Ottawa Senators: Five Greatest Draft Day Steals 2000s

OTTAWA, ON - MARCH 22: Mike Hoffman #68 of the Ottawa Senators skates against the Edmonton Oilers at Canadian Tire Centre on March 22, 2018 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)
OTTAWA, ON - MARCH 22: Mike Hoffman #68 of the Ottawa Senators skates against the Edmonton Oilers at Canadian Tire Centre on March 22, 2018 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images) /

This is the second part in a three-part series covering the greatest draft day steals in Ottawa Senators history. The first part was the greatest draft steals from the 1990s, this one is the top five draft steals from the 2000s.

Number 5: Mark Borowiecki (5th round in 2008)

Just under two years ago nobody would’ve thought Boro would be on this list, but he’s making a name for himself on and off the ice. He’s basically Chris Neil just in defenceman form, not too tall, but strong as an ox and fearless when it comes to fighting and hitting.

He has even become a hero when he stopped a potential robber from stealing a purse from a woman, while on the road in Vancouver.

Every now and then there’s a player that just seems to get better with age, a few years back there was Patrick Eaves defying age, and now Borowiecki is doing the same. Prior to the 2019-20 season, his career-high in goals in a season was a grand total of three. In only 53 games this year he’s brought that number up to seven, which may not sound like a lot but if you’ve been following Borowiecki and his playing style, you would know that’s a lot for a player like him.

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It took quite a few years for the Ottawa native to make it to the NHL full-time. Drafted in 2008 it wasn’t until the 2014-15 season that he’s been a full-time NHLer.

Number 4: Brooks Laich (6th round in 2001)

What some might call a “one-hit wonder” Laich only ended up playing one game for the team that drafted him, instead spending his career with the Washington Capitals, Toronto Maple Leafs and Los Angeles Kings.

He had about five years from 2008-12 where he has a solid second-line NHL player for the Capitals, it all went downhill after that, his highest point total after those years was a measly 20 points, in 2014-15.

He was never able to capture a Stanley Cup, even on a President’s Trophy-winning team in 2009-10, with the Washington Capitals.

Either way, this was a fantastic selection by the Ottawa Senators to pick a quality NHL player like Laich in the 6th round of the draft.

Number 3: Ray Emery (4th round in 2001)

Getting drafted in the fourth round of the draft means there initially weren’t very many expectations for Ray Emery. He proved the NHL wrong, as he was the main catalyst in the Ottawa Senators run to the Stanley Cup final in 2007.

Thrust into a role he probably wasn’t ready for in the 2005-06 playoffs when goalie Dominik Hasek went down with an injury, he fared pretty well posting a 2.88 GAA and SV% of .900.

He led the offensively loaded Ottawa Senators to a first-round win over the Tampa Bay Lightning in five games, before succumbing to the Buffalo Sabres in round two.

He was a high-end backup/starter throughout his nine-year career, which he played with the Ottawa Senators, Philadelphia Flyers, Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks.

Another draft steal by the Senators, this pick was somewhat overlooked as the Senators had selected star Jason Spezza with the second-overall pick.

Number 2: Mike Hoffman (5th round in 2009)

One of the greatest goal-scorers in Ottawa Senators history, it’s a real shame his time in Ottawa ended the ways it did, with his fiance allegedly cyberbullying Erik Karlsson‘s wife. Pierre Dorion was then forced to trade him for pennies on the dollar to San Jose, effectively only getting Mikkel Boedker in return.

He was a quality player for the four years he played for the Senators, but really reached his potential playing for the Florida Panthers the last two seasons. In 2018-19 he reached 70 points for the first time and a career-high 36 goals in the sunshine state.

Next. Ottawa Senators: Three best moments of Chris Phillips' career. dark

He’s a consistent scorer, he just spent a lot of time in the minors before becoming an NHL regular. Hoffman has averaged 28 goals a year over the last six seasons.

Number 1: Brian Elliott (9th round in 2003)

Brian Elliott was the Ottawa Senators starter goaltender from 2009-11 until he was traded for Craig Anderson midway through 2010-11. Taking a chance on a goalie who had a sub-average season for the Ajax Axemen OPJHL with the Senators 9th round pick in 2003 was a low-risk high-reward move.

That move paid dividends in more ways than one, as Elliott was a good goalie for the Senators in the time he played there, but the trade for Craig Anderson gave the Sens a dependable starter to lead the team through the 2010s.

It was a difficult decision putting Elliott over Hoffman on this list, while Hoffman is the more flashy player,  Elliott has played for a lot longer so he gets the nod.