With the NHL Draft just days away in Vancouver, the good people over at NHL.com have just published their look at the Atlantic Division's needs heading into the first round on Friday night and provided a few options for the Senators at 19th overall.
NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor Adam Kimelman suggests the Sens could look at selecting a centre with their first pick but also identified one of the Draft's top defenders as another possibility...
The Senators, who finished last in the NHL standings, traded their first-round pick to the Colorado Avalanche as part of the three-team deal for center Matt Duchene in 2017. They got a first-round pick back from the Columbus Blue Jackets when they traded Duchene on Feb. 22. Duchene's departure left the Senators thin at center with Jean-Gabriel Pageau and rookie Colin White on the top two lines. Logan Brown (2016, No. 11) had 42 points (14 goals, 28 assists) in 56 games with Belleville of the AHL, and at 6-foot-6, 220 pounds is an intriguing prospect. But finding more help through the middle will help speed up the Senators' rebuilding plan.
Possible fits: Alex Newhook, C, Victoria (BCHL); Ryan Suzuki, C, Barrie (OHL); Victor Soderstrom, D, Brynas (SWE)
Newhook, the 13th ranked North American skater according to NHL Central Scouting, has committed to Boston College in 2019-20 after a dominant season in the BCHL where he was awarded the Vern Dye Memorial Trophy as the league's most valuable player and Brett Hull Trophy as top scorer. NHL.com's Mike Morreale recently listed Newhook as the 7th best centre available in the Draft and praised the young forward's offensive game.
"A highly skilled player with good hockey sense, Newhook was Victoria's captain and led the British Columbia Hockey League with 102 points (38 goals, 64 assists) in 53 games," said Morreale. "The left-handed shot, who creates and can finish plays with speed, was the first BCHL player since 2015-16 with more than 100 points. He is committed to Boston College starting next season. He tied Krebs for the Canada scoring lead with 10 points (five goals, five assists) in seven games at the World U-18 Championship."
Suzuki, who checked in at #10 on Morreale's top centres list, has been described as one of the more skilled players available in the Draft and possesses excellent playmaking abilities.
"The younger brother of Montreal Canadiens prospect Nick Suzuki, Ryan led Barrie with 75 points (25 goals, 50 assists), 28 power-play points (eight goals, 20 assists) and four game-winning goals in 65 games," Morreale said. "Suzuki (6-1, 180) was voted best playmaker and runner-up for smartest player and best stickhandler in the OHL Eastern Conference Coaches Poll."
Soderstrom was the lone defenceman that Kimelman linked to the Sens but the #3 ranked European skater in this year's Draft could be a potential steal at 19. He suffered a late season injury that could make some teams wary but received a clean bill of health at the NHL Scouting Combine last month and was able to fully take part in the physical testing.
"Soderstrom (6-0, 182) was promoted to the Swedish Hockey League in November and improved his overall game. A creative right-shooting defenseman who can see the ice well, Soderstrom had seven points (four goals, three assists) in 44 games for Brynas," Morreale said after listing Soderstrom his 3rd best defenceman in the Draft. "He had one assist, a plus-2 rating and 13 shots on goal in four games for Sweden at the World U-18 Championship but missed the final three games after sustaining a concussion against Russia on April 23. He cleared his medical exam and participated in all the testing during the NHL Scouting Combine."
The NHL Draft kicks off on Friday night in Vancouver and you can catch the first 31 picks on Sportsnet or at the Royal Oak on Kent St. at our official Sens Draft Party. For more details, click here.
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