The Senators took the 6’4″ defenceman with the 49th overall pick
Pre-draft ranking: #89 by TSN/ Bob McKenzie
It’s been pretty clear that the Senators like players with prototypical size, and they doubled down on that notion with the selection of behemoth defenceman Ben Roger. This was a pretty big swing by Trent Mann which was based heavily on projectability, as Roger didn’t play much hockey last year due to the OHL’s cancellation of their season after only producing 6 points in 34 games the year prior. However, the big man was able to appear in several games at the Erie Hockey Showcase, which allowed Roger to display his skills for scouts playing against fellow draft eligibles. The London Knight defenceman flashed some offensive potential during the showcase, scoring 3 goals and using some sneaky skill to convert on his chances. Here’s a compilation of all of Roger’s 3 goals from the showcase:
While some may question the pick (including me), it’s easy to see why the Senators fell in love with the rangy defenceman. His great skating ability combined with his physical play make it more worth the risk, with right-shot defenceman being a premium around the league, players with Rogers’ skillset don’t come around often.
Roger admitted that he gained 30+ pounds since he last appeared in a London Knight uniform, so it’s highly likely that we will be seeing a vastly different player this upcoming season.
It remains to be seen what the Senators will get out of the 18-year-old defenceman, especially seeing as Roger hasn’t really played high-level hockey in well over a year, this is essentially a project pick and one that we likely won’t be able to evaluate for a few seasons.