The NHL Draft has always been an exciting night. Whether you’re a team that’s gasping for air, or one that’s on cloud nine, it’s a glimpse of your franchise’s future. The Ottawa Senators 2019 Draft brought hope to a team that is looking for success from a deathbed they put themselves into. The Senators headed into draft night with nine picks at their fingertips, leaving them with many options to make hits rather than miss.
Ottawa Senators 2019 Draft
Rounds 1 and 2
With the pick acquired in the Matt Duchene trade, the Senators used it to draft Finnish defensemen Lassi Thomson 19th overall from the Kelowna Rockets of the WHL. Thomson, 18, came over to North America last season where he registered 43 points in 71 games for the Rockets.
While there was definitely more talent and sexier picks on the board at number 19, the Sens stuck to their guns. At the end of the day, defensemen were dropping like flies on Friday night, and the organization rolled the dice on their guy. Players like Arthur Kaliyev, Bobby Brink and Ryan Suzuki were still available when the Senators went up on stage. But Trent Mann and his scouting team ultimately decided Lassi was the one they’d call out. Well, Brady Tkachuk did.
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) June 22, 2019
The fact that the Ottawa Senators 2019 draft began with this selection didn’t sit well with some fans of the team. As mentioned above, there were at least three other players that they should have tried to target instead of a defensemen.
Rundown on Lassi Thomson
Thomson is, in all honesty, not a bad apple in any shape or form. It’s nice to see for once the Sens going outside the box and selecting talent instead of grit players. Lassi is a fine offensive defensemen, who is mobile and has great vision. Two great signs early on nevertheless.
The 18-year-old is a phenomenal and smooth puck handler that the Sens could definitely use on the man advantage down the road. Ever since Erik Karlsson left, Thomas Chabot has had to be the QB on the back end for the team. With a guy like Thomson in the works now, it seems like help is en route for the Ottawa Senators.
One main concern with Thomson is the principle of him returning to Finland next year to play in Liiga again. It was very evident he helped Kelowna on the back end. Some analysts were convinced the Senators will try and change his mind about going overseas this year. He’s already made the adjustment to hockey in North America, and staying here would be best for his growth.
Lassi was definitely a reach at number 19, but the Sens picked the best player for the team, and not the best player available. Except that was a mistake they would make throughout day two of the 2019 draft.
Remember how I just mentioned the mistakes the Senators made on day two? Here is the first one. The Senators started day two of the NHL Draft with the first pick at number 32 and selected centre Shane Pinto. This was the first real ‘Okay, what are you doing?’ pick from Ottawa Senators 2019 draft. Guys like Kaliyev, Brink, Suzuki and Rapahel Lavoie were still in the mix, and the Senators approved Pinto to be the guy.
Pinto spent last season in the USHL for the Lincoln Stars before being traded to the Tri-City Storm. In 56 games, he scored a total of 59 points between the two teams. A big centre like Pinto could be something the Sens could use in terms of size, but the skill level doesn’t match up compared to the names that they left on the table.
Patience is something that is going to have to be correlated with Shane Pinto also. He’s on track to attend the University of North Dakota to play for their hockey program in the NCAA. Pinto will join the selections of the 2018 draft from the Sens in defensemen Jacob Bernard-Docker and Jonny Tychonick.
Lassi Thomson was somewhat a player that people could get behind even after some groaning, but Pinto was extremely off the board. Adding insult to injury, the Los Angeles Kings picked Kaliyev the next pick 33 — eye-rolls incoming from Sens fans.
After selecting Pinto, Pierre Dorion flipped his 44th overall pick and his third round pick to the Carolina Hurricanes for pick 37. With that pick, he selected goaltender Mads Soogard from the Medicine Hat Tigers of the WHL. In 37 games played, the 6’7” 18-year-old posted a .921 save percentage and a goals against average of 2.64. Soogard played with Jordan Hollett in Medicine Hat who was one of their selections in 2018.
Soogard is actually a great pick if you look at it from a talent perspective. It just doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense for the Sens considering their crease is already crowded enough. The youngster also played for Denmark at the world juniors in recent memory, where he stood on his head for the team after all was said and done.
Like I mentioned, the pick is not sour because of talent. It’s because of the roster that the Sens already have at the goalie position. You would think this means Mike Condon is gone.
The crease may be crowded for now, but you’d hope Pierre Dorion has a plan in how to eliminate some of the names in there to make room for players like Soogard. Goalies also take quite long to develop. In the end, it might be a calculated risk, but as of now it can be interpreted as a puzzling one.
The next three picks were once again a ‘left in the dark’ approach to the Ottawa Senators 2019 draft strategy.
Viktor Lodin was a player that was apparently discovered when the Sens were scouting in Europe and ended up signing Nick Ebert. Lodin, 20, played for Orebro last year in the SHL and scored five points in 41 games played. Nothing too special, and quite frankly hard to be optimistic about since the guy is already 20 years old.
Mark Kastelic is another over-age player that the Sens selected on day two of the draft. Kastellic is already 20-years-old and dominated for the Calgary Hitmen in the WHL last season. Like he should have. A 20-year-old player in junior should be firing on all cylinders considering they’re older than most of their competition.
It’s hard to judge any player accurately at this point of the draft so I’ll just leave it at this. Kastelic was clearly a pick that the Senators could’ve looked the other way on. He’s not a young guy any longer and last year was his last season in the juniors. It seems like the Sens will have to sign him in hopes of seeing how he shapes up in the AHL most likely.
Guenette is not a bad pick considering the way you look at it. The 18-year-old finished just his second season in the QMJHL last year scoring 32 points in 68 games with Val-d’Or. He’s still extremely young and players picked in the seventh round are not picked to count on being superstars. Yes, there are some that happened. Relax people.
Guenette is still a raw prospect and has a ways to go. But he’s definitely a player that wasn’t a bad choice to gamble on. Patience will be something that will go with Guenette, and the Senators can only hope he improves his game to one day be in the lineup.
Final word on the Ottawa Senators 2019 Draft
To wrap this up, the team should have been more precise with some of their picks they made. It was almost like they froze like a deer in highlights at some points of the draft.
The average age of their picks was 19.4 — something that shouldn’t be connected with a team that’s trying to go all young.
Only time will tell how these players end up, but so far it looks like a very mediocre/underwhelming draft.
Main Image Credit: