.The Ottawa Senators were the darlings of Round One selecting three players, two of whom could immediately step into their lineup per Sportsnet’s Draft guru Sam Cosentino.
There’s no doubt, however way you spell it Tim Stutzle or Stuetzle (Tim had no preference) that the Adler Mannheim forward will grab hold of a roster spot from the outset.
“He’s going to bring speed, skill, creativity. He’s a great kid, a good person, hard-working kid, great in the gym. The older players in Mannheim can’t say enough about him. We’re excited to have him here. He brings an element of skill that’s needed in the lineup, obviously moving forward. It’s just a matter of when he’s at his best. He’s a young guy. We like the fact that he played in the DEL last year. That helps from a development standpoint, but equally we have to be patient,” said Senators’ chief amateur scout Trent Mann post-Draft.
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Selected fifth overall defenseman Jake Sanderson is also a player Cosentino mentioned as being able to make an immediate impact on the Senators’ roster. Sanderson, son of former NHLer Geoff is already committed to playing at the University of North Dakota along with three other Senators’ picks, d-man Jacob Bernard-Docker, centre Shane Pinto, and shut-down blue-liner Tyler Kleven drafted 44th overall Wednesday and has already begun his studies. However, it appears that the Montana resident may be one year and done at the school.
“Jake Sanderson, just in case you were wondering, seven o’clock this morning he was in shooting pucks at North Dakota – just to give you an idea what he’s all about. He doesn’t take any days off. He’s a leader as a freshman coming there to North Dakota. He’s the whole package. He can shoot, defend, move the puck up ice, has a high compete level, high character kid – he’s going to be a leader moving forward,” noted Mann.
Day Two opened with a bang from Senators’ General Manager Pierre Dorion. Rumours were swirling for days, Dorion was seeking to add a goalie due to the unknown health of Anders Nilsson. Nilsson suffered a concussion in a mid-December game versus Florida and never returned to the club. The GM confirmed on TSN1200 radio, Nilsson was still unable to exercise due to lingering concussion symptoms.
The club made a bold move acquiring two-time Stanley Cup-winning goalie Matt Murray from the Penguins in exchange for the 52nd overall pick and prospect forward Jonathan Gruden who’s currently playing for the Ontario League London Knights.
Murray’s save percentage dipped to .899 last season, but in the Penguins three playoff qualifying games versus the Canadiens, the 26-year old matched his career percentage of .914.
No one has to remind any Senators’ fan, how Murray shut the door on the team during the club’s great 2017 playoff run to the Eastern Conference Final. Murray’s next start will be his 200th regular season game entering his fifth full campaign. The former Soo Greyhound already has vast postseason experience to his credit, playing in 51 games. The goalie leaves Pittsburgh as the third winningest in franchise history (117).
“Matt Murray is something we were working on since Pittsburgh was eliminated from the playoffs, and someone we’ve talked about, someone can be a mentor for the other goalies in our organization. He’s someone who brings credibility to an organization. We’re excited to have him on board,” explained Dorion.
Murray, who now resides in Southern Ontario, is currently a restricted free agent. While Dorion wasn’t given permission to negotiate a new deal with Murray’s agent, Andy Scott prior to the trade, the belief is a multi-year contract is forthcoming in the $5-6 million range per season.
The team also added seven more prospects to the fold.
Roby Jarventie LW – 2019-20 Koovee Metsis Liiga – 36 games 23 goals 15 assists.
Jarventie is currently a teammate of Senators 2019 no.1 pick Lassi Thomson playing for Ilves in the Finnish Liiga.
Tyler Kleven LD – 2019-20 US National U18 – 45 games 2 goals 10 assists
USNDTP juniors – 17 games 0 goals 2 assists
Egor Sokolov LW – 2019-20 Cape Breton QMJHL – 52 games 46 goals 46 assists
Leevi Merilainen G – 2019-20 Karpat U18 – 19 games .942 save percentage
Karpat U20 – 16 games .908 save percentage
Eric Engstrand LW/RW – 2019-20 Malmo juniors – 37 games 23 goals 35 assists
Philippe Daoust LW/C – 2019-20 Moncton QMJHL – 58 games 7 goals 22 assists
Cole Reinhardt LW – 2019-20 Brandon WHL – 56 games 31 goals 24 assists
The day wasn’t without one more surprise – this one left jaws dropping.
With the deadline to issue qualifying offers to retain the rights to the club’s restricted free agents closing at 5 pm, Pierre Dorion announced Anthony Duclair, Jayce Hawryluk, and Andreas Englund didn’t receive offers.
It came as a shock Duclair wasn’t tendered an offer. Acquired from Columbus in February 2019, Duclair notched 31 goals, 54 points in his 87 games with the Senators.
Off to a great start this past season, the Pointe-Claire, QC resident was the team’s representative for the 2020 All-Star Game. However, Duclair wasn’t the same player after blocking a shot off his skate in late-December. It may have been a bit of bad luck, but the left wing posted only two of his 23 goals in his final games.
Dorion explained the club’s reasoning to Full Press NHL, “I don’t want really want to get into the specifics of a negotiation. Anthony chose to represent himself and we told him from Day One, it’s not easy to represent yourself. We offered him a substantial raise over what he made last year. And it’s unfortunate we couldn’t come to a contract agreement. But we don’t close the door on anything but he will declare free agency.”
What is known; Duclair’s qualifying offer was only $1.65 million. However, Duclair held arbitration rights, possibly seeking to cash in on a solid season. It remains to be seen what Duclair may bring on the free-agent, market coming off his best campaign since his first full NHL season in 2015-16 with the Coyotes. The 25-year old will be seeking his sixth organization since his NHL debut with the Rangers in 2014-15.