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Sens welcome Silfverberg and Lehner

by Rob Brodie / Ottawa Senators
Goaltender Robin Lehner, a second-round pick by the Senators in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, has been compared to New York Rangers star Henrik Lundqvist. Robin's father, Michael, once coached Lundqvist (Photo by Mathew Manor/HHOF-IIHF Images).

It's been a banner weekend for Sweden at the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.

The Ottawa Senators joined the huge run on players from the Scandinavian country earlier today, grabbing a pair of Swedes in the second round at the Bell Centre in Montreal. First came Jakob Silfverberg, an offensive-minded winger with the 39th overall pick; then it was goaltender Robin Lehner at No. 46.

Silfverberg, who plays for the Brynas juniors in Sweden, has to be happy with his future National Hockey League home. In a pre-draft profile for NHL Central Scouting, the 6-foot-1, 187-pound native of Gavle, Sweden, listed the Senators as his favourite NHL team.

Turns out the Senators were mighty happy to land a player rated 12th among European skaters in Central Scouting’s final rankings. He scored 38 points in 30 games with the Brynas juniors this season and added another four – three of them goals – with the Brynas senior team.

“When you meet the kid, he’s pretty calm … he just looks like a hockey player,” said Pierre Dorion, the Senators’ chief amateur scout. “When he plays the game, you’re always impressed because he’s the type of player that dances with the puck.”

Vaclav Burda, the Sens’ chief European scout, called Silfverberg “a skilled player, an offensive player who’s going to score. He has great hands, can beat you one-on-one and is very dangerous around the net.”

Senators fans aren’t likely to see Silfverberg for a few years yet.

“What would be best for him is to stay in Europe for one more year and play with men … he’s supposed to be a regular on his Elite League team,” said Burda. “Then I think we should bring him over and try to give him the best here and see how he’s going to adjust over here.

“He’ll need some time to learn and adjust to physical hockey over here but I don’t see that as an issue for him.”

In Lehner, the Senators scooped up NHL Central Scouting’s top-rated European goaltender. His father, Michael, is a former coach of New York Rangers star netminder Henrik Lundqvist and there’s already a definite comparison between him and Robin Lehner.

"When you meet (Silfverberg), he’s pretty calm … he just looks like a hockey player. When he plays the game, you're always impressed because he’s the type of player that dances with the puck." - Pierre Dorion
“He looks like and acts like Henrik Lundqvist,” said Anders Forsberg, the Senators’ Swedish scout. “His style is very similar. He’s a very skilled goalie with good technique.”

But, Forsberg added, “his mental side is more Canadian than Swedish. He’s very competitive.”

Said Burda: “He doesn’t like to lose. He really competes in the net and works hard. He challenges shooters.”

The 6-foot-3 native of Gothenburg played for the Frolunda juniors next season — he recorded a .305 goals-against average and .916 save percentage — but but is planning a move to major junior hockey in Canada this fall.

“He needs to get used to the game on this side of the water,” said Forsberg.

Costello an inspiring fifth-round choice

If you’re looking for a feel-good story in this draft for the Senators, start with Jeff Costello, the team’s second pick (146th overall) in the fifth round.

The 5-foot-11 left winger, who plays for the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders in the United States Hockey League, was diagnosed with Type I diabetes when he was four years old and has needed to monitor his blood sugar closely for most of his life. But it hasn’t stopped him from being a top prospect in this draft – he was Central Scouting’s 50th rated North American forward.

“I hope that kids see that ‘hey, it’s not a big deal if you get diabetes,’ ” said Costello, 18, of Milwaukee, who’s headed to Notre Dame in the fall. “You can definitely overcome it with hard work and dedication. I try to get that message out.”



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