BUFFALO -- Acknowledging there have been a lot of trade discussions, Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion said Thursday he expects the team will use the No. 12 pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, which begins at First Niagara Center on Friday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports).
"If you were in Vegas and you had to pick where the Senators are going to pick, I'd put a few chips on picking No. 12," Dorion said.
Based on draft projections, players who might be available when the Senators select with the 12th pick include defensemen Jake Bean (Calgary, Western Hockey League) and Jakob Chychrun (Sarnia, Ontario Hockey League) and forwards Michael McLeod (Mississauga, OHL), Tyson Jost (Penticton, British Columbia Hockey League) and Logan Brown (Windsor, OHL).
Dorion said he is not nervous heading into his first draft as a GM. He said he was much more uneasy in 2008, his first as the Senators head scout under general manager Bryan Murray.
Murray made a trade with the Nashville Predators to move up from No. 18 to 15th in that year's draft, putting the Senators in position to select defenseman Erik Karlsson, a two-time Norris Trophy winner who finished second to Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty for the award this season.
"I was really nervous because I was working for Bryan Murray and at the same time it was my first draft as head scout, in my hometown [Ottawa]," Dorion said. "At that time I had a lot of butterflies."
Dorion said any moves that he would make would be to improve the Senators' chances of making the Stanley Cup Playoffs next season.
"We're definitely not in a rebuilding mode," said Dorion, whose team missed the playoffs this season. "We're in a mode that we have to get into the playoffs. Whatever move we make won't hurt the organization long term, but if we can make a move that we feel definitely helps us be that playoff team next year, we'll definitely look at that probably more extensively than we've looked at it in the past."