Senators 2001 draft evaluation

By Marvin Miller

The 2001 Entry Draft was a spectacular one for the Ottawa Senators. Of the 12 picks including the second overall choice, five players are still playing in the NHL in 2005-06 including three regulars still playing for the Senators. Three players are still playing for the farm club Binghamton.

The 12 picks have totaled 578 NHL games for an average of 48 NHL games per pick.

Jason Spezza, C — 1st round, 2nd overall, Belleville Bulls, OHL
NHL Games: 195
Status: NHL player

Spezza came into the draft with a lot of fanfare as a potential franchise player. In 2001, traded in mid-season from the Windsor Spitfires to the Belleville Bulls, he tore up the OHL with over 126 points in 64 games. In 2002, his highly-anticipated debut into the NHL was tempered with frequent benching for his defensive shortcomings and he ended up splitting the season between Binghamton and the Senators. The 2003-04 season was his first full year in the NHL, and when the playoffs came, he found himself in the press box for most of the games even though he scored two goals in the only game he played. Jacques Martin wanted him to play more defense, and his frequent giveaways left him watching.

In 2004, with the lockout, he went back to the AHL and won the MVP of the league with 117-point season that included a whopping 85 assists in 80 games. Under the new coach in 2005, Spezza had a breakout year, and set a record for assists, even though he missed 14 games with a chest injury. Spezza still needs to correct his penchant for giving the puck away, but seems to have found a home next to Dany Heatley for years to come. In the 2005 playoffs he was the Senators best player and ended up leading the team in scoring with five goals and nine assists in 11 games.

Tim Gleason, D — 1st round, 23rd overall, Windsor Spitfires
NHL Games: 125
Status: NHL Player

Gleason was drafted as an offensive defenseman who needed to hone his defensive skills. He added some pounds and rounded out his defensive game staying with Windsor from 2001-02 until 2003-04 scoring with 17 goals and 42 assists in 67 games the first year and seven goals and 31 assists in 45 games in 2003-04. He was considered to be a good prospect. But the Senators were very deep on defense and they traded him to Los Angeles for Bryan Smolinski in March of 2003. He started the 2003-04 season with the Kings largely due to injuries. Because of the waiver rules, and was returned to Manchester when the injuries healed. He was called up again and finished the season strongly with the Kings playing in 47 games all together with the Kings and 22 games with the Monarchs.

Gleason continued his strong development in the lockout year (2004-05) and started to regain his offensive touch with 10 goals and 14 assists in 67 games with the Monarchs. He finished second on the team amongst defensemen in scoring and more important proved he had improved defensively finishing at +17 for the season. In 2005-06 he got his chance to play a full season, and he had a good season with two goals and 19 assists in 78 games.

Neil Komadoski, D — 3rd round, 81st overall, Notre Dame
NHL Games: 0
Status: NHL prospect

Because of injuries, Komadoski did not play a full season the past two years, although he managed to play two half seasons. He is a prospect on a very deep Senators defense. So far as an AHL player he has been a reliable and tough defenseman who does a lot of things well. He clears the front of the net, and delivers some crunching checks. Unfortunately he does not stand out in any area.

In 2005 he captained the Senators Prospects Team in preseason and was one of the best defensemen in the tournament. But Komadoski always seems to be just a little too far down the depth chart to get a chance with the big club. Depending on whether the Senators lose Redden and/or Chara to free agency, and whether they trade any of the other defensemen, Komadoski may be able to move up the depth chart and get a chance. Because of the Senators’ depth, many get their chance to show what they can do when they get moved to another organization, and Komadoski could be another in this situation.

Ray Emery, G — 4th round, 99th overall, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
NHL Games: 55
Status: NHL player

Emery started off his AHL career in 2002-03 with an AHL all-star season with a .924 save percentage and a 2.42 GAA. With similar numbers for a weak team in 2003, Emery was expected to move up to the big club in 2004. Unfortunately for Emery the lockout ruined his aspirations for the NHL for that year. He struggled and actually was moved out of the No. 1 position by Billy Thompson for while during 2004. He showed his frustration by fighting and being ejected from games several times.

This season, Emery was expected to be the backup for Dominik Hasek. He got his chance to play when Hasek first got injured. Emery set a record for the most victories in a row at the beginning of a career with nine. He also tied a record for the most wins in a month with 12. Clearly he developed his ability to position himself and stay focused on the game.

Emery was spectacular using both his size and his positioning. When Hasek came back from injury, he retook the reins as the No. 1 goalie. During the Olympics, Hasek got hurt again and Emery found himself as the No. 1 goalie for the rest of the year. He did a great job finishing with a 2.82 GAA and a . 902 save percentage. He played well in the playoffs, with similar numbers. The future for Emery looks bright, both in the short and long term.

Christoph Schubert, D — 5th round, Munich Barons, Germany
NHL Games: 63
Status: NHL player

Schubert started off his professional career in Binghamton slowly as he had trouble adapting to the North American game. With all of the depth on defense, he was a long shot to make it to the big club until 2003. He was always good defensively and in 2003 he started to find his way offensively and finished with 10 goals and 22 assists in 76 games. He also developed the reputation for being one who finished his checks well.

When he got called up to play for the Senators, he started throwing some thunderous checks and when it was time for him to go back to Binghamton, coach Murray tried him as a winger and the results were surprisingly good. With the new NHL, a player who can play defense or forward is very valuable because there is no need to spend valuable cap money bringing in players from the farm. With that kind of versatility, he stayed around all season. His steady play moved him several notches up the depth chart. When the playoffs started and everyone was healthy, he was kept in the lineup in place of Vaclav Varada.

Schubert looks like a solid defenseman who can be tough and does not make mistakes, and when needed he fills in the forward position very adequately. The future looks bright for Schubert. Sitting seventh on the defensive depth chart with all of the salary problems for next year, it looks like a full-time spot may open up for him.

Stefan Schauer, D — 6th round, 162nd overall, Riessersee, Germany-3
NHL Games: 0
Status: NHL bust

Schauer showed a lot of promise in the German third league when he was drafted. He spent three years playing for Cologne, Duisberg and Nurnberg Teams in the German League. Schauer played for the German Team in the 2006 Olympic Team. The best season he had since 2002 was two goals and six assists in 45 games. Schauer is not good enough defensively to justify the lack of offensive upside. He did not reach expectations and he is not expected to make it out of the German League.

Brooks Laich, C — 6th round, 193rd overall, Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL)
NHL Games: 78
Status: NHL player

After being drafted, Laich had two good years with Seattle, scoring 22 goals and 36 assists in 47 games in 2001, and then having his best year with 41 goals and 53 assists in 60 games in 2002. Laich earned a promotion to the AHL and he had a very successful start to the season in Binghamton in 2003 scoring 15 goals and 18 assists in 44 games. He was caught on a team with a lot of talent that was trying to win a Stanley Cup, so they traded him to Washington for Peter Bondra. Washington wanted Laich as part of a cost-cutting youth movement.

Laich struggled at first with Portland, and a bout with mononucleosis contributed to that. He spent the rest of the season in Portland before getting a cup of coffee with the Capitals (4 games) at the end of the year. He spent the lockout year with Portland before finally getting his chance to play 73 games with the Capitals in 2005. He tallied 7goals and 14 assists in 73 games, and appears to have won himself a spot on their roster. Laich looks like he has a future with the Capitals as a third or fourth line player.

Jan Platil, D — 7th round, 218th overall, Barrie Colts (OHL)
NHL Games: 0
Status: NHL prospect

When Platil was drafted, he was 6’0 and 180 pounds. He struggled at first after coming over from the Czech Republic to play junior and trying to adapt to the North American game. He spent two years with Barrie, and showed a lot of promise as a tough as nails defenseman with some offensive upside.

Platil is the kind of player with a mean streak that teams hate to play against. With the Senators having such depth on defense, he spent three years in Binghamton at first with limited ice time. He slowly built up his size and strength, gained two inches in height and 15 pounds of muscle, and has developed to the point where he now has a shot at being the seventh or eighth defenseman. He may get a chance in the NHL if and when the inevitable injuries happen in 2006.

Brandon Bochenski, RW — 7th round, 223rd overall, University of North Dakota
NHL Games: 40
Status: NHL player

Bochenski was a great seventh round find for the Senators. He spent 2001-2004 with the University of North Dakota where he scored a point a game. He led the team in points in his sophomore and junior years and continued as a gunner with Binghamton in 2004-05, scoring more than a point a game. At the start of 2005, Bochenski looked great when he was given the chance to play with Spezza and Heatley. He was the leading goal scorer in preseason. Starting the regular season, expectations were high and the pressure got to him. He got a lot of chances playing on the top line and struggled with not being able to finish. Finally a decision had to be made and he ended up getting sent back to Binghamton. He picked up where he left off as a consistent scorer with an excellent season scoring 46 points in 33 games. The knock on Bochenski was that he was not tough enough, and he showed signs of developing some fearlessness in the corners.

At the trade deadline, Bochenski was traded to the Blackhawks for Tyler Arneson and a second round pick. He looks like he will be a solid scorer for the Hawks.

Neil Petruic, D — 8th round, 235th overall, University of Minnesota
NHL Games: 0
Status: NHL bust

Petruic stayed with the University of Minnesota from 2001-02 until 2004-05 and scored 14 goals and 32 assists in 157 games. His debut as a pro came with Binghamton in 2005. He played 51 games tallying one goal and three assists before being assigned to Charlotte of the ECHL. He finished the season with Charlotte notching two goals and four assists in 10 games.

Gregg Johnson, F — 8th round, 256th overall, Boston University
NHL Games: 0
Status: NHL prospect

Johnson spent three years with Boston University from 2001-2004. At the end of 2003 he got called up to Binghamton for five games. Then came his best season during the lockout year with the Pee-Dee Pride of the ECHL where he scored 27 goals and 36 assists in 70 games. In 2005-06 under contract to Binghamton, he registered seven goals and 22 assists in 79 games. Johnson has a tough task to get and stay in the mix.

Toni Dahlman, RW — 9th round, 286th overall, Ilves Tampere, Finland
NHL Games: 22
Status: NHL bust

Dahlman showed promise in Finland as a former Rookie of the Year before being drafted. He spent 2001 with Grand Rapids and was called up for 10 games with the Senators where he registered one assist. In 2002, he played 59 games with Binghamton and was called up for 12 games with the Senators scoring his first and only NHL goal. In 2003 he went back to Finland and played for Ilves. In 2004 he moved to Jokerit and shared the top goal scorer’s spot with 16 goals and 7 assists in 23 games. He continued to play in Jokerit and is not expected to return to the NHL.

Copyright 2006 Hockey’s Future. Do not reprint or otherwise duplicate without permission of the editorial staff.