|Bryce Aneloski of the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, the Senators' seventh-round pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, led all defencemen in scoring in the USHL (Photo courtesy of Cedar Rapids RoughRiders).
Admittedly, it wasn't a selection based upon need.
But when the Ottawa Senators closed out their efforts at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft by selecting 20-year-old defenceman Bryce Aneloski
, they saw a potential hidden gem to take home.
Though he led all United States Hockey League defencemen in scoring with 54 points for the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, Aneloski had been passed over in previous drafts.
Not on this day at the Staples Center in Los
Angeles. And not by a Senators team that, until then, had scooped up much-needed forwards on the second day of the draft. They made Aneloski a seventh-round pick, 196th overall.
"(Aneloski) is just a guy that is a puck-moving, transition defenceman that you usually can’t get in the draft at that point in time," said Senators assistant general manager Tim Murray in assessing the team's last pick of the 2010 draft . "He’s two years older, he’s a late bloomer. But we’ve had success with guys like that ... (who) have gone through the draft, that really have a heartbeat and a chance to be players.
"We’re not afraid of those guys. But they do drop because they’ve been through a draft. There’s still that stigma with some teams, I believe, but why should you be scared off ... He’s got talent. I guess we didn’t address our needs, but he was too good to (pass) by."
Including Aneloski, the Senators go home with four draft picks they believe will help further restock the prospect cupboard. Plus there's blueliner David Rundblad, the blueliner who was a first-round selection in the 2009 draft, obtained from the St. Louis Blues on Friday for the 16th overall pick in this lottery.
"It was a good day. We made the best of it without having a second-round pick," said Murray. "We tried awful hard to get a second (rounder), but multiple teams were doing the same. We didn’t get that, but we feel we got … certainly one guy that we felt was a strong second-round consideration.
"We picked a little bit of size with our first pick and some skill with the second. The next two guys are guys that have a chance, for whatever reason."
The Senators added three forwards on the second day of the draft — Jakub Culek
of the Rimouski Oceanic (QMJHL), third round, 76th overall; Marcus Sorensen of Sodertalje (Sweden junior), fourth round, 106th overall, and Mark Stone
, who had a strong Memorial Cup for the Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL), sixth round, 178th overall.
All are at least two to three years away from making an impact in Ottawa. But collectively, Saturday's picks had Senators brass smiling as they packed up to head home.
"All four guys have a specific dimension," said Pierre Dorion, the Senators' director of player personnel. "We feel Culek has size and terrific hockey sense, with the puck and without the puck. He just has to get quicker. Sorensen has the speed and the skill. Stone has hockey sense and (good) hands, he’s only lacking as far as quickness. But everyone can improve skating. Aneloski adds an offensive dimension.
"We feel that we got assets and on top of that, getting Rundblad … we’re very happy with the last two days."