How Oliver Ekman-Larsson Was Almost A Senator

Every however many years, you catch winds of trades that were offered or could have been made. Talking to Randy Sexton on a podcast, you learn that Quebec made a substantial offer at the 1993 draft so that they could move up to take Chris Pronger – and dreams of names like Forsberg, Sundin, Nolan, and Sakic dance around in your head.

Steve Yzerman was allegedly almost dealt to the Sens. The two teams had agreed in principle to a deal that would have sent trade that would have seen Chris Osgood and Steve Yzerman dealt to the Senators in exchange for Alexei Yashin, Damian Rhodes and Ottawa's first round picks in 1996 and 1997. But rumours persist that the trade negotiations were simply a tactical ploy to scare Yzerman into making better defensive commitments.

Well, thanks to a tweet by @steffeG, the most recent trade nugget comes way of Swedish journalist Uffe Bodin who interviewed former Senators European scout, Anders Forsberg. 

While crediting Forsberg for being the one primarily responsible for the Senators trading up to draft the likes of Erik Karlsson, trading for David Rundblad and selecting Jakob Silfverberg and Robin Lehner, the real interesting bit buried at the bottom of the article is in regards to how Forsberg had convinced the Senators to move up in the 2009 draft to take Oliver Ekman-Larsson.

Via Google translation:

Although it succeeded Anders Forsberg convince team management that they would trade up in the draft to try to pick the Swedish reversing the talent. It was not the way because the Phoenix Coyotes selected Ekman Larsson already the sixth player, earlier than expected.


To move up, the Sens would have likely had to move their ninth overall selection used to take Jared Cowen and I'm assuming one of their two second rounders used to pick Silfverberg and Lehner. 

I can't recall when the infamous Bryan Murray/Brian Burke discussion took place either, I'm pretty sure it transpired right before the Leafs' selection which would have meant OEL was already off the board.

The Leafs had the seventh overall selection — picking immediately after Phoenix — so if this conversation happened prior to Phoenix actually making the pick, then this perpetuated belief that Murray actually wanted Nazem Kadri is bunk. If anything, Burke tipped his hand to Murray on who he was actually taking – giving Ottawa a better idea on who would be available to them later.

But if this discussion actually took place after the OEL selection and Murray was being sincere when he said he wanted Kadri (something I was never really convinced of), today's news simply means that based on the way that the draft evolved, Jared Cowen was probably Ottawa's Plan C.

For what it's worth, Brian Huddle tweeted this to me after this piece was published: 

So regardless of whether the Senators actually worked out a deal with the Leafs, Phoenix still would have taken OEL at sixth, so there was never really the potential to take him.

Nevertheless, isn't it fun to imagine what a blue line featuring Karlsson and OEL could have looked like here in Ottawa? 

Good lord. 

More on Forsberg…

Beyond using our imagination to picture OEL and Karlsson together, there's an interesting piece of information pertaining to Forsberg's scouting. Having left the Senators as a scout to take over as Skelleftea AIK's head coach, Forsberg was fired this past February. 

Since then, he has had offers from three NHL teams, including the Ottawa Senators, about joining their scouting deparments. Forsberg admitted that he would like to work as a NHL scout again. 

"Definitely. I liked the job and I like the NHL. One wants to work at as high a level as possible. This was among the best hockey-related experiences I have had after that I got access to everything in the organization I could go in and look at everything from how they worked tactical and gameplay to the way they ran their phys and how they used the footage to instruct the players. – That was a very good education and I'm definitely interested in working in a similar way in the future if the opportunity presents itself."

Considering the history and his track record, I think it'd be fantastic to have a mind like this back in Ottawa's ranks, but I do have to wonder whether Ottawa's refusal to let Forsberg out of his initial contract so that he may proceed to coach with Skelleftea, will impact his decision to go elsewhere.