As the Senators' scouts and management spend the last few hours before the 2019 NHL Draft making any final adjustments to their overall prospects list, they've also spent a good amount of time running through all the possibilities that could unfold this weekend.
Ottawa currently holds three picks in first two rounds (#19, #32 and #44) and before they find themselves on the clock tonight, Sens chief amateur scout Trent Mann and his team are running through all the possibilities in advance.
"There are so many different scenarios that can happen, especially around the 19th overall pick, that we don't have any control over," said Mann. "But what we can control is selecting the best player possible for the Ottawa Senators and that could mean either moving up or moving down to accomplish that."
Beyond the very top of this year's Draft, there is a lack of consensus among pundits and mock drafts which could result in a potentially volatile first round. For a team with a mid-round pick like the Senators, that could make for some interesting options and Mann has been working with Sens general manager Pierre Dorion on some of the possibilities.
"We've talked a lot about thresholds of where we're comfortable picking a player. Whether that's identifying a player we want to move up to ensure we get or a player that we believe might be available a little later which would allow us to move back and maximize the pick," Mann said. "Pierre has been through this before so it's an easy conversation because he gets it. He understands what we're trying to do and helps us work through the scenarios by letting us know what could be out there based on his experience and conversations with other general managers."
Video: Pierre Dorion gives updates on the eve of the Draft
If Draft Day wasn't exciting enough, the Senators scouting staff got a bit of a confidence boost yesterday with last year's 4th overall selection Brady Tkachuk being named to the NHL's All-Rookie Team and fellow 2018 Sens' draft picks Jacob-Bernard Docker (CAN), Jonny Tychonick (CAN), Jonathan Gruden (USA) and Luke Loheit (USA) earning invitations to their respective countries World Junior evaluation camps this summer.
Ottawa's scouting staff has done an excellent job recently of finding players throughout the Draft and Mann believes holding a trio of selections in the first two rounds provides them even more opportunity to land some key prospects this weekend.
"I think this group has earned their track record because they do a consistent job of finding those players," he said. "Having picks #19, #32, and #44 increases our chances to do just that and find players that can help the Senators get better."
While the focus leading up to this weekend has been on the Sens' first round pick, Mann is equally excited about the possibilities that the 32nd overall pick, the first selection on Saturday, can have.
"It's a pretty unique pick to hold," Mann said. "When the first round ends it lets us regroup at our hotel and discuss what's on the table. Are there teams interested in stepping up for a player they've targeted? Is there a player there that we want and we aren't interested in moving the pick? It's certainly not a situation that I've been in before so it's pretty exciting to see how the first pick of Day 2 unfolds."
The first round of the NHL Draft is set to start tonight at 8 p.m. ET and you can catch all the action at our Sens Draft Party at the Royal Oak on Kent St. as well as on Sportsnet. For a quick refresher on all things Sens Draft-related, click here.