Ottawa's Future: The Draft and Beyond

Rick MiddletonContributor IJune 30, 2009

MONTREAL, QC - JUNE 26:  Jared Cowen of the Ottawa Senators poses for a portrait after being selected #9 overall by the Senators during the first round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft at the Bell Centre on June 26, 2009 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Let's start with the draft: 

The Sens picked a player they figured would not be available to them at the ninth pick,  Jared Cowen.  The big defenseman will prowl the blueline for Ottawa for quite a while.  Once he puts on some muscle and develops a bit of an attitude, he will give Chara and Pronger a run for their money.

As for the rest of their picks, I give it a double thumbs up.  The Sens got players at every position to fill their farm team and develop for the main team for while.  I do not see a weak player among the picks.  I am sure some will be NHLers while a few will probably be Minor Leaguers, but that is the fact of being a hockey player.  Still, overall the draft was great for Ottawa.

July 1...Free agent frenzy.  I am highly doubtful that Chris Neal will sign with the Sens.  He wants way too much for his role on the club.  Yes, he does drop the gloves and is willing to go with just about anyone, but his overall skills do not command the type of money he is asking.  It'd be a shame to lose him, but he priced himself out of a job in Ottawa.

If Dany Heatley does not get traded, expect him to get asked to report to training camp...whether he does or not will be seen come September.  If not, suspend him and let him enjoy his bonus until he decided he wants to play again.

Brian Elliott will be tendered a contract offer, so Ottawa will match any reasonable offer given to him.

Brendan Bell is unfortunately caught up in the numbers game.  Ottawa could not trade Jason Smith or Alex Picard, so they will lose a decent player while having to keep two marginal ones.

As for Alex Auld, there were no takers, so I think they should leave him as backup, keep Brian Elliott in the Minors and then the following year have a great goaltending tandum.

Finally, Mike Comrie. To stay with the team, he will have to take a pay cut from last year.  He does like playing in Ottawa, so the feeling is he probably will take the cut to play with a good team.

Overall, the offseason looks pretty good for the Ottawa Senators, but stay tuned, who knows what might happen with this group?