In which we assess the draft on a scale of 1-to-10, 7 being the highest

Ottawa traded up to draft this adorable chipmunk.


At the risk of sounding like a complete fanboy, I’m thrilled with this draft. With Murray having solidified his prospect depth on the backend, he was free to draft forwards, and we received scorers in bunches. Obviously Noesen was a surprise to some (and Zibanejad over Couturier also tweaked people a bit), but trading up to take Puempel was a pleasant surprise, as was the trade for Filatov. I didn’t think Murray had any interest in players whose skills are built solely around scoring goals. But with Filatov, Butler, and Puempel in the system I like the odds of one of them turning into a 20 goal man.

And let’s talk about Filatov. People are saying things about risk, but to me this was an absolute steal. You think about all of the work that goes into assessment during the draft – something we should obviously be well aware of after this year – and all of the work Columbus did in coming to the decision to use a 6th overall pick on this guy, and only three years later he can be got for a 3rd rounder? A 22 year old with that kind of pedigree gets less than, say, Chris Kelly at the deadline? I understand that he might go the KHL in a worst-case scenario, but I’d take that risk any day. He needs to grow up a little, maybe, but at 22 I’d be willing to put him in a different system and see if it takes. Maybe after being traded he’ll wake up a little bit and buy into the program. I’m really excited to see what a line with Spezza, Michalek and Filatov might look like.

I’m a bit surprised that a goaltender wasn’t drafted, as Murray explicitly said that he would draft one to drive Lehner’s development – someone to chase, someone chasing him. I guess it was a weak draft for (chicken)tenders.


Holy snaps, remember when we all wanted Murray out of town? That dude can draft.
I’m not sure if its his reliance upon a couple of key scouts or if he’s got this Charles Xavier thing going on where he wheels (pardon the pun) and deals and boom, next thing you know January Jones is wearing retro lingerie… By that I mean other gm’s are playing checkers and Murray is straight up playing chess. (mmm sexy mixed metaphor, or sexaphore, if you will)

I liked the emphasis on size and scoring, They passed on Couturier because he just wasn’t big enough and like the edge Mika plays with. I think this draft completes the overall strategy of having the mini puck movers on the back end and more power forwards up front. I still think they’re going to get pushed around quite a bit next year, but if you think of these moves within the context of a year into a five year rebuild, I believe they are ahead of schedule.

About Filatov, Every GM agrees this was a steal on paper. My biggest concern is that this kid comes in displays his brilliance during camp, makes the team then settles into bad habits. This could be a tough challenge to throw your new coach. I’m afraid his attitude will be tolerated which sends a horrible message to your kids who you bring in to grind and work for everything. It will be interesting to see how much the new staff tolerates.

One final mind blowing note, both giant US sports news sites, ESPN and lauded the moves made by B. Murray. You know when the American papes are dapping you up, you did well!


“We’ve been pumping Bryan Murray’s tires all draft long and we haven’t heard him say one good thing about us yet” – ESPN & Sports Illustrated
Remember when Roberto Luongo said something like that and on TV no less? AAAAAAAAAdorable.
Speaking of remembering, remember in our pre-draft round up how I said “I hope they only go for high risk, high ceiling forwards aaaaaaaaaaall the live long day” (slight paraphrase). So one could say I’m pleased that what I wanted to happen, happened.

Zika Mibanejad: Okay, so the Sens didn’t take the projected no.6 Shawn Couturier. Something occurred to me after the maple leaf special (late season improvement in play after being mathematically knocked out of the playoff race), when it became clear that the Sens were not going to hit the absolute bottom of the league but were likely going to land in the bottom ten. I thought that Bryan Murray was entering a bit of a damned if you do damned if you don’t situation. A situation that could easily come about from not picking in say the top 3 but rather the top 10, particularly in a draft like this one was. What I’m talking about is the strong likelihood that a team is going to get a Jeff Skinner or Logan Couture guy. The type of player that people weren’t talking about like a slam dunk on draft day but ends up really excelling in relation to their rookie peers. By passing on Couturier and taking Zibanejad, Murray will either end up look like a genius or a goat. Since neither player has skated on NHL ice I am very into them picking Zibanejad. He rose to the #2 ranking among European prospects and with the Sens Euro …oh who am I kidding Swedish scouting being what it is I trust whatever justification went into choosing MZ. As a fan of the Ottawa Senators, with the recent selection of Jared Cowan you can see how a prospect’s stock can plummet given injury or illness (Cowan had knee surgery – the Michalek special) and mono, which made him appear sluggish to many scouts through the season of his draft and at the WJC. Maybe the same thing happened to Couturier who was also suffering from Mono during the season. I think no. 6 was actually a pretty tough pick – especially given the blow that came with losing 5th spot to New Jersey- I am very excited about the selection and am mentally prepared for the top ten guys to exceed expectations and others to underwhelm over the coming years. And I do mean years ….remember Stamkos’ first season vs. second season? Also, remember that guy Jonathan Tavares? Guy is layin LOW. Im not saying he sucks or hes a bust or anything…just so, so, so hard to live up to that kind of hype right away, esp with the shit team he was drafted by. In closing, the name Zibanejad is awesome. 
Stefan Noesen: A forward? From Texas? Comparisons to Corey Perry? Cool! 
Matt Puempel: This guy is pretty exciting. More of what I was talking about above with that injury dropping a player’s draft value. I think that this pick has the potential of ending up being a big time steal. I watched him play some impressive games a couple times against the 67s on an otherwise flaccid Peterborough Petes. I kept hearing rumblings all season about him being the lone spark lighting it up on a pretty bad squad and that he might go high in the draft. Then alas, a bad hip injury curtailed his season. But fear not friends he was fixed up by the same surgeon who operated on Mario Lemieux (!!!!) AND Pascal Le….claire…..uh…okay moving on! I wanted high risk and got it. He was an OHL sophmore this past season so time is on the kid’s side. I hope he bounces back and that his development is not hampered (doiobviously). As the third of three 1st round picks for me, the pressure’s off this kid to turn heads in a hurry. Take your time young man. Glad the Sens took a chance. 
Shane Prince: All my moaning about the San Jose Shanks poaching all of the Ottawa 67s best players comes to an end. After failing to take Tyler Taffoli and Ryan Martindale I was very happy to see Prince get selected by Ottawa. I became a fan of Prince this season and judging by all the Prince jerseys at the Civic Centre I wasn’t alone. The only knock is that because it’s so easy to get seats up very close at 67s I have to take issue with Prince’s 5’11 billing. He looked considerably smaller than one inch under 6 foot to me and that was on a rink full of juniors. But anyway, its NHL 8.0 so…go for it Shane! 
The Guy From the Olympiques & the other picks: Cool…obviously its time to talk about Nikita Filatov. 
Trading for Nikita Filatov: Okayyyyyyy put some extra ketchup on that shit and shit. I had read about Filatov to Ottawa rumors all season deep on message boards. I was hoping they were true but they just felt so Eklund make believe land. Why would Columbus give up one of their most highly touted prospects before he’s barely had a chance at the NHL level? When I read that the deal had gone down I could not believe it! But then I remembered that the Blue Jackets are literally the worst team in the NHL at developing talent. Seriously, one round of the playoffs in franchise history and all they have to show for it is Rick Nash, Pascal Leclaire’s groin and the Ghost of Steve Mason? Anyway, about the kid’s ‘tude… I don’t know, its 50/50 for me. We just endured 2 seasons of master of ‘tude Alex Kovalev after his apprentice Dany Heatley jumped ship just prior to that. I think Peter makes a really good point about what MacLean and Co will let slide with all these kids but  Filatov for a 3rd rounder? Fucking 50 bucks on black. Also, not getting along with Ken Hitchcock to me is like not getting along with John Tortarella…as in… looks like a hard guy to get along with. Especially as a young offensive player on a team as consistently terrible as Columbus.  I think if he’s given top 6 minutes maybe even top 3 and delivers the scoring punch we all know he has those criticisms might melt away. I saw him play in person once at the now famous Canada-Russia game at the WJC in 2009. I remember during the game daydreaming about how awesome it would be to see the Sens one day have an exciting kid like that on the roster. Frigging crazy that I’m actually going to see how that plays out.


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