ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Ottawa Senators added three players to their rebuild Friday.
The club took centre Mika Zibanejad with the sixth pick in the NHL draft and followed that up by taking Plymouth Whalers right-winger Stefan Noesen at No. 21 and Peterborough Petes left-winger Matt Puempel at No. 24.
The 21st selection was acquired as part of the mid-season trade that sent Mike Fisher to Nashville, while Senators general manager Bryan Murray dealt the 35th and 48th picks on the draft floor to Detroit for the 24th pick.
Zibanejad had five goals and four assists in 26 games with Djurgarden of the Swedish Elite League last season. He was projected to be a top-10 pick and was happy to go sixth.
“Obviously when a team brings you to Ottawa they’re interested,” Zibanejad said. “I had a feeling, but there were some good players battling for that spot and to go that early is an amazing feeling.
“I’ll do everything I can to work hard and make the team. To be picked that early by Ottawa is an amazing feeling. I’m very excited about it.”
The 18-year-old Swede added 12 goals and nine assists in 27 games with Djurgarden’s junior team.
The six-foot, 191-pound Zibanejad, whose mother is Finnish and father is Iranian, speaks Swedish, Finnish and English.
A native of Plano, Texas, the six-foot, 195-pound Noesen tied for the Plymouth team lead in 2010-11 with 77 points (33-44) in 68 games in 2010-11.
Puempel, meanwhile, had his season cut short by a hip injury but still managed to lead the Petes in scoring with 34 goals and 69 points in 55 games.
Ottawa, which had a miserable 2010-11 campaign, is in the middle of a rebuild that saw the club trade away a number of veteran players last season including Fisher, fellow forwards Chris Kelly and Jarrko Ruutu and defenceman Chris Campoli.
The Senators named Paul MacLean as their new head coach on June 14 and added Dave Cameron and Mark Reeds as assistants on Thursday.