Senators 2006 draft preview

By HF Staff

Senators Top 10 Prospects

1. Patrick Eaves, RW
2. Brian Lee, D
3. Alexei Kaigorodov, C
4. Christoph Schubert, D
5. Igor Mirnov, LW
6. Kirill Lyamin, D
7. Jeff Glass, G
8. Filip Novak, D
9. Ilya Zubov, C
10. Brian Elliott, G

Team Needs

There are several question marks on defense, at center and between the pipes for the Ottawa Senators going into the 2006 draft.

The biggest question mark is along the blue line where Zdeno Chara and Wade Redden are unrestricted free agents. The team has only Chris Phillips, Anton Volchenkov, and Meszaros signed with Brian Pothier and Christoph Schubert as restricted free agents. There could be a big hole opening up.

With the trade of Bochenski to the Chicago Blackhawks for Tyler Arneson, the Senators are also still in need of a second line center.

With Dominik Hasek’s injury situation uncertain, the Senators need to sign a proven goaltender. They are likely to go with Emery as their No. 1 until he proves otherwise, but a veteran netminder would make for a good tandem.

It is doubtful that with the No. 28, No. 91 and the No. 121 picks that they will be able to address any of their immediate needs with the draft.

Organizational Strengths

The Senators have good depth in net with Jeff Glass, Kelly Guard and Brian Elliot in the minors or playing college hockey. In total, four goaltenders rank in the team’s top 20 prospects. Overall there is a good range of players, with top prospects at all different positions, and of different styles as well. Because the Senators draft with a focus on upside, there are a number of talented depth prospects as well such as Ilya Zubov and Vitaly Anikeyenko. With the exception of Brian Lee, all of the club’s top prospects are either in the NHL or ready to play at that level. On defense, Filip Novak appears to have a shot at being promoted to the big club from Binghamton.

Organizational Weaknesses

With the emergence of Emery, Schubert, Andrej Meszaros and Patrick Eaves onto the Senators regular line-up in 2005-06, and the departure of Bochenski, the Senators depth chart has thinned out considerably.

While there is strong depth, there is no true elite prospect left in the stable. There is no true power forward either, although Eaves lacks only the size to fit the bill. Most of the other top forward prospects are not known for their grit. Finally, with the still-remaining difficulties in signing Russian players, there has to be some concern that a good portion of the Senators top prospects are from that country, including Alexei Kaigorodov, Igor Mirnov and Kirill Lyamin.

Draft Tendencies

Between 2000 and 2005, over 40 percent of the Senators draft picks have been defensemen (25 out of 56 picks). They used to be successful at stockpiling good young defensemen and training them to either play for the parent club or for trade purposes. An option would be to trade draft picks for a defenseman. GM John Muckler has hinted in interviews that he may go away from the tendency of the organization to hold onto its draft picks in favor of the trade route this year.

The Senators have drafted four goalies in the past six years, and most of the time in the middle rounds.

Hockey’s Future Staff Mock Draft Result: Alexander Vasyunov, LW, Yaroslavl

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