Sens Draft Review

By Richard Polonsky

Jason Spezza has been talked about in hockey circles for years. Ever since he was 15 years old this kid was tabbed as a future superstar. He has incredible vision and a touch with the puck. He is smooth, great touch with the puck to go with great vision and great hockey sense. He sees the ice exceptionally well and has great size to go with the package. The “Special One” as he has been tabbed, has had a much maligned hockey career since he came on the scene with the Brampton Battalion. He then moved on to the Missisauga IceDogs and possibly hindered his development with ignorant coaches and managers. Don Cherry loved this kid but didn’t make him a better player. Thus, Spezza asked for a trade, got it and with it, much criticism. He led the Windsor Spitfires to the playoffs with a 2 point a game pace almost winning the scoring title playing less games than the winner, Kyle Wellwood. Spezza played pretty well for Canada in the World Juniors, but he didn’t dominate even though he had already been through one tournament. With such a long career in the spotlight tabbed as Canada’s developmental savior, came much criticism. People started to question his work ethic and desire to succeed, as well as his skating. He is 6’3 and over 200 pounds. He is a big man and can skate. His upside is being a “one” the category consisting of only Gretzky, Lemieux and Lindros. And the downside of being a Jason Allison (90+ points a season).

For GM Marshall Johnston to pull of such a deal, getting rid of the fan’s favorite target Alexei Yashin, and receiving a future superstar in Spezza along with a top 4 blueliner in Zdeno Chara and useful forward Bill Muckult, is quite amazing. Yashin obviously did not fit in with Ottawa any longer with his harsh contract demands and lack of playoff production. Spezza is the future of Ottawa and will one day too ask for lots of money.

As for the rest of the draft picks, Johnston pulled off another good deal in acquiring swift-skating defenseman Tim Gleason, a teammate of Spezza’s for the 23rd overall pick. Gleason can definately skate, there is no doubt about it, but his hockey sense is questionable. He can handle the puck, but lacks great vision. Hopefully the Sens brass can work with Gleason. His problem might be one that cannot be fixed, but he could be a useful defenseman in the future with top 4 potential.

The Sens didn’t have a second round pick, which could hurt them in such a deep draft, but were able to acquire Neil Komadoski in the 3rd round. Neil is a big defensemen from the University of Notre Dame.

In round 4, the Sens picked Ray Emery 99th overall, a goalie from Sault Ste.Marie. In the same round with the 127th pick they snagged Christoph Schubert, a defenseman from Germany.
The rest of the picks are as follows:
162th overall: Stefan Schauer-D-Reibersee
193rd overall: Brooks Laich-C-Moose Jaw
218th overall: Jan Platil-D-Barrie
223rd overall: Brandon Bochenski-RW-Lincoln(USHL)
235th overall: Neil Petruic-D-Kindersley(SJHL)
256th overall: Gregg Johnson-C-Boston University
286th overall: Tony Dahlman-RW-Ilves(Fin.)
Even if nobody does turn out, Spezza and Gleason are enough to be considered a successful draft.