By Zackery Robert
Across the river from the big apple we go and onwards into the capital of Canada we will take a look at the Ottawa Senators and their draft day history.
Ottawa had their first draft back in 1992 and from there on they have made some big selections that have helped shape the history of their franchise. To start off we will take a look at the 1994 draft where in the sixth round at pick 133 the Ottawa Senators chose their franchise’s greatest player Daniel Alfredsson. Coming into the NHL for the 1995-1996 season Daniel Alfredsson put up an impressive 61 points in 82 games to win the Calder trophy as rookie of the year in 1996. Alfredsson would go on to have a very successful career as a Senator, he would hit the 100 point mark once in his career in 2005-2006 and would finish his career with the Senators with 1108 points in 1178 games. He would play one more year before retirement with the Red Wings but would sign a one day contract to retire as a Senator. On December 29th 2016 Alfredsson became the first Ottawa Senator to have his jersey retired by the franchise.
Next up we go to the 2001 draft where after Ilya Kovalchuk went number one, Ottawa was up at number two and chose their first line centre for the next 10 plus years Jason Spezza. Playing in Ottawa between 2002-2014 Spezza was a fan favourite and one of their biggest weapons during that time. He had four seasons of over a point per game with his career high in 2008 of 92 points. Spezza was a two time all star in 2008 and 2012 and he will most certainly have his number retired by Ottawa when his career is all said and done.
Finishing off some of the best, we will look at the 2008 draft where the Senators held the 15th pick and went on to choose one of the best defenseman of the 21st century Erik Karlsson. Karlsson would play for the Senators from 2009-2018 and in that time he would cement himself as one of the top defenseman in the league. He won two Norris trophies during his time in Ottawa in 2012 and 2015 and went into five all star games and was a four time first all team player during his time in Ottawa.
Moving on to pics that were not the best for Ottawa we will stop at the 1993 draft where Ottawa held the first overall pick. With having the franchise’s first ever first overall pick in this draft they took the opportunity to select Alexandre Daigle. Daigle was a bad choice for first overall for a myriad of reasons, one is work ethic was not consistent, two is point production for Ottawa was not where it needed to be when selected as a first overall forward and three, there were two years he did not play to pursue other endeavours. It does not look like hockey was taken very seriously given that two year gap.
Moving along we stopped at the 1998 draft where Ottawa held the 15th overall pick and chose goaltender Mathieu Chouinard. Chouinard would defer, through lack of appropriate contract and go back into the NHL draft for the year 2000 and be selected this time in the second round at the 45th selection by none other than the Ottawa Senators once again. Once Chouinard was finally his pro career for the Senators virtually ended. Chouinard played one game in the NHL for the Los Angeles Kings in 2003-2004 playing in two minutes of action and facing two shots in that time. After that Chouinard played the rest of his career in the IHL, AHL, ECHL and a brief stop in the LNAH league, finally retiring at the end of the 2006 season.
Finishing off we will head to the 2002 draft where Ottawa held the 16th pick and went with Jakub Klepis. Klepis never even had the opportunity to suit up for Ottwa in any capacity because in 2003 he was traded away to the Buffalo Sabres for Vaclav Varada and a fifth round pick who was eventually Tim Cook and they never played in the NHL. The return they got for a mid round first round pick was pitiful, Varada played in parts of three seasons for the Ottawa Senators, scoring 39 points in 117 games played. This selection ended up being a waste because there was nothing that came out of drafting Klpeis with the 16th overall pick, there were plenty of more Worthy prospects to select at that pick, some that may even have given some value back to Ottawa through their play rather than just being traded away for a player who scored a mere 39 points in those 117 games and then went to take his skills over to Europe the following season.
However the current day Ottawa Senators are looking up, quite up to be certain, Ottawa has made some very high value trades in the past few seasons acquiring players like Alex Debrincat and Jakob Chychrun, as well as drafted a few highly talented players and defenseman Jake Sanderson and Center Tim Stutzle. With their core relatively young and on the higher side of talent Ottawa looks to be a potential threat in the years to come. This will come as good news to Ottawa Senator fans as if they were to look at what their team has for picks in this upcoming draft, one of the deepest drafts in terms of talent over the past 10 years, they would cry. Ottawa does not select currently until the fourth round of this coming entry draft and after that Ottawa will look to select once in the fifth round and three times in the 7th round. Not too often do a franchise find that high Talent player this deep in the draft but crazier things have happened. Given that Ottawa will make their first selection in the fourth round around pick number 108 a couple players that may be available that they should take a look at are goalie Jacob Fowler and right wing Connor Levis.
For more information on the 2023 NHL Draft class be sure to pick up your copy of the comprehensive DraftPro 2023 NHL Draft Guide.