Mann took time out from working on mock drafts and creating various scenarios with Senators’ amateur scouts to meet local media via Zoom.
Once again for pandemic reasons, the Entry Draft will be conducted virtually with Round One going Friday evening, continuing with Rounds Two through Seven starting Saturday morning.
Barring a change, the Senators currently hold the 10th overall pick. If they do indeed select 10th, it will be for the first time in franchise history.
The club also possess picks in the 39, 42, 74, 170, 202 positions. While six picks doesn’t sound like many, the Senators made only six selections in 2019, with d-man Lassi Thomson, forward Shane Pinto, goalie Mads Sogaard being the top three.
Four Canadian-based amateur scouts will be in attendance at the CTC during the Draft. While all other scouts will be convening from their homes in Europe and the United States.
The consensus no.1 for the upcoming Entry Draft is University of Michigan defenseman Owen Power. The Mississauga, ON resident stands six-foot-six, weighing 214 pounds. Power put his stamp on his number one ranking after his solid performance playing on a team of mainly NHL players at the recent IIHF World Hockey Championship.
Beyond Power, the top 10-15 potential selections vary from list to list depending on which scouting agency or Draft expert you may follow.
TSN.ca posted this mock list from Draft guru Craig Button Tuesday.
1. Buffalo Sabres – Owen Power D
2. Seattle Kraken – Matty Beniers C
3. Anaheim Ducks – Dylan Guenther RW
4. New Jersey Devils – Mason McTavish C
5. Columbus Blue Jackets – Simon Edvinsson D
6. Detroit Red Wings – William Eklund LW
7. San Jose Sharks – Luke Hughes D
8. Los Angeles Kings – Brandt Clarke D
9. Vancouver Canucks – Kent Johnson C
10. Ottawa Senators – Jesper Wallstedt G
11. Arizona Coyotes – Forfeiture
12. Chicago Blackhawks – Chaz Lucius C
13. Calgary Flames Cole Sillinger C
14. Philadelphia Flyers – Brennan Othmann LW
15. Dallas Stars – Matthew Coronato RW
Mann as all chief amateur scouts do; remains confident the Senators will select a player who’ll be beneficial for the club in future.
“At this point in time, I’m very confident that we’re going to get a player we’re extremely excited about, and is going to be able help the organization down the road at some point. A lot of people probably already heard the likelihood of somebody stepping directly into the NHL is difficult on a normal year or under normal circumstances – so when you pick at 10, they’re unlikely to play this coming season, but down the road I have no doubt that player can help us for sure,” said Mann.
This particular Entry Draft may be a little bit different due to the Ontario League being shut down all season. Of course, there are two Ottawa area players in forward Mason McTavish (Peterborough) and blue-liner Brandt Clarke (Barrie) who will most certainly be top eight-nine selections. However, the majority of draft-eligible players didn’t see action elsewhere.
“I feel really bad for the Ontario-based players. I wasn’t a NHL player, but I did play for a long time. You kind of put yourself in their shoes, you feel bad for them. You feel bad for the lost opportunities. But that’s their reality as well, for us it makes the job that much harder. The reality is right now, there are that have not played a game since March 2020. That’s the reality of it, that makes our job that much more difficult. I think we’ve done as much work as we possibly can do on those Ontario-based kids to acquire as much information that we could,” explained Mann.
“But at the end of the day, some of them didn’t play at all. We’ll have to work through that. The nice thing for those kids is, if some of those kids don’t get drafted this year for that reason, they’ll have an opportunity next year to show what they can do, and we’ll be prepared and watch those kids – and we’ll have a book on them into next year – see what happens. We’re not scared to take a player a year older if we they can help the organization.”
Drafting players aged 19 and 20 is something the Senators have done in the past, including at the 2020 Draft with a pair of 20-year olds in Egor Sokolov and Eric Engstrand.
Mann did have the luxury of bringing several Ontario and former OHL players on Amateur Tryout deals with the Senators’ American League Belleville affiliate. Greyhounds forward Joe Carroll, 67’s D Merrick Rippon, goalie Cedrick Andree and center Mitch Hoelscher among those getting a look-see with Belleville.
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Hoelscher was a Devils 2018 sixth-round pick who went unsigned.
Mann told Full Press NHL, “That’s how they end up there (with Belleville) Something has come up in the past that we want to know more about. These are kids that have been passed through the Draft, but they’re on team’s radars for sure. And you want to get a little more information. What better way to get more information than to spend time with them on a day-to-day basis. See what the upside is from a strength and conditioning standpoint. See what they’re able to do on the ice with American Hockey League level players and high prospects. So that process was good. I thought that was one of the pieces of a silver-lining to have players in there so that we could get some feedback in-house. “What is the upside and how right were we? How far off were we?” That’s part of our job. We have to get better at what we do. If we’re not evaluating that and using these players as the measuring the stick, we’re not doing justice for the organization.”
With highly-touted netminders Jesper Wallstedt, the youngest-ever to play the Swedish Pro League and Sebastian Cossa of Edmonton in the Western League available, Mann was asked if the Senators were willing to select a goalie 10th overall, especially if the team loses Joey Daccord to the Seattle Kraken Wednesday evening.
“We’ve had that discussion with our scouts. “If you lose a goaltender to Expansion, so how do you feel now about our depth?” I’ve talked to the scouts about it. I’ve talked in-house here to management about that scenario. Actually I do have a call today with (Senators goalie coach) Zac Bierk and (Belleville goalie coach) Justin Peters. There’s a couple of more discussions on that. There’s no doubt they’re solid prospects. There’s goalies that turn out in that are drafted later in the Draft. That’s always the way it works as well. As a scenario to take a goalie, we’re not scared to take a goalie anywhere in the Draft if it helps the organization. Tomorrow will give us a better indication which route we’ll go.”
General Manager Pierre Dorion is also leaving the door open to a trade, added the Senators chief amateur scout.
“Absolutely open to it,” Mann said. “When you get to five-six-seven there’ll be teams that will call if we’re willing to move back and switch with them. We’re willing to listen for sure. I think we have an obligation to listen what’s out there if it’s going to help the Ottawa Senators be better down the road. I’m always willing to listen to what the scenario is – whatever gets presented to Pierre (Dorion) and see. We’ve talked about these scenarios and will continue to talk about them the next couple of days as well. and hypotheticals. If we move back one spot, two spots, four, what’s going to be left. Are we still comfortable with the player we’re getting compared to the player we’re were going to pick?”
One thing is for certain the next few days leading up to and including Free Agent Frenzy July 28 are going to mold the Senators’ roster for the coming season. And I’m sure Sens fans can hardly wait.