Happy Draft Day Sens fans! For many of us, today feels just like Christmas morning and the Senators certainly will keep us excited throughout the course of the night. With the 15th overall selection in todays draft the Sens sit in an interesting position that could see them trade up, trade down, trade out or keep the middle of the draft selection.
First things first, the man on everyones mind in Ottawa is Rick Nash as rumours began swirling this week of the Senators showing potential interest in the skilled power forward from the Columbus Blue Jackets. Bryan Murray confirmed those rumours in an interview this morning stating that the Sens are “very much in the thick of it” with regards to Nash but would not speculate on any offers or players involved. Many sources have indicated that a Nash deal to Ottawa would involve Nick Foligno and prospect Mika Zibenejad whom the Sens selected 6th overall in the 2011 draft. The deal would also include one of the Senators highly touted goaltenders Ben Bishop or Robin Lehner. While this deal is paying a lot for Nash, a player who’s only been to the playoffs once in his career, the thought of him playing on a line with Jason Spezza is rather exciting. If these rumoured players are indeed what it will take to get the Columbus Captain Nash, my take is to bite the bullet and make the deal. Zibenejad has shown dominating skill in the World Juniors and should be a very good NHL player one day, but the skill and size Nash brings is potentially unmatched by any other big forward in the league. Foligno would be another Senators player who would be tough to part with but as an RFA (Restricted Free Agent), he will be earning at least a 10% raise and will get a good chunk of cash following the David Jones signing in Colorado, potentially more than the Sens are willing to pay him. Finally if either Bishop or Lehner is included in the deal it will not be the largest loss for the club, seeing as how they have two very sturdy young goalies, trading one seems inevitable. The rumoured dealings for Nash of course all depends on whether or not the star forward would want to come to Ottawa, because with his No-Trade Clause he controls the final fate of where he ends up.
If the Senators fail on Nash they may take a run at Anaheim Ducks forward Bobby Ryan. Ryan would cost a certain amount more given his youth but would be a player that Ottawa could build around for many years. Bryan Murray indicated in his press conference this morning he has not held any discussions with Anaheim about Ryan but feels the team could be intrigued at the right price.
Assuming that they still have their 15th pick in the 1st round tonight the Senators brass have stated they are going to be going Best Player Available. While that means a forward could be selected, one would have to assume they will be looking for a defenceman to fill the void to be left by Filip Kuba, Matt Gilroy and in the future Sergei Gonchar. Of these defenceman the one who stands out to me is Matt Finn of the Guelph Storm. Finn collected 47 points in 61 games in the OHL this year and was a steady presence with an offensive upside that could some day quaterback the 2nd powerplay unit for the Senators. However if the Senators make a move and trade one of Ben Bishop or Robin Lehner, then they could move down in the draft and select goaltender Malcolm Subban of the Bellville Bulls. The brother of PK Subban, Malcolm is one of the highest rated goalies in the draft and could be a target for Ottawa to replace a traded netminder.
Hope everyone enjoys the draft fun and relishes in the moment of 30 young men having their NHL dreams come true, we’ll be keeping you updated on Sens activity throughout the night!