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Draft Day and Rumours Day

Posted By Mika Oehling On Jun 23 2012 @ 12:40 pm In Ottawa Senators | No Comments

The 2012 NHL Draft is almost wrapped up in Pittsburgh today, with the closing rounds set to go before the end of the day, but as the rounds come to a close, so does the book on some rumours, big and small.

The day started out with intrigue, as Jordan Staal of the Pittsburgh Penguins refused a 10-year extension with the team in the morning, got traded to his brother’s franchise in Carolina, and managed to squeeze time in to get married as well. While this was the blockbuster deal that was, the biggest blockbuster deal was the one that wasn’t, as Sens fans, bloggers, reporters and other social media amateurs took to Twitter to speculate a possible Rick Nash to the Ottawa Senators deal- a deal rife with controversy and speculation galore, with names of current roster players being tossed around like beads at Mardi Gras.

It turned out that this was more excitement than it was really worth, as the day passed with no deal. Ottawa chose instead to play it safe at the draft and take local Ottawa native Cody Ceci in the first round, my projected, and preferred, first pick. Apart from being a local, Ceci is a good size defenseman and has offensive upside. While he needs work to finesse his defensive game, there’s no doubt that proper training will elevate his game to the level that it needs to be for the Sens in years to come.

In the third round, Ottawa opted for a Western Hockey League goaltender in Chris Driedger, a good project for the future of the franchise. While Ottawa’s looking as solid as it ever has (knock on wood) with Anderson in the lead role, Bishop supporting and the up and coming Robin Lehner, the importance of this position can’t be overlooked. Known as a goalie graveyard within the league, Ottawa has to keep options between the pipes.

Also in the third round, Ottawa selected a Centreman in Jarrod Maidens. He has risen to some pretty high expectations in the OHL, but has been slowed by concussions and struggled in the past to find offense. He’s a project, but he could be a power forward in a few years.

The fourth round raised some eyebrows and no doubt caused some laughter as the Sens picked Timothy Boyle, Brian Boyle’s little brother, the same Boyle of the New York Rangers who bullied Ottawa’s top players throughout their match up in April. It seems that Murray has quite literally taken a page out of Machiavelli’s the Prince, keeping his friends close and his enemies even closer. That won’t likely make him think twice about laying the boom in the future, but it might guarantee a taste of his own medicine.

Robert Baillargeon, a little known name, was then selected. He ranks high among North America’s skaters by the Central Scouting Services and has a good overall game. A second goaltending prospect was chosen in Frank Brassard in the sixth round, and also a local with Gatineau. And a Senators draft day would not be complete without one Swede with the seventh round pick of Mikael Wikstrand (aka Vikstrand). A mobile defenseman who just a got a little more famous today.

The Senators had a good run at the draft, foregoing flashy moves and blockbuster trades in favour of stocking up for the future in a smart, careful way. They went mostly local with 2 Ottawa-Gatineau area boys, picked two goaltenders in consideration of their future and didn’t disappoint with their one Swedish pick. Now that the draft is over, the Nash rumours will no doubt pick up again.

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