Make no bones about it, the Ottawa Senators’ seventh overall selection in Thursday evening’s Entry Draft is in play. General Manager Pierre Dorion has made it clear on numerous occasions, the club has its eyes set on landing a top-six forward and preferably, a top-four defenseman this off-season.
If the Senators’ GM is going to accomplish at least one of his targets, the time is nigh – meaning at the Draft.
As much as fans are dreaming of inking pending unrestricted free agent and Ottawa area resident, forward Claude Giroux, there’s no guarantee. At age 34, Giroux is in win-now mode. And while the Senators are seeking to inch closer to a postseason berth in 2022-23, the former Philadelphia Flyers captain wants to have a shot at a Cup ring sooner than later.
Relying on bringing in high-end talent via free agency is a crapshoot. With this in mind, Dorion’s best bet is to add to his roster through trade.
The GM intimated Wednesday, that he’s been fielding calls for his first-round selection, and he’s hoping the offers get more enticing as it gets closer to 7 pm ET.
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Still, Dorion said the chance of dealing the pick remains 50/50.
The Senators currently possess 11 selections over seven rounds, including two in each of the second and third rounds.
Dorion has put the club in an excellent position with either scenario. He can move the seventh overall pick in a trade or choose to hand it over to Trent Mann to make a selection, then move the Senators’ second-rounders to improve his squad.
Draft options include; forwards Cutter Gauthier (USNDTP), Conor Geekie (Winnipeg WHL) Joakim Kemmell (JYP Finland), Jonathan Lekkerimaki (Djurgardens SHL), Frank Nazar (USNDTP), Matthew Savoie (Winnipeg WHL); defenseman David Jiricek (Plzen Czechia).
Teams such as Tampa Bay and Vegas have to move players to free up cap space. Others such as Arizona and Chicago are looking to add more picks and are willing to shed roster players.
There are plenty of rumours abound of players on the block. Montreal Canadiens forwards Josh Anderson and Christian Dvorak were linked to the Senators by multiple people Wednesday. However, the pair may not be enough to pry Ottawa’s top selection away.
The Coyotes are shopping d-man Jakob Chychrun. Blues sniper Vladimir Tarasenko wants to move on from St. Louis. Blackhawks forward Dylan Strome is also a player that will likely be moved at the Draft.
What Pierre Dorion does is anyone’s guess. But all eyes, especially Senators’ fans will be on the Senators’ GM as the clock strikes 7pm Thursday evening.
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