The Ottawa Senators have had average success with their first round picks. In a lot of cases, they have come away with the best player at that spot, while on others the players in the spots closely following the Senators pick have outperformed the player Ottawa selected.
The following chart illustrates each first round pick the Senators have ever had, and also states who I would have rather had that was picked up in the 5 or so picks following the Ottawa pick. If there is no player listed in the “hindsight” column, then Ottawa made the most effective pick they could have.
|YEAR||SENS 1st rd PICK||HINDSIGHT PICK|
|1992||Alexei Yashin (2)|
|1993||Alexandre Daigle (1)||Chris Pronger (2)|
|1994||Radek Bonk (3)||Ryan Smyth (6)|
|1995||Bryan Berard (1)||Wade Redden (2)|
|1996||Chris Phillips (1)|
|1997||Marian Hossa (12)|
|1998||Mathieu Chouinard (15)||Robyn Regehr (19)|
|1999||Martin Havlat (28)|
|2000||Anton Volchenkov (21)|
|2001||Jason Spezza (2)|
|Tim Gleason (23)|
|2002||Jakub Klepis (16)||Daniel Paille (20)|
|2003||Patrick Eaves (29)||Loui Eriksson (33)|
|2004||Andrej Meszaros (23)||Cory Schneider (26)|
|2005||Brian Lee (9)||Anze Kopitar (11)|
|2006||Nick Foligno (28)|
|2007||Jim O’Brien (29)|
|2008||Erik Karlsson (15)|
|2009||Jared Cowen (9)|
|2010||traded for Rundblad|
|2011||Mika Zibanejad (6)||Sean Couturier (8)|
|Stefan Noesen (21)|
|Matt Puempel (24)|
|2012||Cody Ceci (15)|
Obviously, there are always players that every team passes over multiple times, and are late round gems, so they are not included in this study.
The biggest one that sticks out is the 2005 drafting of Brian Lee. With a top 10 pick, you cannot afford to make a mistake, and passing up on Anze Kopitar, the late Luc Bourdon and Marc Staal (who were the next 3 picks) proved to set the Senators back in their development.
It is too early to tell about the classes of 2011 and 2012, but I put in Couturier as a possible hindsight selection simply based on the impact he has had in his 2 full seasons as opposed to what Zibanejad has done so far. That may even out or Zibanejad might even surpass what Couturier does.
What you can gleam a little bit from the above chart is the impact that a competent GM can have on your team. John Muckler made mistake after mistake in drafting, while his replacement Bryan Murray has done a pretty admirable job so far. What if Muckler had drafted Paille, Shneider, Kopitar and Eriksson instead of Klepis, Eaves, Meszaros and Lee in 4 straight seasons. The Senators would look a lot different and might even have secured a ring by now.
But that is why they do the draft, and mistakes are made. It is often the team that makes the fewest mistakes, especially early on, that comes away with a successful team in the following years.