Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Sens 2007 draft update

The Senators chose four players in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft in Columbus. All of them are playing in leagues that are easy to miss, so here is a quick rundown of how they are doing this season.

1st round, 29th overall: James O'Brien (C)
  • O'Brien is playing for the Seattle Thunderbirds of the Western Hockey League. He was awarded the WHL's Player of the Week award for the week of Feb. 18-24, in which he scored 6 points (2G, 4A) and was +7 as the Thunderbirds went 3-0. As of Feb. 27, he was fourth on team scoring with 47 points (18G, 29A) in 60 games. He's the fifth-rated prospect the Sens have according to The Hockey News' Future Watch 08, and highest among the 2008 Sens picks.
2nd round, 60th overall: Ruslan Bashkirov (LW)
  • He went back to Russia after playing in the QMJHL last season (he scored 30G and 37A in the Q in 2006-07). Word on the street is that Old Man Bashkirov, Ruslan's father, is a crazy person who pulled Ruslan and his brother, Roman Bashkirov, out of North American hockey to play in Russia. The Sens' prospect played on both Kazan Ak-Bars and Mytishi Khimik of the Russia Super Hockey League. After some ridiculously difficult research on the Mystishi Khimik website, I found his player profile--with no stats--and I learned that the Russian spelling of his name is "Руслан Башкиров". He also wears number 19, which doesn't bode well (cough*ALEXEI YASHIN*cough). It wouldn't be a bad thing if he decided to come back to North America, because according to HockeysFuture he "has the potential to be a second line offensive winger who brings and [stet] aggressive and competitive game." Then again, both Ilya Zubov and Alexander Nikulin bring that stuff.
3rd round, 90th overall: Louie Caporusso (C)
  • Caporusso is playing as a freshman for the University of Michigan Wolverines, and he's scored 17 points (10G, 7A) in 25 games, good enough for seventh on team scoring despite missing nine games with a knee injury. U of M is a behemoth, assembling a 26-4-4 record as of Feb. 23, and 'Cappie' has scored 4 game-winning goals, tying him for second-most on the team. As quoted in The Michigan Daily, U of M coach Red Berenson has been impressed with Caporusso since the injury: "I really like the direction that Louie's going. Since he's come back, he has really given his line a dose of offense and smarts."
4th round, 120th overall: Ben Blood (D)
  • Plays for the USHL's Indiana Ice. He was traded to Indiana by the Des Moines Buccaneers for Brett Bruneteau, a Washington Capitals prospect. He's scored 19 points (8G, 11A) in 42 games for both teams, good for seventh on the team, and has nine powerplay points (4G, 5A). At 6'4" and 220 lbs, and only 18 years old, the Sens are probably more interested in his 52 penalty minutes and whether or not he's a big hitter. But no media covers the Indiana Ice (despite the fact they're partially owned by 27-year-old Colorado defenceman John-Michael Liles), so I have no idea how he's been playing this season.
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