Will there be any forwards on the Ottawa Senators come 2011-12? Not if Bryan Murray's ingenious drafting comes to fruition.
Naw, I'm just yanking BM's chain. The Sens continued their recent trend of using their first-round pick on blue-chip defenders by taking 6' 5" Jared Cowen with the ninth overall pick in this year's draft.
It seems that Murray's trying to cover all the bases on the blueline now, with an ample amount of puck-moving defencemen (cue eye roll) he's gone after the big-body presence that has been missing since... well... that other tall guy left for greener pastures. (I hate Redden so much!)
But just because Cowen's a big player doesn't necessarily mean he'll be hitting people all over the ice. Sens fans are all too familiar with big bodies who couldn't hurt a fly. For instance, Filip Kuba (6' 4" and 226 pounds) is roughly the same size as Cowen, but wouldn't hit an opposing player to save his overrated life.
The Senators', however, do need somebody to log major minutes in upcoming seasons. With Chris Phillips (31) getting older and Anton Volchenkov (27) becoming a free agent after the 2009-10 season, somebody's going to have to be on the ice while Brian Lee, Chris Campoli, Erik Karlsson, et al. save up all their talent juice on the bench.
Late last night, the Ottawa Citizen reported (overheard, I suppose) that Murray and Leafs' GM Brian Burke had a quick conversation on the draft floor (anybody else see this article?). Murray stated that he intended to draft Nazem Kadri with the ninth pick, and asked Burke if that was who the Leafs would select with pick #7. Burke said 'yes'. Murray replied, 'okay,' and walked away.
So I suppose this defensive drafting philosophy is more a product of circumstance than design after all.
...and whatever happened to Mike Comrie?