The Ottawa Senators are one of the most unpredictable teams when it comes to drafting. They're infamous for drafting major draft bust Alexandre Daigle over Chris Pronger in 1993, and for taking Bryan Berard first-overall in 1995 when Jarome Iginla was available.
But some forget this team has also found some major draft steals in their history, including Daniel Alfredsson (133rd-overall in 1994), Mark Stone (178th-overall in 2010), and others. This team has also drafted well in the first round, which includes the selections of Jason Spezza, Marian Hossa and Erik Karlsson.
In recent years, a number of the Senators first-round selections failed to pan out, and other superstars were taken ahead afterwards. But the Senators seem to make up for their questionable drafting by finding late-round gems. But what if the Senators actually made their last 15 first-round picks the perfect choices?
Here's a look at our re-draft of the last 15 Ottawa Senators first-round picks.
15 Logan Brown (2016)
Original Pick: Logan Brown
The Senators drafted the towering 6-foot-6, 210-pound centre from the Windsor Spitfires of the OHL. Though Logan Brown has yet to play an NHL game it's far too early to call for a re-drafted selection here. Brown could give Ottawa the franchise centreman they've lacked since trading Jason Spezza away, and he was a great selection at the time.
Aside from the top-two selections in Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine, none of last year's draft selections have panned out yet. We won't know for a few years if the Senators whiffed on this selection or if it was the right call.
As such, we have the Senators choosing Brown right now in a re-draft. With his size and playmaking ability, Brown should blossom into an elite scorer for years to come.
14 Colin White (2015)
Original Pick: Colin White
The Senators owned two first-round picks in 2015, and they selected Colin White with the 21st-overall selection. The world was put on notice by White's talents at the 2017 World Junior Hockey Championships, as his seven goals and eight points led Team USA to gold medals.
White has been a star for the Boston Eagles of NCAA, scoring 35 goals and 76 points in 72 games. White is considered one of the golden prospects in hockey, ranking 19th on Craig Button from TSN's list of the top 50.
Ottawa has another franchise superstar in White, and there's no reason for them to believe that they messed up on this selection. White has an extremely bright future and should lead the Senators offence for years to come.
13 Thomas Chabot (2015)
Original Pick: Thomas Chabot
Sorry that these first few selections are boring. But again, very few of the 2016 and 2015 selections have played much (if any) time in the NHL so far. But when it comes to Thomas Chabot and White, the Senators have two absolute gems that are supposed to be franchise cornerstones.
Chabot came in at number 42 on Button's top 50 prospect rankings from a year ago, and his impressive showing at this year's World Junior Hockey Championships also suggests the Senators struck gold when they took Chabot with the 18th-overall selection. In his last two seasons with the Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL, Chabot scored a total of 90 points.
As if this defence isn't scary enough with Erik Karlsson, the Senators have another possible Norris Trophy winner in Chabot.
12 Anthony Mantha (2013)
Original Pick: Curtis Lazar
The Senators drafted Curtis Lazar with the 17th-overall selection, and he was expected to become a flashy scoring winger with his dazzling speed and slick shot. But Lazar struggled in his three brief seasons with the Senators, scoring a total of just 12 goals and 36 points in 176 NHL games. The Senators didn't seem to develop Lazar properly, and he didn't get his chance to be a star. He was traded to the Calgary Flames at this year's trade deadline.
Three selections later, the Detroit Red Wings took Anthony Mantha, who is enjoying a breakout year in 2016-17. As of this writing, Mantha has 15 goals and 34 points in 65 games. His big frame of 6-foot-5, 204 pounds makes Mantha one of the league's up-and-coming power forwards.
Maybe Mantha won't score 20 goals on a consistent basis, but he would have provided more to the Senators than Lazar.
11 Tanner Pearson (2012)
Original Pick: Cody Ceci
The Senators used the 15th selection to draft blueliner Cody Ceci, one of the top defencemen available in this class. Five years later, and Ceci hasn't even been able to turn into a quality top-four defenceman that the Senators had hoped for. As of this writing, he has 20 goals and 277 games, and has a minus-nine rating on the season. Ceci appears to be a draft bust for now.
Meanwhile, the Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles struck gold in finding Tanner Pearson with the final selection of the first round. Pearson is in the midst of his first 20-goal season, and has 22 tallies and 41 points on the season. He's a big winger who could have formed quite a line with Kyle Turris and/or Mark Stone. Too bad the Senators passed up on him.
10 Nikita Kucherov (2011)
Original Pick: Mika Zibanejad
The Senators drafted speedy Swedish centreman Mika Zibanejad with the sixth-overall pick in 2011, and though he wasn't that much of a draft bust, he failed to reach up to his full potential in Ottawa.
Though Zibanejad did have two 20-goal seasons in Ottawa, he had a falling out with the front office and coaching staff, and was dealt to the New York Rangers last offseason in exchange for Derrick Brassard. And with the 58th selection, the Tampa Bay Lightning got Nikita Kucherov.
Kucherov has hit the 20-goal and 60-point mark in the last three seasons, which includes two seasons of reaching 30 tallies. Kucherov helped the Lightning reach the 2015 Stanley Cup Final and will be a huge part of their future for years to come. Ottawa would simply be miles better than their Atlantic Division foe if they had Kucherov, one of Steven Stamkos' favourite weapons.
9 Marcus Johansson (2009)
Original Pick: Jared Cowen
After a miserable 2008-09 campaign, the Senators thought they at least had a nice consolation prize in defenceman Jared Cowen, selecting the big defenceman with the ninth-overall selection. However, Cowen only played one full NHL season and never blossomed into a top-four blueliner, and the Senators traded him to the Toronto Maple Leafs last year.
And with the 24th pick, the Washington Capitals wound up with Marcus Johansson. He's in the midst of his second 20-goal season and has 100 tallies and 278 points in 491 NHL games. Johansson is one of the very few standouts to emerge from an otherwise disappointing draft class.
He'd be a nice fit on a Senators team that's built with speed and snipers. Instead, he's enjoying life as an Alexander Ovechkin counterpart in Washington.
8 Erik Karlsson (2008)
Original Pick: Erik Karlsson
Re-draft? Yeah right.
Erik Karlsson is only arguably the best defenceman in Hockey right now, having won two Norris Trophies (in 2012 and 2015), while helping the Senators out of the Eastern Conference basement by reaching the playoffs in 2012, 2013 and 2015. Karlsson has 114 goals and 451 points in 551 NHL games, and simply dominates offensively like no defenceman has since Ray Bourque in the mid '90s.
Karlsson reached 60 points for the fifth time in his career, and has a pair of 20-goal seasons under his belt. Nobody simply moves the puck with ease and speed like Karlsson, who has become the franchise player of the Senators.
There is just no way the Senators should wish for a re-draft. This may go down as the greatest draft selection in franchise history.
7 Jamie Benn (2007)
Original Pick: Jim O'Brien
Losing the 2007 Stanley Cup Final was undoubtedly heartbreaking for the Senators, but there was always the chance of drafting a new franchise star in the first round. With the 29th selection, they selected talented American Jim O'Brien, passing on a number of future stars.
O'Brien never played more than 29 games in a season with Ottawa, and has just eight goals and 12 points in 67 NHL games. The Senators could have taken a future Art Ross Trophy winner in Jamie Benn, whom the Dallas Stars selected with the 129th-overall selection in the fifth round.
All Benn has done in his career (note the sarcasm), is take Dallas to the playoffs once, win a scoring title and post 216 goals and 511 points in 575 NHL games. He and Tyler Seguin have formed one of the most dynamic duos in hockey, and the Senators undoubtedly regret not taking one of the league's best players when they had the chance.
6 Brad Marchand (2006)
Original Pick: Nick Foligno
The Senators took Nick Foligno with the 28th-overall pick in 2006, and though he's recognized as a star now with the Columbus Blue Jackets, Foligno never blossomed into a bonafide top scorer in Ottawa. He never scored more than 15 points and 47 games in a season during his time in the nation's capital.
Meanwhile, the Boston Bruins changed the landscape of the NHL by selecting ultimate pest Brad Marchand with the 71st-selection. Marchand led Boston to a Stanley Cup in 2011 and has 190 goals and 368 points in 527 NHL games. Marchand is in the midst of a career-best 37-goal and 80 point season, and would have been a mega star in Ottawa with Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson among his linemates.
But the Senators passed up on him, and probably regret it to this day.
5 Anze Kopitar (2005)
Original Pick: Brian Lee
This infamous draft included Sidney Crosby going first-overall to the Pittsburgh Penguins, and NHL analyst Pierre McGuire questioning the Montreal Canadiens for selecting Carey Price with the fifth-overall selection. But some people forget the Senators wasted the ninth pick on defenceman Brian Lee, who played in just 209 NHL games and never developed in Ottawa.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Kings wound up with two-time Stanley Cup champion and forme Selke Trophy winner Anze Kopitar, one of the league's most dynamic players since the lockout. Kopitar has 253 goals and 728 points in 830 NHL games, and helped turn a long-time struggling Kings' team into one of the NHL's best.
Kopitar is one of hockey's biggest impact players, and would have undoubtedly brought a huge difference in the nation's capital.
4 Cory Schneider (2004)
Original Pick: Andrej Meszaros
Andrej Meszaros was taken 23rd-overall by the Senators and showed flashes in his rookie 2005-06 season, scoring 10 goals and 39 points. But Meszaros failed to find any consistency after that and was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning. He left the NHL after the 2014-15 season.
And for a team that doesn't usually draft well, the Vancouver Canucks found a gem in goalie Cory Schneider with the 26th selection. Despite playing on struggling New Jersey Devils teams all these years, Schneider has a 144-120-45 record with a .923 save percentage.
Ottawa has gone through many goalies since the lockout, including Dominik Hasek, Ray Emery, Martin Gerber, Alex Auld, Brian Elliott, Robin Lehner, Andrew Hammond and Craig Anderson. If they had Schneider this whole time, we can only speculate how good this team could have been.
3 Patrice Bergeron (2003)
Original Pick: Patrick Eaves
The 2003 NHL Draft Class is probably the greatest ever, which included Marc-Andre Fleury, Nathan Horton, Ryan Suter, Zach Parise, Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Ryan Kesler, Jeff Carter, Mike Richards and Brent Burns. The Ottawa Senators selected Patrick Eaves with the 29th selection, but other than a 20-goal season in 2005-06, Eaves didn't produce much in his three years there.
The Boston Bruins found Patrice Bergeron with the 45th-overall selection, and he changed the NHL landscape in Beantown. A three-time Selke Trophy winner, two-time Olympic gold medalist and Stanley Cup champion, Bergeron has become one of the most dominant two-way players NHL fans have ever been able to see.
Boston would have not won that Cup in 2011 without Bergeron, and the Senators surely would have been a much bigger championship contender if they drafted him.
2 Duncan Keith (2002)
Original Pick: Jakub Klepis
The 2002 NHL Draft class was one of the weakest in recent memory, and the Senators selection of Jakub Klepis with the 16th-overall big was one of the many busts to come out of it. Klepis only played in 66 NHL games and scored four goals and 14 points.
But the Chicago Blackhawks didn't draft a bust when they took Duncan Keith 54th-overall in 2002. By far the NHL's best defenceman of the 2010s, Keith has a resume more complete than most. He's a two-time Norris Trophy winner, three-time Stanley Cup champion, 2015 Conn Smythe Trophy winner and helped Canada win two Olympic gold medals.
Keith has 508 points thus far in his career, and helped the Blackhawks become THE team of the 2010s after nearly a half century of misery. The Senators really could have had a tandem for the ages if they had both Keith and Karlsson. Unfortunately, they really missed out on this.
1 Jason Spezza (2001)
Original Pick: Jason Spezza
The 2001 NHL Draft class was also one of the worst in NHL history, but the Senators were fortunate in acquiring the second-overall pick from the New York Islanders in the infamous Alexei Yashin trade. With that selection, Ottawa drafted franchise centre Jason Spezza, and they saw the rewards immediately.
During his time in Ottawa, Spezza scored and 251 goals and 687 points, leading the Senators to the 2007 Stanley Cup Final. Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson made Ottawa one of the NHL's elite teams of the 2000s, though the team fell just short of winning its first-ever Stanley Cup championship.
But the Senators never had a more flashy centre than Spezza, who emerged as one of the brightest stars in hockey. There is simply no reason for the Senators to regret this draft selection in any way.
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