course the Leafs selected Biggs, so not only do the Senators not have the huge Milan Lucic-type winger on their team, but they will be playing against him 6 times a year.
I think Murray dropped the ball on that one, but only time will tell. Noesen was ranked 34th, so he most likely would have been available later in the draft. I was not near twitter when that selection was made, but I can imagine a collective “who?” coming from Sens Army.
Murray then made some more noise as he traded the 35th and 48th picks from the second round to Detroit in order to move up to the 25th spot, where the Senators made Matt Puempel of the Peterborough Petes their 3rd-first round selection of the night. Puempel is described as the best pure scorer in the draft, so eventually he could patrol one of the wings with Spezza or Zibanejad. Foot speed is an issue, but he plays well in the goalmouth area and scores dirty goals, which is a good sign.
The complete list of first round selections can be found HERE courtesy NHL.com.
It was also a big night for trades as some big-name players and some big contracts were moved:
- San Jose acquired D Brent Burns and a 2nd round pick next summer from the Minnesota Wild for RW Devon Setoguchi, F Charlie Coyle and the 28th overall pick (C Zach Phillips)
- Brian Campbell and his albatross contract (5 years, $35+ Million left) were sent to Florida, with F Rostislav Olesz going to the Hawks. This move was made to help Florida get to the salary floor for next season
- Robin Regehr waived his no trade clause and accepted a move from Calgary to Buffalo. The deal is not complete, but is thought to also return F Ales Kotalik to Buffalo.
- Earlier in the day, Toronto acquired D John-Michael Liles from Colorado for a 2nd round pick in 2012 that was acquired from Boston in the Tomas Kaberle deal.
- A deal sending Ryan Smyth to Edmonton for Gilbert Brule is rumoured to be complete but is not yet official, as there was some dispute about the conditions involving a 4th round pick that would be sent to Los Angeles.
All in all, an eventful first round. Hopefully the Senators scouting staff saw something in Stefan Noesen that others didn’t in ranking him so much later, but adding 3 talented forwards in the first round has to be considered a success.
But I really wanted to see Biggs in a Senators uniform, and that image of him in a Leafs sweater will be my lasting impression of the night.
Rounds 2-7 continue today and as it stands now, the Senators still have 8 selections remaining, starting with the 61st pick, the last of the 2nd round.
Thanks for reading and as always, comments are welcomed.
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Tags: Brent Burns Brian Burke Brian Campbell Brian Lee Bryan Murray Devon Setoguchi Gilber Brule Jared Cowen John Muckler John-Michael Liles Mark Staal Matt Puempel Mika Zibanejad NHL Draft Ottawa Senators Robin Regehr Ryan Ellis Ryan Smyth Stefan Noesen Tomas Kaberle Tyler Biggs