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Senators boost depth with draft

by Rob Brodie / Ottawa Senators
Swedish forward Jakob Silfverberg, the Senators' second pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, was a favourite of the team's European scouting staff (Photo by Pekka Mononen/HHOF-IIHF Images).

Senators general Bryan Murray, it might be suggested, is a man who will carry a mix of emotions back to Ottawa with him.

But mostly, he was pleased the Senators had another productive day at the 2009 NHL Entry Draft in Montreal on Saturday. They’ll take home nine more prospects to continue the restocking of their system, at least one of them – huge defenceman Jared Cowen, the Sens’ top pick – with stardom likely awaiting him in the future.

“Your first pick is the emphasis, of course, and (we were) able to get a big guy who looks like he’ll be able to play a long time in the National Hockey League and give us some range,” Murray said after he and his staff finished their work in Montreal. “I think our depth on the blue line going forward now, with last year (Erik Karlsson and Patrick Wiercioch) and again this year, gives us a chance to be very strong in that area and very deep in that area. That’s a priority now in the league.”

Asked if the Senators had achieved their draft goals, Murray said “you just want to get good players.”

“We got a goaltender (second-rounder Robin Lehner of the Frolunda juniors) and a couple of real good forwards that our people are real happy about. I think like every other team, really, (the aim) is nothing unique: get good players and get some depth. Get some guys that, with development and a little bit of time, will be NHL players.”

For the second year in a row at the draft, assistant general manager Tim Murray believes the Senators have done exactly that.

"You just want to get good players. We got a goaltender and a couple of real good forwards that our people are real happy about. I think like every other team, really, (the aim) is nothing unique: get good players and get some depth. Get some guys that, with development and a little bit of time, will be NHL players.” - Bryan Murray
“With last year’s draft, we feel we got two (NHL players) for sure, if not our first three picks,” he said in reference to Karlsson, Wiercioch and centre Zack Smith. “And we love our first three picks this year. Cowen, I think, went into the year rated much higher than nine. He missed half the year with the knee injury but was great as an underager when he played in the Memorial Cup last year and kind of led that team. We’re very fortunate to land a guy like that at that point.

“Our European (scouts) loved the two Swedish guys we got in the second round (Lehner and forward Jakob Silfverberg). They feel they have first-round talent.”

Rounding out the Senators selections at the 2009 draft were defenceman Chris Wideman (fourth round, 100th overall); forwards Mike Hoffman (fifth, 130), Jeff Costello (fifth, 146), Corey Cowick of the Ottawa 67’s (sixth, 160) and Brad Peltz (seventh, 190), and blueliner Michael Zdao (seventh, 191).

On the Dany Heatley front, Bryan Murray remained frustrated in his attempt to make a deal for the high-scoring forward, who has requested a trade.

Murray said he had no serious discussions with any teams on Saturday.

“Nobody has really stepped up and offered or done what I believe has to happen to make anything work in the way of a trade,” said Murray. “I don’t think we can ever match the talent level. We don’t even pretend that can be the case, but I do think I have to get something that can help our organization and until that happens, there’s really nowhere to go.”
 
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