Senators looking to move up in draft

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:44 PM ET

OTTAWA - If the Senators want to move up in next week’s NHL draft, they might have to make a deal with the Devils.

League sources say if Ottawa GM Bryan Murray wants to chose earlier than the No. 6 spot in next Friday’s draft in Minnesota, he should call the Devils, who have the fourth overall pick.

Sources say the Devils are so concerned about the lack of prospects in their organization, they’d be willing to drop back from their No. 4 spot for two first-rounders or a first-rounder and a high second-round pick.

With the sixth and 21st picks in the first round and three picks in the second, the Senators should be able to make Devils GM Lou Lamoriello a solid offer.

Murray, however, said he likely won’t enter into any serious discussions until he arrives in Minnesota for the draft.

“I’ve only talked to two teams ahead of me,” said Murray. “It will be one of those things where the week of the draft, you have a chance. The day of the draft (teams) will change their demand to something higher. If you’re willing to pay, somebody might move.”

With the Senators having stocked up on blueliners, assistant GM Tim Murray and director of scouting Pierre Dorion will be looking to draft the best available forward with their first pick.

By all accounts, the Oilers are going to draft Red Deer Rebels centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins with the No. 1 overall pick.

From there, it becomes a bit of a guessing game.

The Avalanche sit at No. 2 and could use that pick to take Memorial Cup MVP Jonathan Huberdeau of the Saint John Sea Dogs. The Panthers have the third pick and might use it to select Swedish defenceman Adam Larsson.

Like Huberdeau

After the Devils’ pick at No. 4, the Islanders have the fifth pick and will likely use it on a blueliner, which would be Larsson if he’s available or Dougie Hamilton of the Niagara IceDogs.

The player the Senators seem most interested in is Huberdeau, a centre who saw his stock shoot up with an outstanding QMJHL playoff run and a Memorial Cup to match it.

“They watched the Sea Dogs quite a bit,” said a league executive. “The Senators know Huberdeau extremely well. To trade up to get Huberdeau could be tough because I’m not sure anybody is going to give them that luxury.”

If the Senators can get to No. 4, it would give them more options as star forwards Gabriel Landeskog, of the Kitchener Rangers, Sean Couturier, of the Drummondville Voltigeurs, or Niagara’s Ryan Strome could still be available.

“They’ll get a good player at No. 6 if they stay there. No question,” said an Eastern Conference scout. “But they might have the option to move up and get the player they really want.”

Landeskog, a right winger, is going to be ready to play next season and has excellent leadership capabilities. Couturier, a centre, is still growing into his 6-foot-4 frame, but is an excellent prospect. As for Strome, the Senators have scouted him all season and liked what they’ve seen of the centre.

“Landeskog is the man-child right now. He can play. He’s a great person and a great character,” said the scout. Couturier is a can’t miss. He just needs to get stronger.”

bruce.garrioch@sunmedia.ca


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