– The Senators' hometown fans didn't get a lot to cheer about during the latter stages of the 2007-08 season, but they got some excitement Friday night, midway through the first round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.
The host Senators made a deal with Nashville, sending their own first-round pick (No. 18) and a third-round pick to the Predators in exchange for the No. 15 selection, which they used to select Swedish defenseman Erik Karlsson
from the Frolunda hockey program in Sweden.
Making the announcement was another Frolunda alum, Sens captain Daniel Alfredsson
"I said if we pick a Swede, it'll look like I had something to do with it," Alfredsson said with a laugh. "I need another one; I'm by myself."
It'll be that way for at least a little while longer, as Karlsson needs to add some bulk to his 5-foot-11, 165-pound frame before he can think about joining the Sens.
"I need to work on my strength," he said.
Goran Stubb, the NHL director of European scouting, said Karlsson's size hasn’t affected his play to this point.
"Erik is excellent on the power play," Stubb said. "He makes smart passes and has great vision. He plays the game with confidence, has a natural hockey sense and is a consistent offensive threat. He compensates for his lack of strength and size with his mobility, passing and vision and is at his best as an offensive d-man.
"Overall, he needs more weight and strength in order to be more effective in front of his own net."
Karlsson had 13 goals and 37 points in 38 games as he led Frolunda's junior team to a league championship this past season.
He also had one goal in seven games in the Swedish Elite League, and had seven assists and a plus-8 rating en route to being named Best Defenseman at the Under-18 World Championships for Sweden in April.
As happy as he was to be drafted, Karlsson said it meant even more to have Alfredsson make the announcement.
"I practiced with him a few times (in the summer)," Karlsson said. "He's the captain of the team, he's Swedish. He's a great player. I was honored that he called my name."
Karlsson also got to hear his first ovation from his new fans. It was a nice moment for the 18-year-old, and he hopes to hear more in the not-too-distant future.
"I'll have to go out on the town tonight and see if anybody knows who I am," he said.
Contact Adam Kimelman at firstname.lastname@example.org.