“I think it’s one of the biggest nights in this franchise’s history,” - Senators' GM Pierre Dorion
The Sens clearly made great strides in their rebuild this week, choosing three solid picks in round one of the NHL draft. While it probably wasn’t the way that Dorion may have imagined it (thanks, Detroit), no one can argue too much with the selections.
Let's see what kind of players Ottawa has brought into the fold:
Tim Stutzle: Third overall pick
Stutzle comes in at number 3 overall with hopes he can be Ottawa's number one centre someday. Standing at 6 feet, 187 pounds, Dorion has confirmed Stutzle will play on the wing when he starts in the NHL. I think this is wise - get him used to the NHL game and help him find his groove. It stands to reason that Ottawa wants to have its existing centres get a shot at the position they were drafted for and see where they are.
It's no secret there are a few forwards in Ottawa's prospect pool who may be down to their last shot with the club. Stutzle will eventually slide over to centre.
This is an absolute home run pick for the team which finally has the first-line centre they haven’t had since Jason Spezza. The Senators filled a gaping hole in their lineup with this pick.
Jake Sanderson: Fifth Overall Pick
Surprisingly, Detroit took Lucas Raymond with the fourth pick. If you recall my previous article, Raymond was who I believed the Senators were targeting. Once he was gone, the Sens elected to add to their blue line. They chose Jake Sanderson, the all-around defenseman instead of the crafty skill of Jamie Drysdale.
I see Sanderson as a modern Chris Phillips. Danny McCloskey has written up an excellent article about why the Senators should (and did) draft Sanderson.
Ridly Greig: 28th Overall Pick
Greig is the lesser-known pick. So let’s delve into his background.
- Position: Left Wing
- Height: 5’11
- Weight 159
- Shoots: Left side
- Plays for: Brandon Wheat Kings
- 2019-2020 season: 56 games played; 26 goals, 34 assists; 83 PIMs
Ridly has a chance to be Brad Marchand lite - a disruptive force on the wing; an attacker who knows how to push the pace. Sounds like a certain number 7 who plays hard, likes to hit and create. Time will tell if Greig will come in as a 2nd or 3rd liner, but he’s got the potential to become another fan favourite.
Who makes the team? Who stays down?
Stutzle will challenge for a spot on the roster immediately, especially with the option of putting him on the wing. Stutzle will have to adjust to the difference in pace between Germany and the NHL and see where he must improve. It won’t take him long to get going.
Sanderson is interesting. Ottawa has a ton of defencemen right now and adding Sanderson will likely be a slow and steady project. Defence is an art learned with time and the Senators should leave him at UND next season to grow more as a player.
Greig will likely need some time before he is ready to jump into the NHL. Unless he blows everyone out of the water at training camp, it’s almost a sure bet Greig will be back with Wheat Kings for another season.
It's an exciting time to be a Senators fan right now. Enjoy it. Maybe those years of “unparallel success” Eugene Melnyk promised us really are coming soon.