Sens' young guns will make impact soon

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:27 PM ET

The future looks bright for the Senators.

While it might be tough for fans, director of player personnel Pierre Dorion returned from Sweden, where he got a chance to catch up with top prospects David Rundblad and Jakob Silfverbeg.

And after getting a look at what the Senators have coming down the road, Dorion was raving about the progress of both prospects, with a promise that Rundblad will play here next year.

Acquired from St. Louis for the No. 16 pick in last year’s draft, Rundblad, 20, who is playing for Skelleftea HC, is not only the best player on his team, he could be the top blueliner in Sweden.

Dorion said the plan is to have Rundblad, who was already signed to a deal by the Blues before being dealt here, in the NHL next year as long as he follows the off-season training Ottawa has set for him.

“He was outstanding. He’s an offensive-type defenceman who can move the puck and pass it really well. On top of that, he’s shown great improvement in his defensive play,” said Dorion.

“We feel that he’s going to be a good player for us in the very near future.

“If he gets stronger, he’ll definitely have an impact and he’ll be somebody our fans will be excited to see next year.”

Rundblad has 10 goals and 31 assists in 49 games this season with Skelleftea and is averaging 25-30 minutes a night. The rigours of the NHL aren’t easy, but the Senators believe he can handle the pace.

“It’s a pretty high-paced league and with a big summer, I don’t think it will be an issue,” said Dorion. “We feel as a 20-year-old, what he’s doing in the Swedish Elite League as the first player to ever to get to 40 points that young, I wouldn’t worry about the level of play there compared to the level of play here.

“There’ll be an adjustment, but he’ll have an impact.”

Winger Silfverberg, 20, a second-round selection of the Senators in the 2009 draft, has 15 goals and 14 assists, playing alongside former Senators winger Andreas Dackell with Brynas IF Gavle.

‘Responsible’

“He’s responsible away from the puck and he’s probably got one of the best shots on the team,” said Dorion. “We’ve got a good player there who we hope to sign. We hope he comes over and contributes. With Jakob Silfverberg, we have an NHL player. Down the road we’ll be very comfortable with saying this guy will be a second- or third-line player or maybe even more.”

Dorion, who also caught a glimpse of draft prospect Adam Larsson in Skelleftea, was pleased GM Bryan Murray was able to get a second No. 1 pick from Nashville in the deal for centre Mike Fisher.

“We’re ecstatic to have two picks in this draft. It’s a really quality draft,” said Dorion. “Having two first-rounders and having two second-rounders, you don’t want to be arrogant, but I feel we’re going to get four quality assets for this organization.

“The guy we’re taking with our first pick: We hope, no, not hope, he will contribute next year. This year’s draft is much deeper than last year’s draft.”


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