Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Although the Sens lost early in the first round this season, at least the team is going to get a relatively high draft pick for the 2008 NHL entry draft on home turf. The Sens have 18th overall, not as high as it could be, but a lot higher than 29th overall, as was the case last year.
The newest issue of The Hockey News listed skaters and goalies throughout the world on their own top-60 prospect list, and thanks to what many are saying is a very deep draft class this year, there should still be some talent when Bryan Murray gets to picking.
Although there's no way of knowing how picks are going to go, and inevitably one or two teams go off the map, I'll go over a quick run-down of who THN has ranked around the Sens' picking spot.
The 17th- and 18th-ranked prospects are two left-handed defensemen, Luca Sbisa from Switzerland and Colby Robak from Manitoba, respectively. Robak has two inches and almost 20 pounds on the Swiss prospect, but Sbisa scored more points in fewer games while both played in the WHL. The Sens could definitely use some help filling out their ever-shrinking pool of defensive prospects, so one of these two might be high on Murray's list.
Another pressing concern is goaltending, and it's coincidental that the highest-ranked goaltender in THN's rankings is 19th overall, Swedish goaltender Jacob Markstrom. Although he's only 176 lbs, he's 6'3", and that kind of size is beneficial (just ask Patrick Lalime), and combined with his reported athleticism this kid could be very good. It's often a crapshoot drafting goalies, as Senators fans and management know, so Murray might be more interested in a more proven quantity.
After Markstrom, the next highest-ranked goalie is Chet Pickard of Tri-City in the WHL. THN points out some obvious and not-so-obvious similarities between Pickard and one-time mentor Carey Price, so if the Sens see Price as highly as the Habs do, then Pickard might not be a bad choice.
If the Sens are looking for a forward, they might want to look at the Great Belarussian Hope, Mikhail Stefanovich. He came over to play in the QMJHL last season, amassing 66 points in 62 games, and his size--6'2", 202 pounds--is nothing to scoff at. THN has Stefanovich ranked number 20. With Murray's penchant for big North Americans, though, he might be more interested A.J. Jenks, ranked by THN as number 26, who's 6'1", 206 lbs, and is seen with a lot of upside.
Or hey, if no one picks Jared Staal (ranked by THN number 31) by that point, he comes from a pretty good pedigree.