Senators look to deal at draft, eye Oilers' No. 1 pick

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:07 AM ET

OTTAWA - The Senators are ready to deal at the draft.

GM Bryan Murray, assistant Tim Murray and director of player personnel Pierre Dorion are listening to all offers as they head to St. Paul, Minn., this week to prepare for the draft beginning Friday.

Speaking to reporters at Scotiabank Place on Monday, Tim Murray said the club will attempt to trade up from the sixth overall pick — and wouldn’t rule out trying to pry the No. 1 selection away from the Edmonton Oilers.

“The decision on whether we can do it has been made. If the scenario works, we will do it,” said Murray.

“We’re certainly willing to move up to No. 3 (held by the Florida Panthers), to No. 1 and if that doesn’t work and we look at our list and we can move down two spots to get more assets to get the same player we like ... we’ve gone through this a hundred times, formally and informally. We’ve shown we can manoeuvre picks. That’s what we like to do.”

With six picks — including at No. 6 and 21 in Round 1 — in the first 66 selections, the Senators are in a position of strength. They’ve got assets to play with, including three picks in the second round that can be used to move up.

Murray hasn’t ruled out dealing roster players, either.

“We’re willing to listen to anything,” said Murray. “With the guys we traded at the deadline last year, they were great guys. Well-established on the team and well-established in the community, but we have to get better.

“If it’s a combination of draft picks and a roster player, Bryan is very willing to listen to that and to execute if it suits us.”

With their first pick, expect the Senators to take one of the players they brought to Ottawa for workouts and interviews: Forwards Gabriel Landeskog (Kitchener, OHL), Ryan Strome (Niagara, OHL), Jonathan Huberdeau (Saint John, QMJHL), Sean Couturier (Drummondville, QMJHL) or Mika Zibanejad (Djurgarden, Sweden). Also invited was Niagara defenceman Doug Hamilton, who couldn’t make it due to previous commitments.

The Senators haven’t ruled out taking a defenceman, even though they need forwards.

“It is time (to look at a forward), but if we’re picking six, five forwards go and (Adam) Larsson is the next guy on the board, then we’ll be picking Larsson,” said Murray, referring to the Swedish defenceman playing for Skelleftea.

“It’s that simple. We can’t walk away from a guy that we think is a top-end player and take a lesser player.”

Dorion said a team can’t stray from its philosophy just because it has an abundance of young blueliners.

“We always take a player who will be the best for us down the road,” said Dorion. “The guys you’re going to take in the Top 10 won’t help you win right away.

“Whoever we take at No. 6, there might be some other guys who are more ready, but we want guys to help us win when they become physically and mentally mature.”

Dorion predicted the Senators will be in good shape at the end of the first round.

“We feel we’re going to get a very good pick at 21,” he said. “So we feel we’re going to get a good player at both six and 21.”


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