Senators are excited to be selecting from No. 9 position

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 12:23 PM ET

The Senators turned out a big winner in yesterday's draft lottery.

While they didn't get the top prize -- Rimouski Oceanic centre Sidney Crosby -- the Senators will have the No. 9 selection in the NHL entry draft being held next Saturday at the Westin Hotel in Ottawa.

"I'm thrilled and I'm excited to get the No. 9 pick. That's a lot better than being at No. 23, which is what was projected," Senators GM John Muckler said during a conference call yesterday from New York.

"I know the scouts are going to be thrilled. I know everybody watching it on television was watching it (go backwards). I was in the room and saw it live. I was starting to worry when we got to No. 8 and we hadn't been selected yet because in the room it was Pittsburgh who was pulled out first. There is a belief among our scouting staff that at No. 9 we might be able to get a player who could play for us this year."

The Senators have always built through the draft. That will become important in the new NHL because with a salary cap in place, teams are going to have to draft well and sign their players to long-term contracts.

Senators owner Eugene Melnyk said he's not sure how much Muckler is going to have to spend on payroll this season, but there will be an ample opportunity for the club to keep the team together and move forward.

"We met yesterday and that was one of the (issues) we discussed. Right now, we're in a situation where we are just making estimates and we're not sure where everything is going to fall," said Melnyk.

"Our priority is to get our own players under contract and I'm not sure we can talk about other teams' free agents."


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