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Draft Preview: Ottawa Senators – The hole shebang

Rebuilding teams need a lot of help. The gaps are everywhere in Ottawa.

That gust of wind that came from Canada’s capital on the night of the draft lottery was courtesy of an enormous sigh of relief from the Senators. Trading away your first-round pick comes with the risk that you might finish last overall and miss out on the best player. Ottawa avoided that ignominious situation when Colorado failed to win the lottery and dropped to the No. 4 pick. The Sens own Columbus’ 2019 first-rounder and will gain the Blue Jackets’ top pick in 2020 if Matt Duchene re-signs. The earth has been scorched in Ottawa. But with several assets in place as a result of their deals, the team is ready to move forward.

IMMEDIATE NEEDS: The Sens were the NHL’s leakiest team in 2018-19, giving up the most goals and surrendering the most shots against. They have no defensemen under contract beyond next season, and with the exception of Thomas Chabot, they don’t have a defenseman who would be in any other team’s top-four. The arrival of Erik Brannstrom will help on that front.

LONG-TERM NEEDS: By the end of the season, rookie Colin White was the No. 1 center. The trades of Kyle Turris and Duchene have left Ottawa with a big hole down the middle. Goalie Craig Anderson is 38 and there isn’t a can’t-miss replacement in the system.

CAP SITUATION: Not an issue, for several reasons. First, the Senators have a ton of it. Second, they have no intention of being a cap team. Nor should they. That will change in a couple of years if and when their young players begin to fulfill their promise.

IN THE SYSTEM 2019-20: Ottawa hopes it has an Erik Karlsson replacement in Brannstrom and that he can make an impact next season. Alex Formenton almost made the team last fall and will push for a job, while Drake Batherson scored at better than a point per game as an AHL rookie.

DID YOU KNOW: Joey Daccord, 22, had a rough NHL debut, but he’s a project in net. Drafted 199th overall in 2015, he played three solid years at Arizona State and was a finalist for the Mike Richter Award as the NCAA’s top goalie.

LATE-ROUND GEMS:
(2000-2018 drafts)
Mark Stone, 178th, ’10
Brian Elliott, 291st, ’03
Mike Hoffman, 130th, ’09
Brooks Laich, 193rd, ’01
Ray Emery, 99th, ’01
Ryan Dzingel, 204th, ’11
Zack Smith, 79th, ’08
Jean-Gabriel Pageau, 96th, ’11
Greg Zanon, 156th, ’00
Mark Borowiecki, 139th, ’08

PICKS AFTER SECOND ROUND: 105
100+ NHL GAMES: 21
PERCENT SUCCESS: 20%
NHL RANK: 2nd

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