Two weeks ago, the Ottawa Senators won the third and fifth overall picks in the 2020 NHL Draft. This article will look at what prospects are in the running for Ottawa to select with their fifth pick. In a recent interview Senators’ general manager Pierre Dorion did with Sportsnet, he said after the third pick, there is group of nine players that are at a similar tier. That means there could up to be nine players in the running for the Ottawa Senators draft options at the fifth spot. The prospects we will look at are Ben Kerr’s next nine players he has ranked after the third pick.
Ottawa Senators Draft Options
Two players we aren’t going to highlight are Anton Lundell and Jack Quinn. Lundell is projected as a good two-way centreman, Ottawa has many of those types of players with Colin White, Joshua Norris and Shane Pinto, so there is a low chance they pick Lundell. Out of the nine players in the running, Quinn is ranked the lowest on Kerr’s list, and that is similar on many other draft lists. Therefore, the chance Ottawa takes him fifth is low. To learn more about those players, please read Kerr’s scouting reports on Lundell and Quinn.
Jamie Drysdale is the player Kerr has the Ottawa Senators picking at number five in his post lottery mock draft. According to Kerr’s scouting report, Drysdale could be a franchise defenceman. His excellent skating allows him to be impactful on all areas of the ice. He has the vision and passing ability to be great in the offensive zone. Defensively, he is intelligent positionally and has an active stick to break up plays.
Where He Fits
Adding Drysdale would mean Ottawa is building a new-age defence that emphasizes skating and puck-moving ability. Many of Ottawa’s top young defence players/prospects like Thomas Chabot, Erik Brannstrom, Jacob Bernard-Docker, Lassi Thomson and Christian Wolanin possess these traits. If Drysdale becomes a franchise defender, he could form a super pairing with Thomas Chabot. They could also play on different pairings, and the Senators could play two franchise defenders for 80 percent of the game.
Lucas Raymond is a playmaking left-winger ranked fifth by Kerr. According to his scouting report, Raymond projects as a top-line winger in the NHL. He’s an excellent skater with great speed and agility. His best asset is his playmaking ability. He can use his vision and intelligence to find the open teammate and make a smart pass. He also has a good wrist shot with a quick release. Defensively, he has proper positioning and a solid work ethic.
Where He Fits
Raymond would allow the Ottawa Senators to have an impressive group of young left-wingers. In the NHL they have Brady Tkachuk, was Ottawa’s leading scorer this season, and Anthony Duclair, their 2020 All-Star game representative. In the AHL, they have speedster Alex Formenton who scored 27 goals in his rookie season in the AHL, which was second among rookies behind teammate Joshua Norris. They also have Rudolfs Balcers who isn’t elite at any one skill but has an all-around offensive game. Raymond’s addition would allow Ottawa to have the luxury of not having all their young left-wingers make it and still be in a good position.
Marco Rossi is a dynamic centre/left-winger who can do almost everything at a high level. Kerr’s scouting report says Rossi is a great skater by both being fast and having excellent agility. He also has strong legs and a low-centre-of gravity to win board battles even though he’s 5′-9″. Rossi has a quick wrist shot, and he’s also a great playmaker, making him a threat both as a passer and a shooter. Defensively, he’s excellent on face-offs, can kill penalties and is smart positionally. He could become a first-line NHL centre.
Where He Fits
The Ottawa Senators have a good collection of centres who could be middle-six players like Logan Brown, Norris, White and Pinto. What they don’t have is a player who projects to be a first-line centre. Rossi could fix that problem. His intelligence, combined with his playmaking and shooting ability allows him to work with many wingers. However, if Rossi isn’t Ottawa’s answer as a number one centre, they can easily move him to left-wing.
Cole Perfetti is one of the most highly skilled forwards in the draft. He has the agility and puck control ability to be creative, the shooting ability to be a sniper and the vision and passing ability to be a playmaker. The only knock against him offensively is he is not fast; he has average speed. Defensively, he is willing to work in the defensive end and is usually good positionally. Kerr sees him as potentially a top-line forward. Perfetti can either play centre or left-wing.
Where He Fits
Perfetti fits similarly as Rossi if he reaches his potential, he could be a top-line left-winger or centre. Stylistically, Perfetti gives something the Ottawa Senators don’t have-a sniper. Perfetti will give Ottawa a player who can score further out from the net and be a shooter on the power play. Ottawa has a few players like Logan Brown and Drake Batherson, who are good playmakers to set Perfetti up. A player like Tkachuk would benefit from Perfetti’s playmaking ability and to bang in his rebounds. With Perfetti’s toolkit, he could work with many forwards.
Kerr has Alexander Holtz projected as a top-line winger. He is a goal scorer. Regardless of the type of shot, Holtz can find a way to score with it. When he’s not trying to score, Holtz has good playmaking ability and a good work ethic defensively. His positioning needs some work on the defensive end.
Where He Fits
Holtz can play any wing but his ability to play right-wing would be a big boost for Ottawa. Right now, only Drake Batherson and Connor Brown could be top-six right-wingers. Vitaly Abramov might be able to do it too, but he’s a wildcard. He loves to play creatively, and there is no indication yet on whether he can do that at the NHL level. Adding Holtz as a right-winger would be a big boost. As mentioned with Perfetti, Ottawa doesn’t have a sniper, so Holtz’s skill set will stand out.
In his scouting report, Kerr writes that Yaroslav Askarov is one of the best goaltending prospects in several years. Askarov has excellent size at 6′-2″ and 176 pounds and uses his size to his advantage by coming out of his net and cutting down angels. He also has excellent rebound control and the athleticism to move quickly around the crease. If he does give up a bad goal, Askarov can shake it off quickly.
Where He Fits
Askarov would be Ottawa’s top goalie prospect if they selected him. The Senators have five good goaltending players/prospects with Marcus Hogberg, Joey Daccord, Filip Gustavsson, Kevin Mandolese and Mads Sogaard. Right now, only two look like they could become NHL goalies. Hogberg had a solid rookie season in the NHL, posting a 3.12 goals against average and a .904 save percentage. Daccord posted a 2.61 goals against average and a .921 save percentage in his rookie season in the AHL. The rest of the prospects haven’t proven themselves as good goalies at the pro-level yet. As a top goalie prospect, Askarov could give Ottawa a superstar goalie that they don’t have in their system.
The last player on this list is Jake Sanderson. Sanderson is ranked 11th by Kerr but because he is projected as the second-best defensive prospect in this draft, he deserves consideration. Kerr’s scouting report on Sanderson is that he is a two-way defenceman. His hockey intelligence allows him read the game and break up plays. He is effective at using either his stick or body to separate a player from the puck. Sanderson is a fantastic skater as well, this allows him to cover a lot of the ice quickly, and make it difficult for forwards to get past him. He’s not a dynamic offensive player, but he usually makes the correct decision on the attack.
Where He Fits
Ottawa’s defence has a few offensively minded defencemen like Chabot, Brannstrom, Wolanin and Thomson. Having a defensively sound defenceman like Sanderson would provide balance to Ottawa’s defence.
Chabot and Brannstrom are Ottawa’s most dynamic offensive defencemen, and Sanderson’s playing style makes him a good fit for either of them. He can let them do their thing offensively and he would take care of the defensive end. Sanderson is a left-shooting defenceman like Chabot and Brannstrom, so it isn’t a perfect fit.
While it may be disappointing that Ottawa didn’t get the top pick, they are fortunate to have two high picks in this deep draft. Whoever Ottawa selects at third and fifth overall is going to be an outstanding prospect. The tricky part at fifth overall is choosing which player. Draft day, whenever that is, should be an exciting time for Ottawa Senators’ fans.