Ottawa Senators: Defenceman or forward at fifth overall?

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OSHAWA, ON – FEBRUARY 7: Quinton Byfield #55 of the Sudbury Wolves skates during an OHL game against the Oshawa Generals at the Tribute Communities Centre on February 7, 2020 in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Chris Tanouye/Getty Images)

Ottawa’s needs

With Ottawa’s great prospect depth there aren’t many evident holes at most positions, but they could use a few game-breakers that immediately bolster their prospect pool.

Centre

The Ottawa Senators have only one established prospect at centre in the NHL level being Colin White, but he has not looked like a top-six center in his NHL career. Ottawa does have Chris Tierney who only at age 26 has had a solid stint in Ottawa so far, but projects as most likely a bottom-six centerman.

Players like Nick Paul and Filip Chlapik project as depth forwards who will most likely be placed in a fourth-line role for Ottawa. The organization has two players at centre who can morph into a top-six role for the team, those being Logan Brown and Josh Norris. Norris who is just 21 years old, played above expectations last season for Belleville in winning the AHL rookie of the year and being a first-team all-star selection.

Compiling an impressive 31 goals and 61 points 56 games for Belleville and has the potential to be a top-six centerman. While Logan Brown had some injury issues but was also very successful in the time he played, he produced 28 points in 25 AHL games and played 23 games with Ottawa with 8 points. Brown looked dynamic for stretches in Ottawa but struggled with injuries and consistency in his play.

Assuming Ottawa selects Stutzle who has center eligibility or Byfield who is a natural center they will have one more option to place in as a future top-line center. If Ottawa selects Stutzle, who played on the wing in Germany they would be more inclined to select a center in Marco Rossi.

Right-Wing

With Brady Tkachuk entrenched as Ottawa’s future top-line left winger for the foreseeable future they are set on the left side. Behind Tkachuk are the likes of Anthony Duclair, Alex Formenton, Rudolfs Balcers and Vitaly Abramov. At right-wing the story is a bit different, with Drake Batherson as the only prospect who garners any significant attention, Ottawa could afford to upgrade. Connor Brown has been very solid since coming over from Toronto but is ideally a guy you want no higher than the third line.

Raymond stands out as a great option at 5, a highly-skilled right-winger who is regarded higher than fellow countrymen Alexander Holtz who is an unlikely option.

Raymond who is ranked higher than Holtz by most top scouting service seems like the most realistic selection, the highly-skilled, agile winger would slip right in as Ottawa’s top prospect on the right side.

Don’t sleep on Cole Perfetti either, an uber-talented left-winger who has some flexibility to play center.

Left Defenceman

Despite Ottawa only having one defenceman on the right-side, indications have been that Brannstrom would prefer to play on the right side, which would fill a gap on the blue line.

Ottawa also has top prospects in Jacob Bernard-Docker and Lassi Thomson who are both right shots and should be a solid presence on the backend in Ottawa for the future.

While Ottawa has Chabot occupying the left side, it gets thin after that with Christian Wolanin, Mike Reilly and Andreas Englund. I expect Wolanin to contribute in the NHL but don’t expect Reilly and Englund to be of any importance.

Jake Sanderson would make sense if Ottawa were to select a defenceman, as their right side is potentially loaded with talent.

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