Saturday, June 26, 2010

Murray Grabs Can't Miss Prospect At Draft


In the midst of taking all kinds of heat for his bizarre handling of the Jason Spezza "situation", Ottawa Senators GM Bryan Murray once again proved he's still got the goods when it comes to the draft and stocking the cupboards of his organization.

Admitting the forward he wanted was already taken by the time it was Ottawa's turn to pick in the 16th slot, Murray sent the pick to the Blues for last year's 17th overall pick, Swedish defenseman David Rundblad.

Great move, in my humble opinion.

Look at it this way: if Rundblad was available in this years draft, he would likely be a top-ten pick. In essence, Murray still got the best player available to him, even though he wasn't on anyone's radar.

Rundblad, from all accounts, is going to be a power-play guy, someone to complement fellow countryman Erik Karlsson, and has already established himself ahead of Patrick Wiercioch and possibly even Jared Cowan on the Sens depth chart for the future. Unfortunately, Sens fans will have to wait an extra year because he is going to stay in the Swedish Elite League for one more season.

The only downside is that this trade does nothing to help the Senators at forward, but that can be taken care of later, as the Senators still have too many wingers and not enough roster spots as it is. Funnily enough, according to Bruce Garrioch's article today, the Blues felt Rundblad was expendable because they already had so much blueline depth when it comes to offensive style rearguards. Now the Senators have that same problem, but to a much lesser extent.

Karlsson is already established so it will eventually fall to Rundblad and Wiercioch fighting each other for a roster spot in the coming years. Cowan is more of a Chris Phillips type so he'll be fighting other players, such as Matt Carkner for a place on the team.

Regardless, the Senators have a great squad of young defenseman who should be ready to go in two seasons time, and nearly all were brought in by Bryan Murray.

He may not be a fan favourite right now, but Murray still knows how to work a draft floor with the best of them.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dude, First off please get rid of the Volchy banner pic. The dude's as good as gone shortly...

Secondly... although, I like your glass half full take on this. We need to wait and see before we hail Murray a genius on all these moves/draft picks. Prospects are great when it comes to their "potential" but eventually they need to earn themselves a spot as regulars before we can start dishing out credit.

Other than Karlsson...I don't see anyone as a lock to make an impact on the big team.

All that being said, I do hope you are right in the future...

Anonymous said...

I agree with anon @ 10:39am. A prospect represents potential, but it's tough to hand out praise until we actually see how they perform in the NHL.

I'm fine with the move. The guy will spend another year in Sweden, so we get him on the entry level deal when he's 21 to 23 years old. If he ends up being good, that's great value. Bigger body, more developed.

Hockey Futures rates him as a 7.5C prospect. That slots him as a #2 to #4 d-man, who has shown flashes of brilliance but who may not ultimately have what it takes to reach his potential.

Incidentally, Hockey Futures rates Wiercoch as a 7.5D. They say that he has a chance to reach his potential, but is unlikely to do so.

I think, as a whole, that we are overvaluing our prospects. They all seem to be the same type of player, in that they could be solid NHLers, but none of them, except for Karlsson, are difference makers.

Especially in our forward ranks, who in the pipeline is a difference maker. The only forward under 30 years old that is a difference maker, is Jason Spezza. And that's the guy who's being run out of town.

Anonymous said...

Don't get rid of the Volch banner yet, bad karma. Just my 2 cents.

Anonymous said...

Agreed on the karma thing and Agreed on the fact that prospects need to reach their potential for the architect to receive praise, but it can't be argued that we have about 15-20 more reasons to be excited about the future than we did a few years ago.

re: the depth chart

Don't forget that Cowen (spelled with an "e" not an "a") won the Mem Cup as a 16 year old and struggled as an 18 year old in a 19 year olds tourney (just like Pietrangelo did the year before).
He is still a blue chip prospect, even though a great many Sens fans feel he isn't. Hockey fans can be so short-sighted...

And don't forget that Wiercioch put up a ppg pace as a rookie in College and still put up close to a ppg as a sophomore, focusing on improving his defensive game.

Add in Rundblad, who will be under the tutelage of our soon-to-be departed Swedish scout next season, and you've got the makings of a premiere top-4.

People should be excited.

Anonymous said...

A-train will sign book it!

Pierre said...

Re: Prospects and excitements.

Count me out of the excitement loop.

I prefer to take a wait and see approach with prospects and the team as a whole. There are too many variables that enter play here...Karlsson had a slow start but a great finish, why was that? Maybe he was facing teams down the stretch that had already clinched, maybe he had more room, maybe the team could commit more icetime to the kid.

My feeling right now is one of unease mixed with quiet optimism. The unease comes from Bryan Murray having the GM chair instead of simply a head scout/talent analyst chair. That means that he gives out contracts...which worries me.

The optimism for me isn't from Karlsson or Rundblad...it's that we likely won't be picked as favourites in the East. With expectations low, the team may win a few games in the playoffs, maybe a round. That would feel great.

I know I sound like a killjoy, and that's fair. When I hear Gord Wilson calling Karlsson a star, I worry that's putting too much pressure on him.

Also, remember what we do to our stars here in Ottawa: We love them and hug them then viciously attack them, boo them and tear them to shreds...

Caveat emptor.

Anonymous said...

Jeremy,

In your last post you talked about the winds of change.

Well, it looks like the international media is finally starting to pick up on the Ottawa Sun's ineptitude.

Check out prohockeytalk.nbcsports.com. Joe Yerdon has a blog post entitled:

"Ottawa Sun sports editor sounds off about Spezza rumors, points finger at Internet"

In my books, he skewered the Ottawa Sun pretty good. Hopefully, more people pick up on this theme, and the Sun is forced to make some changes, or else they'll continue on the path to discrediting themselves.