Like Burton Cummings' inability to contain his excitement over putting on a Winnipeg Jets jersey, it's been pretty easy to get jacked up about the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. With the sixth overall pick, the team has its highest draft position since Jason Spezza was selected second overall in 2001. There was no reason for worry, the team was going to get a good selection...
Well, at least that's the way I felt until Assistant General Manager Tim Murray dropped a turd in the punchbowl during an interview on the Team 1200 yesterday afternoon...
"I’m confident that at six that we’re going to get a player that we really like. I’m not going to sit here and say that if a certain group of five players went from one-from-five that we’d be really happy – there’s a scenario where we might not be quite as happy but that scenario to me, isn’t going to happen. We’ve gone through every scenario here – we’ve got a real good idea of who’s going to fall and who’s not going to fall. I don’t know if I should say this either but to be very honest, I guess there’s one scenario that I do not like personally. But I do not see that scenario happening. I’m very confident that one of the guys that we like will be there at six.” ~ Tim Murray, via The 6th Sens transcript
So the question remains: what is this doomsday scenario that Tim was alluding to?
Talking with pundits and scouts and looking across the variety of third party scouting rankings, although is some variety in the order in which the top prospects will be selected, there also appears to be some consensus as to which ones will be amongst the top six selections on draft day -- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Adam Larsson, Gabriel Landeskog, Jonathan Huberdeau, Ryan Murphy and Sean Couturier.
Here's what we know:
- "We’ve gone through every scenario here – we’ve got a real good idea of who’s going to fall and who’s not going to fall." ~ Tim Murray
- From the consensus top six picks, Tim Murray personally doesn't think very highly of one of the players.
- According to the Team 1200's Steve Lloyd (@Steve_Lloyd), the Senators have scheduled visits to Ottawa for many of the consensus top 10 picks in this year's draft. Next Monday, Sean Couturier, Ryan Strome and Mika Zibanejad will visit the nation's capital while Dougie Hamilton, Jonathan Huberdeau and Gabriel Landeskog will be in town the next day. Amongst those not visiting are Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Adam Larsson and Ryan Murphy.
- "Probably going to go for more speed and skill. That's one thing we don't have a lot of, offense yet. We're going to look at probably the same character and same traits but probably go with more speed and skill to offset the size we drafted last year. But it won't preclude us from drafting some big, strong guys this year." ~ Florida Panthers General Manager Dale Tallon via NHL.com
Based off this evidence -- barring the Senators trading up from the sixth spot -- we can assume:
- That Adam Larsson and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will not be available when they make their selection.
- Based off of Tallon's draft history (ie. Kyle Beach) and words, he values players with high ceilings over players who may be able to contribute right away. That makes me somewhat skeptical that the Panthers will select either of Landeskog or Couturier.
- With Ottawa's wealth of young defencemen coming through the system and the exclusion of Ryan Murphy's name from the list of players visiting Ottawa, the likelihood of Ottawa selecting the defenceman is small.
- If the fourth assumption is held to be true, then this has to mean that Tim Murray is not particularly high on one of Huberdeau, Couturier or Landeskog.
I suppose there's also the possibility that a player like Adam Larsson could slide and Ottawa could pass on that player but getting back to this last point, it's interesting to see that each of these three players is amongst the list of prospects who will make their visits to the nation's capital next week.
So what's going to happen? (Read: Open the discussion in the comments)
Well, hopefully Tim Murray is right and the unfortunate scenario that he brought up will never come to fruition. Keeping with this optimistic line of thought, doesn't it seem just a little bit peculiar that the Senators would be inviting a few other top 10-12 selections to town? (Note: Especially Hamilton.)
It's almost enough to lead you to believe that there's a very realistic possibility that the Senators could find themselves with two top 10 picks come draft day.
Senate Reform Teaser Video
Like many other Senators fans, I was emailed this video by the Senators organization...
Based off the resounding success and reviews of Oil Change - TSN's documentary-styled television program that was dedicated to providing behind-the-scenes coverage of the Edmonton Oilers - I'm not particularly surprised to see the Senators follow suit and produce a program that documents the build up to the 2011 Entry Draft. (Note: At least that's what I'm getting from the trailer.)