The Ottawa Senators drafted nine players in the 2003 draft, including five defensemen, three forwards, and one goalie.
Patrick Eaves, RW, (5’11, 173) — Plays with skill and an edge. Has been accused of being a dirty player after several incidents, including a scrap with Hockey East star Colin Hemingway and a collision leaving Merrimack’s goalie in a coma. Led Boston College in penalty minutes, despite only playing in 14 of the team’s 39 games. An assistant captain with US Under-18 Team in 2002. Has put up points at every level. If he’d continued his scoring pace, would have finished among leaders in goals and points in Hockey East. Has the versatility to run and gun, or fight it out in trench warfare.
Upside: A top-six forward with Peca-like intangibles and leadership who is at his best in the playoffs.
Downside: Injury plagued career cut short because his spirit writes cheques his body can’t cash.
Igor Mirnov, C, (6’0, 187) — A potential homerun pick in the second round, Mirnov was rated by many scouting publications to be a mid to late first rounder. Exceptional speed and offensive potential. Contributed offensively with Dynamo in the Super League – no small accomplishment for a 18 year-old. Can play both center and the wing, but some scouts believe his speed will be more effective on the wing. Needs to work on his strength, ability to make plays in traffic and shot release.
Upside:Elite point-a-game player with blazing speed and game-breaking ability.
Downside: Perimeter skill player who can’t handle the rigors of NHL play and returns to Russia after being unable to crack an NHL top-six.
Phillippe Seydoux, D, (6’1, 185) — Tough as nails and plays an in your face style. Not close to the NHL yet, but should come over in a few years as he continues to progress. Played through several injuries this year. Already established in the Swiss Elite league with Kloten.
Upside: A bigger and meaner version of Janne Laukkenen who is an NHL warrior as a fourth defenseman.
Downside: Another player whose body can’t handle their instinctive style of play in the NHL. Returns to a better life in Switzerland after a few injury plagued years in the AHL and as a fringe NHLer.
Mattias Karlsson, D, (6’2, 191) — Offensive minded defenseman playing with Brynas in Swedish Junior league. Good size and has recently added an aggressive, physical aspect to his game and isn’t afraid to hit. He put up 93 PIMs this season. His good mobility and strong passing and shooting skills contribute to his success offensively. He finished fourth among defensemen in scoring in the Swedish Junior League with 17 points in 27 games. Eleven of those were goals. He added four points in six games for the Swedish U-18 team. His foot speed needs improvement and he sometimes focuses too much on the puck on defense or tries to force it on offense.
Upside: A top-four defenseman who can play it at both ends of the rink and possibly quaterback one of the power play units.
Downside: An error-prone player who takes bad penalties to recover from his mistakes. Bails out at AHL level.
Tim Cook, D, (6’4, 200) — Big defensive defenseman still playing in USHL. Should get great tutelage under Red Berenson at Michigan next season. Scored two goals and 15 points in 59 games this season. The Senators think he has great agility and mobility. They like his first passes and have him pegged for a full four years at Michigan.
Upside: Long term project could become a depth defenseman.
Downside: Mid-round flyer doesn’t pay off and Cook doesn’t develop past college hockey. No harm done.
Sergei Gimayev, D, (6’1, 183) — The Senators see Gimayev as a physical player with NHL potential. They like his hard work and character on the ice, as well as his strong skating. He didn’t have a point in 11 games in Russia with Cherevpovets Severstal.
Upside: Can play his way into the NHL as a defensive defenseman who can lay on the body.
Downside: Stays in Russia and never develops into an NHL defender.
Will Colbert, D, (6’3, 205) — Big, solid defenseman improved as the year progressed and his ice time gradually increased. Stuck behind a great defense corps with the Ottawa 67’s of the OHL, he didn’t have enough playing time for anyone to get a surefire read on him. Colbert did show the ability and willingness to take the body and has a solid frame to continue building on. The Senators expect him to become a top OHL defenseman down the line and progress into a solid pro. He put up six points in 23 games this year. A better read on his offensive ability should come next year as he plays more and has a greater role in moving and handling the puck with the 67’s.
Upside: Good, solid NHL defenseman who does nothing spectacular but a lot of things well.
Downside: He didn’t get the ice time for a reason other than depth. Might not progress as an OHLer, let alone a pro.
Ossi Louhivaara, F, (6’0, 179) — Labelled as a right-winger but the Fin can play both sides of the ice. He has great speed but is spending his time in Finland’s second division, not the first. Not overly big or physical. Senators have followed his progress for several years, though his scoring seems to have stagnated. They finally chose him this season. He had 34 points in 46 games with Kookoo, and added another four points in nine playoff games.
Upside: Eventually becomes a contributor in the NHL and can jump into AHL next year to help fill out the roster.
Downside: North American game is too much for him and he packs it in and heads home.
Brian Elliott, G, (6’1, 175) — Decent-sized goalie catches left but hasn’t been playing a very high level of hockey. Posted a 3.85 goals-against-average and .903 save percentage with Ajax of the OPHL last season.
Upside: Diamond in the rough is a player and long-term project that pans out.
Downside: Late round pick is wasted and Elliott goes nowhere.