Odds are, if you're one of the male readers who comprise this website's audience, you have likely encountered the oversized sunglasses phenomenon. It's that situation that occurs when you're on a patio or walking down a sidewalk approaching an oncoming girl, who from the outset, looks pretty good. Inevitably at some point the glasses come off and with their removal, the facade of good looks disappears. What you're left with is a feeling of buzzkill.
Buzzkill. That's seems to be the word de jour that has been used frequently to describe the Ottawa Senators' night at the NHL Entry Draft. Unlike many of my Senators fan breathren who spent this past Friday night glued to their television sets, I wasn't privy to the letdown that occurred when Gary Bettman announced that Ottawa had traded the 16th overall pick in the draft to the St. Louis Blues for a defensive prospect, David Runblad.
That's not meant to be a knock on Runblad. It's going to take awhile before fans can properly evaluate this deal for the Senators. However, from a public relations standpoint, with all of the resentment and criticism that was fostered from the Jason Spezza trade rumo(u)rs, the organization could have used some positive press that stems naturally from the NHL Entry Draft. (Ed. note: Just ask Leafs fans who thoroughly believed that Brian Burke could recoup the early draft pick that was lost in the Kessel trade by moving Tomas Kaberle. Oh wait...) Especially when the team's farm system has a clearly recognizable deficiency in skill up front and recent precedent -- Chicago, Pittsburgh, Washington -- indicates that the best way to build a team is through the draft.
Of course it doesn't help matters that whenever it's announced that the Bryan Murray regime has moved a draft pick, the Sens Army collectively sticks a finger in each ear and says lalalalalalalala! Simply put, a sect of this fanbase is eager to jump down the throat of a management structure that has dealt two first rounders and two second rounders within the past two years:
- 2009: 1st rounder dealt to the Islanders for Chris Campoli and Mike Comrie
- 2010: 2nd round pick dealt to the Hurricanes for Matt Cullen
- 2010: 2nd round pick dealt to the Islanders for Andy Sutton
- 2010: 1st round pick dealt to the Blues for David Rundblad
When historical context is thrown into the mix, (cough) (cough) Christer Olssen (cough) (cough) and there's a general lack of casual fan knowledge for who David Rundblad is, it's easy to understand why there has been a lack of praise for the move.
Albeit, the acquisition of Rundblad is a break from the tradition. Drafted 17th overall in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, Rundblad differs from all of the aforementioned returns whom Bryan Murray acquired via trade. He may actually play
This all reminds me of the Tim Murray quotes that were featured in an Ottawa Sun article:
“We’re just going to take the best player,” said Murray. “If it’s a defenceman, that’s what we’re taking. I look at our depth chart every day and it looks like we’ve got a ton of defencemen. All of sudden (Anton) Volchenkov could be gone (as a unrestricted free agent come July 1) and (Filip) Kuba got hurt last year.
“Just when you think that you have lots, you don’t. The one thing I know about defencemen, if you do have too many — and I don’t think you can ever have too many — but if you feel you do, they’re easy to move and they have high value.
“Ideally, if we could get a skilled centre, that’d be great. If we can’t, then it’s the best player available.”
Considering that Pierre Dorion came on our podcast and described this year's draft as average, it's difficult to really get upset. Obviously the organization made the move because they felt that Runblad was a better/safer investment than anyone else who was left on the board. Having already selected a forward 14th overall, St. Louis could afford to roll the dice a bit and take Vladimir Tarasenko at 16.
By moving the 16th overall pick for Rundblad, we were given a little bit of insight into how Ottawa's braintrust works. With a promising but inherently risky Russian still left on the board, management balked at the idea of selecting a player who could bolt to the KHL.
The Ottawa Sun Isn't Anti-Spezza
The Ottawa Sun's sports editor, Tim Baines. has two recent blog entries and they're... somewhat hilarious. Here's part one of the entry and here's part two. I would throw in my two cents here but I have to go upstairs, my mom is calling me up for dinner.