• By: Dave Gross

Senators take business-like approach to draft

Scratch the thought that this was “one of the biggest nights in franchise history.”

I’d argue (and we’ll see in the years to come) that this was THE biggest night in Ottawa Senators’ history.

General Manager Pierre Dorion threw out the former line with some aplomb. I think he underestimates the potential impact this NHL draft will have on this listing and troubled franchise.

Face it, Ottawa not just needed a draft like this one, it required it. Period.

Where the club is headed form here, who truly knows?

But unlike the previous three-plus seasons, at least it’s somewhere.

The temperature gauge at this point appears to be pointing up.

You can read up all you want on Tim Stutzle (or is it Stuetzle?) and Jake Sanderson, and to a lesser degree on Ridley Greig, I won’t be redundant here and bore you with details.

Suffice it to say, they all should have an impact.

In the case of Stutzle (or is it Stuetzle?), the crunch will be felt as soon as hockey gets back on the ice (I’m hearing Jan. 1).

Sanderson is committed to college hockey (see notes below) but when he eventually arrives, it will be impactful. (You heard it here 41st!)

Arguably Ottawa snagged the best winger and defenceman in the entire draft. That’s what the pundits say, and who’s going to go against the pundits?

It was straightforward and it was business-like.

This is what we want.

This is what are needs are.

Here you go.

Yes, a No. 1 centre (think, um, I dunno, Mika Zibanejad?) would have been El-Perfecto, but me-thinks Stutzle (or is it Stuetzle?) will do just fine. In fact, the youngster could end up patrolling centre ice regardless.

As far as Sanderson?

He ticks off all the boxes.

Shut-down guy?


Offensive capabilities?


Quick to the puck, quick transition?




It was and should end up being, a tremendous selection.

“When you come out of the draft with the best defenceman in the draft, you feel you have definitely accomplished something,” GM Pierre Dorion told our pal Wayne Scanlan.

“I know sometimes the fancier picks are the forwards, they’re a bit more sexy, but we feel Jake is the best defenceman in the draft and we’re elated to take him at five. Jake plays an all-around game, [he's] a high-compete player. He’s someone that defends well, takes the body and he’s highly underrated for what he brings to the table offensively.”

With Greig, Ottawa gets a resounding pain-in-the-ass. But in a good way. Greig will drive the opposition bonkers. That’s a good way.

Round 2 on Wednesday brought even more promise.

And a trade.

Matt Murray waltzes in from Pittsburgh to take over as Ottawa’s No. 1 stopper. Murray was swapped for one of the Senators’ 18-zillion second-round picks.

He’s been on two Cup-winning teams.

He’s 26.

Pretty decent move there Pierre. 

Good golly already. When does hockey start again (says Johnny Senator fan)?

THOUGHT, SEEN AND HEARD: How is it that even in an empty studio NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman can still look immensely uncomfortable speaking? Maybe he missed the boos? . . . Love what Nashville and GM David Poile did in the opening round in grabbing all-world prospect goalie Yaroslav Askarov (11th overall). As the Sportsnet panel was quick to point out, the Predators can take their time with Askarov with Pekka Rinne manning the pipes for now . . . Of utmost importance: Back in the day I had Geoff Sanderson (father of Jake) of the Hartford Whalers on my pool team. Needless to say, I won . . . Ottawa faithful will likely want to purchase University of North Dakota sweaters for the upcoming season. Sanderson will play there alongside two other Senator picks in forward Shane Pinto and defenceman Jacob Bernard-Docker. “Jacob is an unreal role model,” Sanderson said to Sporsnet. “He is so professional with how he carries himself around the rink. He is definitely someone I look up to.” Update: Make it four Senator prospects. Ottawa picked defenceman Tyler Kleven on Wednesday. Zoinks.