Ranking Bryan Murray’s Drafts As General Manager


Ottawa Senators General Manager Bryan Murray has been at the head of the front office since 2007 when former GM John Muckler was fired after the teams loss in the Stanley Cup Finals. In that span, he has been the GM for eight drafts, each with varying degrees of success. This past year we saw how successful he has been with certain picks, and there was some actual results showing.

Overall he and his scouting team have done an above average job at the draft for eight years. I thought it would be interesting to look at each of the past drafts and see which ones rank and the top, and which are at the bottom. Without further ado, here are the rankings in reverse order:

8. 2007. Best pick: Jim O’Brien

This was the easiest pick to make, and it’s not even close. This wasn’t entirely Murray’s fault as he had been on the job for only a week or two once the draft came around, but still blame will always be put on him. Regardless of how much input he had, the scouts obviously did a very poor job in 2007. They didn’t have much to work with, having only four picks, but those players only produced 12 career points.

The good thing is it only got better from there on.

7. 2014. Best pick: Andreas Englund

It’s not entirely fair to evaluate drafts that have happened so recently, but we can at least get a feel for how well they have done so far. The only prospect on this list that makes me slightly excited is Englund, and even he most likely isn’t going to be a superstar. The other picks don’t look too amazing, although Francis Perron did have 76 points in 64 games in the QMJHL this year. Overall though, it doesn’t look too great.

6. 2012. Best pick: Cody Ceci

This draft may end up being slightly better in the end, but for now it’s a bit underwhelming. Ceci hasn’t been that great so far in the beginning of his career, but he’s young and I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. He still has room to become a good defenseman. There’s also Mikael Wikstrand, who apparently is now coming over to North America after having some solid seasons in Sweden.

Jarrod Maidens ended up going unsigned after having major concussion issues, and Francois Brassard was left without a contract as well. Chris Driedger may have a bit of potential, but I wouldn’t count on him being a solid goaltender. If Ceci and Wikstrand become solid NHL regulars, it will still be a good draft.

5. 2010. Best pick: Mark Stone

This draft had the potential to easily be the worst, but Mark Stone single-handedly pushed this draft up three spots. Jakub Culek, Marcus Sorensen, and Bryce Aneloski gave the Senators nothing in terms of production for their careers, but Stone has turned into Ottawa’s best forward in just a year. This year has hardly any quantity, but it produced a first line forward so it does have quality. Without Stone it would have been a similar draft to 2007, but simply because of only one good player you can’t call it a bad draft.

The Senators lucked out a bit in this one, and they can thank Alex Auld, who was the player they traded to get the 6th round pick where Stone was. Best trade ever.

4. 2013. Best pick: Curtis Lazar

So far in terms of production, the 2010 and 2012 class has actually been better, but the upside for 2013 is slightly better. 2010 has Stone, but that’s it. Curtis Lazar won’t become a point a game player, but he can still be a 40-50 point forward, which is valuable. There’s also some other picks that have potential, as I’d say everyone besides Vincent Dunn and Chris Leblanc still have some upside.

Marcus Hogberg has played decent in the SHL and Allsvenskan, and Tobias Lindberg was fantastic with the Oshawa Generals, notching 78 points in 67 games (albeit as a 20-year-old). Ben Harpur will most likely end up as a third pairing type defenseman, and Quentin Shore could be an under the radar NCAA pick.

In the end this draft may not be as good as some others, but the potential for Lindberg and Hogberg make it a decent draft.

Mar 28, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Ottawa Senators center Curtis Lazar (27) skates with the puck against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre. The Maple Leafs beat the Senators 4-3 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

3. 2011. Best pick: Mika Zibanejad

Even though I have this ranked third, it was still a very good draft for the Senators. It was an important draft after they had traded several players at the 2011 trade deadline, and they capitalized. Zibanejad has become a good second line centre (and perhaps even more), and Jean-Gabriel Pageau looks to be the teams third line centre for a while.

After that, there’s also Shane Prince, Matt Puempel, and Frederik Claesson who all profile as potential players on the Senators within the next year. I really do think Claesson will be a solid regular in the league, and Prince was the Binghamton Senators best forward.

This is all without including Stefan Noesen, who is now on the Anaheim Ducks and still has some potential despite injury troubles. If he succeeds, it will sting knowing he’s doing it in Anaheim, but that doesn’t make his selection a bad pick for Murray and Co. at the time.

2. 2009. Best pick: Mike Hoffman

This was a fantastic draft for Ottawa, despite the blunder in the first round. I’ve said my opinions about Jared Cowen before, and I won’t repeat them. There were some better defenseman taken in the first round after him like Ryan Ellis, Nick Leddy, Dmitri Kulikov and Simon Despres, but they made up for it with their selections later on.

Jakob Silfverberg is no longer on Ottawa of course, but he is a good player for Anaheim, and it’s still a good selection. Robin Lehner isn’t a bona fide number one goalie yet, but I still think he will be. Whether that’s with the Senators or elsewhere remains to be seen. Chris Wideman has yet to play a game in the NHL for some reason, but he should be a solid offensive defenseman, and should be with the team next year.

It’s hard to get better quantity than having five NHL’ers from one draft

We still haven’t even gotten to the best player taken from the draft, which is Mike Hoffman. Although, Lehner has the potential to be the better overall player. Still though, Hoffman was a fantastic selection and he led the team in scoring this year. All of the first five picks will (most likely) get a game in the NHL, and there’s a good chance they will be there for a long time.

I’m not sure how long Cowen’s tenure with Ottawa will be, but I would bet he still plays elsewhere. If Lehner doesn’t develop and Wideman can’t translate his game to the NHL, then this draft doesn’t quite look as good. However, it’s hard to get better quantity than having five NHL’ers from one draft.

1. 2008. Best pick: Erik Karlsson

I went back and forth as to which draft was the best, but it came to down to quality being better than quantity. Erik Karlsson will end up being the best player the Ottawa Senators have ever had, even better than Daniel Alfredsson. There’s a good chance he’ll have two Norris Trophy’s at the age of 25. Without him, the team isn’t even close to being a playoff contender, and he is the only reason their defense is competitive.

Some of the players in the 2009 draft are very good, but it’s not as if the Senators would be lost without one of them. Karlsson is the best player and the captain, and he is the teams best ever first round pick. They were also able to scoop up Patrick Wiercioch in this draft, so they drafted two top four defenseman. If you didn’t believe in his skills before, he showed in the last few months of the season just how valuable he can be.

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Then there’s also Zack Smith and Mark Borowiecki, who aren’t amazing, but they are fine depth players. This draft produced 4 NHL players (and a fringe one in Derek Grant), and gave Ottawa the best player they’ve ever had.


It was hard to determine the best year, because you could argue either 2011 or 2009 as legitimate candidates for number one. But in the end, they need Karlsson more than anyone, and it was such an important pick for the franchise.

I’d say out of the eight drafts for Murray, he has had six very good ones. It may be too early to evaluate 2014 and say it was sub-par, but that’s what it looks like as of now. The 2007 draft gets a pass because of the amount of time he had to prepare, so he has had a very solid track record.

For six of the drafts, it looks like there will be at least one solid NHL player, which is really all you can ask for. However, the 2011, 2009, and 2008 drafts went above and beyond, which is why the team has so much young talent right now.

Next: Ottawa Has A Poor Track Record With Free Agents