The 2020 NHL Entry Draft was all any hockey fan could talk about Tuesday night. With a longer than usual season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, draft night was finally upon us and the lights were shining virtually.
For the Ottawa Senators, this draft will be a historic one for many years to come. The organization has had its fair share of being the laughing stock of the league. Having three first-round picks, GM Pierre Dorion and Trent Mann, Director of Amateur Scouting, were ready to get started.
Adler Mannheim DEL – Tim Stützle #3
The Senators started their draft festivities guns blazing when they picked Adler Mannheim forward Tim Stützle of the DEL with the third overall pick. Heading into draft night, the question mark surrounding the number two and three pick was huge. But the Senators pulled the trigger on Stützle when the Los Angeles Kings landed Quinton Byfield a pick earlier.
Stützle was clearly on the Senators radar as he was projected to go in the 2-3 range going into draft night. Pierre Dorion basically confirmed the Senators would be picking the remaining player of the two (Byfield/Stützle) a few weeks ago in an interview with TSN1200.
The 18-year-old scored 34 points last season with Adler Mannheim in 41 games played. Clearly Stützle stood out among the pack as he dominated his way in a league with strong veteran presences. A close comparable for the youngster has been Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane, which the Senators would be thrilled with if he pans out in that manner.
He’ll be returning to Mannheim to continue playing overseas until the NHL knows when the 2020 season will commence. Until then, the Senators will no doubt keep an eye on his progression and continue getting a read on him until training camps start opening up.
Going into the 2020-21 season, Stützle should make the Senators opening night roster without a doubt. He’s a player who has played in a tough league in Europe, and if he’s not able to crack the NHL roster, I’d be shocked to not see him down in the AHL with the Belleville Senators.
University of North Dakota – Jake Sanderson #5
Following the Stützle selection, the Senators were once again at the podium soon enough to make their fifth overall selection. With closely scouted forward Lucas Raymond going to the Detroit Red Wings at the number four spot, the Senators were left with Jamie Drysdale, Jake Sanderson and a few other notable names at number five.
The Sanderson selection could probably be considered a reach when you see the other options that were available. While many scouts like Sanderson’s game and what he brings to the table, the Senators might’ve benefited more from a Jamie Drysdale as he’s a right-handed defensemen.
Sanderson spent his season as captain for the U.S. National U18 Team where he scored 29 points in 47 games. He then went onto the USNTDP Juniors where he’d tally 14 points in 19 games.
I don’t anticipate Sanderson being ready for another season or two, he’ll be going to the University of North Dakota next season where former draft pick Jacob Bernard-Docker and him will share the ice. He’ll need to continue improving his game overall, but realistically should get a longer look in the 2021-2022 season for the Senators.
Jake Sanderson at the number five spot isn’t a sexy pick by any means, but Trent Mann has shown that he’s willing to take risks in previous drafts and they usually work out in the end. I guess the question for some is, why would you take a risk at the number five selection? Only time will tell.
Brandon Wheat Kings WHL – Ridly Greig #28
The night for the Senators ended with their final first-round pick being at 28, where they selected forward Ridly Greig of the WHL.
Greig, 18, just concluded his second full junior season where he notched 60 points in 50 games played.
While not the flashiest player that was taken in the first round on Tuesday night, Ridly Greig is more known for his toughness to play against when he’s on the ice. He won’t score 25 goals a season for you, but he’s determined to make the opposing team lose their mind whenever they have to face him.
Greig could be someone that is an impactful player for the Ottawa Senators in the near future. Realistically, I think he’s still a few years away before he gets a long look from the team. Nonetheless, he’ll be a great bottom six forward when the time comes for him to step up and shine.
Round 1 review
The Ottawa Senators made two great picks to start off the draft on Tuesday. Some will say that Greig shouldn’t have gone ahead of the likes of Ryan O’Rourke, Noel Gunler and other names. The fact of the matter is, the Ottawa Senators made their bed and now they have to live with it.
Let’s see what day two of the draft brings for the franchise.