Day Two at the NHL Draft: Senators Finally Make Some Picks

Unable to land a first round pick yesterday (or trade Jason Spezza), the Senators made their first selection of the 2014 NHL Draft today drafting Djurgarden’s Andreas Englund with the 40th overall selection in the second round.

Per Eliteprospects.com, the 6’3″, 190 lb left shooting defenceman “is a big, strong defensive defenseman who makes good outlet passes and has sound mobility. Uses positioning and physical play when the situation calls for it. Can handle the puck but fancy puck skills are not his forte.

Here are his statistics:


Englund was rated as Corey Pronman’s 70th ranked prospect in his end of the season rankings (note: paywall) and spoke glowingly about Englund’s physicality and ability to win puck battles.

“Englund spent some time in both the junior and professional ranks this season, playing very well in the second half and was good for Sweden at the international under-18 level as well. He’s physically intriguing at 6-3, 190 pounds, especially when considering he uses his body well to win puck battles, and at times land some crushing physical blows. He’s certainly a quality penalty killer who can make stops, and at even strength his sense allows him to check tougher players. Englund’s puck moving is decent, but he’ll never be confused for a puck wizard.”

Although Pronman ranked him lower than the Senators drafted him, Pronman touched upon why his stock may have improved.

@SteffeG indicated that Englund was really good late in the year. He even playing on the penalty kill for Djurgarden as they earned a promotion, which is incredibly unusual for a teenager.

Englund was even ranked by the McKeen’s Draft Guide as the second best defensive defenceman in the draft behind Aaron Ekblad – praising how Englund was “outstanding in his own end for Sweden at the U-18′s, exhibiting great gap control, positioning and aggressiveness.”

Here is McKeen’s full write up on Englund:

“A consummate leader on the ice, Englund was named assistant captain for Team Sweden in both international tournaments he played in this season – Ivan Hlinka Memorial  and World U18 Championships… strong, competitive stay-at-home blue liner… a suffocating and physical defenceman who closes gaps quickly and is very effective defending against the rush… takes advantage of his lateral agility and a smooth transition step that allows him to turn fluidly… pivots well and marries that with a strong capacity to read defensiveplays to disrupt them with a timely stick check or by utilizing his size… shows a militant air about protecting his goalie and the space around his net…very efficient at retreating back into his zone  and making a play off the wall – always accepts the hit to make a play… split time this season playing in both the SuperElit Junior ranks and the Allsvenskan… Englund had little difficulty adjusting to play in the Allvenskan due to his poise and maturity that bely his age… additionally his ability to keep the game simple and not overplay his puck decisions made him a valuable depth option for Djurgarden…big and physically effective, Englund plays a patient shutdown style of defending that can complement any organization.”

Here’s the write up from Future Considerations:

“A two-way defenceman who is more physical than technical, Englund is solid in his own zone and pretty dangerous on the opposing blue line. Englund demonstrates impressive mobility and speed. He is a powerful skater and gets going quickly. He is balanced and controlled on his skates and can move well for his size. He demonstrates strength on the puck and the ability to escape pressure in his own zone. Englund makes a good first pass and send his team quickly up ice with quick outlets. He is a little too aggressive at times in his own zone, but he was mostly smart with his decision making. He takes space away quickly and isn’t afraid to use his body to take a man off the puck. He contains his man well and is strong against some bigger forwards. He shuts players down well with his size and is impressive down low in his own end, with the ability to win pucks and earn his team possession. Englund edges out opposing forwards well into corners. Very strong strong and harsh on opponents in front of the net. Can be very tenacious, especially in those little one-on-one battles.”

The Red Line compared Englund to Montreal Canadiens defenceman Alexei Emelin before having this to to say about Englund:

“Huge rearguard is very powerful and still a bit raw. Workhorse with a massive frame and wingspan. Consistently mean and aggressive. Plays with an edge and really drives right through his man on big hits. Nasty with his stick around the crease. Controls gaps well and steps up at the blue line to deliver big hits. Loves the physical aspect of game and looks to initiate contact. Wins all battles down low. Eats up ice with long strides and is fast straight-ahead even if he isn’t overly quick or agile. Has a keen sense for when to join the rush. Not a natural puck rusher or PP quarterback – even if he does pick his spots  well – but is adept at sneaking in the back door on PP. Showed improved composure on outlets and clearings. At his best when he plays the body, wins the puck, finds the tape and joins the rush.”

Senators Draft Defenceman in Third Round

With the 70th overall selection, the Senators drafted Miles Gendron in the third round. Gendron’s a US high school defence prospect who incidentally played under former Senator Shawn McEachern at The Rivers School.

Gendron incidentally was ranked higher (68th) in Pronman’s end of the year draft eligible prospect rankings than Englund was.

“Gendron is described by scouts as a high-tools type of prospect who is raw. The latter part stems from the recent change from forward to defense on top of lack of playing time versus quality opponents. “He’s an elite skater” said one NHL scout, as Gendron has the first few step bursts and overall top gear to be a dangerous puck rusher. He has good upside, but a team drafting Gendron has to understand the risks. He still has a ways to go in learning the position, in terms of reads and improving his physical play. Gendron has decent size (6-2, 172 pounds), but could stand to bulk up more.”

Here are his stats: 

A toolsy high-upside pick who’s just learning his position?

I certainly can’t blame the organization for rolling the dice there, even if he’s incredibly raw and it may take years for Gendron to develop as a pro.

Some evaluators weren’t as flattering in their filed reports on Gendron however.

McKeen’s was upfront about Gendron’s tools and skating ability, but were pretty harsh in their criticism of his defensive acumen – which understandably is pretty raw for a prospect who transitioned to the position one year ago.

“A very raw, but talented puck-moving defender. Made the switch to defense for his senior year and there have been many struggles. With his size, his exceptional skating ability and his ability to skate with the puck, he can be a dangerous puck rusher. Looks lost during some of his shifts as he struggles to find proper position. However, when he gets the puck on his stick, he has the ability to create offence quite quickly by making a strong, long-range breakout pass or carrying it out of his zone himself. Very creative, has impressive vision and is able to control the puck well with his skilled hands and reach. Might have the best skating ability on the East Coast. Has a decent wrist shot, but needs to improve his velocity and release of his slap shot. Playing as a defenceman might have been the wrong choice. After watching him closely since last summer, he has yet to develop any type of feel for the game from the backend. Has no idea how to keep a solid gap and often has incredibly poor stick position. Could a move back to forward be in the cards?”

Others were less scathing in their criticisms.

From McKeen’s:

“Laboured through the 2013/14 suffering a hand injury that cost him the better part of the season… converted from forward to defence this year, he struggled at times with the defensive responsibilities… ably offset that with his ability to spearhead rushes and generate offence… under-developed physically, Gendron is rail thin and desperately needs to fill out… too often this season he was pushed off the puck and habitually lost one-on-one battles… the key to his game is skating, owning an effortless stride, terrific edge work and can explode up the ice instantly with a prevailing separation gear… owns formidable puck sills and has a good feel for the game in the offensive zone… anticipates very well and constantly able to hold the line and maintain offensive zone pressure… fortuitously his skating was able to bail him out (at this level) defensively… must not ignore his positioning and gap control at the next level… Gendron is a long-term project and will play in the USHL next season before heading to University of Connecticut in 2015… if he achieves upgrades to his strength, he has pro potential due to his multi-dimensional skating ability.”

And Future Considerations:

“A very raw, but talented puck-moving defender. Made the switch to defense for his senior year and there have been many struggles. With his size, his exceptional skating ability and his ability to skate with the puck, he can be a dangerous puck rusher. Looks lost during some of his shifts as he struggles to find proper position. However, when he gets the puck on his stick, he has the ability to create offence quite quickly by making a strong, long-range breakout pass or carrying it out of his zone himself. Very creative, has impressive vision and is able to control the puck well with his skilled hands and reach. Might have the best skating ability on the East Coast. Has a decent wrist shot, but needs to improve his velocity and release of his slap shot. Playing as a defenceman might have been the wrong choice. After watching him closely since last summer, he has yet to develop any type of feel for the game from the backend. Has no idea how to keep a solid gap and often has incredibly poor stick position. Could a move back to forward be in the cards?”

The Red Line compared him to Nick Leddy and had this to say about his game:

“Wild young colt plays like a rover, which is understandable since he was a forward a year ago. Likes to wander and move into the play – pushes the attack. Is one of the best pure skaters in this draft with a long, fluid stride and terrific mobility. Great first step  burst and accelerates to full speed in two strides. Crisp edging and balance with sharp stop/starts, directional change and recovery speed. But backs in on his goalie constantly – as you would expect, he’s not yet confident in his gap control. Also plays with only one hand on the stick too much and has very little understanding of defensive zone positioning and  coverage down low. Can either make crisp, pro-style outlets or carry the puck out of danger himself. Has terrific puck skills and natural instincts. A long-term project with an extremely high offensive ceiling.”

The fortunate thing for Gendron is that strength and size are things that he can help have some measure of control over. With the development system that the Senators have in place, provided he works hard, he should be able to improve naturally or on his own. And it seems like the Senators will be patient with his development, so he should have the time learn the nuances of the position and help round out his game.

Senators Draft Shane Eiserman in Fourth Round

Years after the trade that would have sent Alexei Yashin to the Detroit Red Wings fell through, the Senators have finally managed to bring an Eiserman to town.

With the 100th overall selection in the fourth round, the Senators took 6’2″, 201 lb Shane Eiserman – a center from Dubuque of the USHL.

According to EliteProspect.com, Eiserman “is a big strong power forward that plays a nice blend of effort, skill and size. He is strong on the forecheck because of his strong skating and relentless puck pursuit and he’s able to bull his way through traffic and is strong in 50/50 puck battles along the wall.

Here are his stats:

Interestingly, The Red Line brought up some red flags relating to Eiserman in his assessment profile:

One of the year’s biggest disappointments. Could have challenged for the first round, but word is he developed quite an attitude. His game has hit a plateau. At his best, he’s an honest, hardworking, two-way winger who plays a pro-style north-south game. Rugged and likes to initiate contact. Does his best work down low in the offensive zone and is at his best when powering down the slot causing trouble and looking for rebounds. But just like the movie “Groundhog Day”, his season became the same scenario game in and game out: drive down the wing, lose the puck, lazily backcheck. Rinse, repeat. There was no variety or development and we hear he doesn’t retain coaching well – a major red flag. He’s a powerful skater with strength and balance, but needs to improve his first step quickness and lacks a top-end gear. Uses his size/strength effectively along the walls and will sell out his body to clear the defensive zone consistently.”

Even McKeen’s downplayed his physical gifts (size and skating) because of Eiserman’s hockey sense:

“Playing in his third USHL season with the reigning Clark Cup Champion Dubuque Fighting Saints after a two-year stint with the USNDTP… this season his game saw many highs and lows as he struggled mightily with consistency… possessing pro size and skating ability as well as physical strength but would stray away from a simple north-south game and make highly questionable plays… game was littered with costly turnovers and a rash of mistakes… needs to continue to work on his playmaking tempo and play selection as he tries to do far too much with the puck and tends to over-handle it… had a difficult time grasping systems this season even when the coaching staff would do their best to simplify his contributions to a play… skating is backed by a powerful stride that accelerates steadily to reach a good top gear…. Showed at times the potential to break open games as a dominant player down low while extremely difficult to derail once fully engaged… Eiserman skates with his head down and lacks the requisite hockey sense to play in a top nine capacity, however with his size and skating ability, he could find his way onto a fourth line and provide energy when needed.” 

While McKeen‘s and The Red Line projected Eiserman as a fourth line forward and used Travis Moen as a comparable, Future Considerations was more optimistic in their assessment of Eiserman, projecting him as a top nine

“A prototypical power forward, Eiserman has effective size and impressive skill with the puck. Eiserman is a very good skater with a powerful stride and highly effective acceleration coming down the wing. He is effective playing a north-south game, and likes to use his power and speed to take the puck down the wing and then find a lane to crash the net. Eiserman has a quick, powerful shot that he’ll use off the rush, and he is also very successful when driving the net from an outside lane. He does a good job of finding his teammates off the rush, but there are times where his decision making with the puck fluctuates. He has a tendency to attempt to force the issue with the puck and will give it away or make a poor feed. Eiserman does a good job using his size both with and without the puck. He protects it well, and also does an exceptional job at getting hardon the forecheck and banging players off the puck. Eiserman will return defensively, but at times, seems lost in his own zone and can improve his defensive game as well as his overall consistency.”

Senators Select Two in the Seventh Round

With back-to-back selections in the seventh round of the draft, the Senators selected defenceman Kelly Summers (189th overall) from the Carleton Place Canadians of the CCHL and Francis Perron, a left winger from Rouyn-Noranda Huskies of the QMJHL.

It’s been customary for the Senators to select a local hockey product in recent drafts and Summers is just the latest pick in that trend.

The ISS actually rated Summers quite favourably, slotting him 61st in their rankings. They praised his hockey IQ, decision making skills and skating – believing that he has a ceiling of potentially being a top four defenceman in the NHL who can move the puck. The only knock against Summers was that he was a “long-term  project that has not played many games against high-end competition.

For what it’s worth, Perron was seen as a bit of a sleeper pick by the HockeyProspect.com‘s draft guide.

“Perron is very creative with the puck; his linemates have to be alert all the time as they can get the puck back when they don’t expect it. When in possession of the puck, you can see him wait an extra second to find open teammates, making him tough to predict for the defence. Because of this creativity and playmaking ability, the Huskies used Perron on the point on the power play all year long, a rare case for a 17-year old in the QMJHL.”

They did not that because of his lack of size (6’0″, 163 lbs), Perron will have to add some size and strength and work on his shot to be able to play at a higher level, but his style and playmaking ability created a fan in HockeyProspect.com scout Jerome Berube.

“The more the season progressed, the more I became a fan of Perron, whose size is a major concern, but you can’t deny his puck skills and vision. If he could ever put some weight on, he could become a real good sleeper pick.”

Draft Ranking Summary:

Here is a quick table that outlines a few publications and where their analysts ranked each of the Senators prospects in their pre-draft rankings:

Andreas Englund (40th Overall, 2nd Rd)

Miles Gendron (70th Overall, 3rd Rd)

Shane Eiserman (100th Overall, 4th Rd)

Kelly Summers (189th, 7th Rd)

Francis Perron (190th, 7th Rd)

Corey Pronman, ESPN

70th

68

Unranked

Unranked

Unranked

McKeen’s

44th

Outside top 120

110th

109th

71st

Future Considerations

63rd

176th

57th

66th

145th

The Red Line Report

44th

77th

95th

235th

78th

ISS

67th

121st

48th

61st

110th

HockeyProspect.com

42nd

73rd

97th

Unranked

86th

Judging by the results, it looks like the Senators went safe with their second round pick before swinging for the fences with Gendron, Eiserman and potentially Perron.

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