Basement teams find their fun where they can.
For the Ottawa Senators and their suffering fanbase, the mirth stems from having potentially a pair of lottery picks in the 2020 NHL Draft.
For a rebuilding franchise, this is no small thing. Consider that a year ago at this time the Senators were taking it on the chin in social media circles for NOT having their own first-round draft pick even as they were selling off assets. That pick, surrendered in the move to acquire Matt Duchene, went to the Colorado Avalanche, and they used it to select defenceman Bowen Byram fourth overall in 2019.
The Senators had the option to give up their 2018 pick, but wanted Brady Tkachuk so badly (4th overall, 2018) they forked over last year’s selection instead, not imagining at the time they would finish 31st overall and provide Colorado with the best odds of drafting Jack Hughes or Kaapo Kakko.
Despite dodging that bullet, and despite hitting a home run with Tkachuk, Ottawa took a lot of abuse all season for not having its own pick while delving deep into a rebuild. The Senators did pick up the Columbus Blue Jackets’ first-round pick (19th overall, used for defenceman Lassi Thomson) as part of the deal that sent Duchene to Columbus.
So how sweet is this? A year later, the Senators are nestled among the cellar teams once again, and not only have their own first-round pick, plus three more in the second round, they also own the San Jose Sharks’ 2020 first-round pick.
Ah, the Erik Karlsson trade. For Ottawa, it is a gift that keeps on giving.
It is a trade worth reviewing yet again, 14 months later:
Not only did the Senators receive players who could help them immediately and for the foreseeable future – centre Chris Tierney and defenceman Dylan DeMelo – they also banked a former 2017 first-round pick in centre Josh Norris, currently developing nicely in AHL Belleville, plus forward prospect Rudolf Balcers, who had a strong training camp before suffering a knee injury. He will be back.