The 2020 NHL Draft offers the Ottawa Senators a chance to change their fortunes after missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs in each of the past three seasons, general manager Pierre Dorion said Friday.
“This is definitely a huge day for our organization,” he told TSN, “especially on Tuesday with picks No. 3 and No. 5, getting the two impact players we feel we’re going to get. There’s a strong chance we have a third one with our pick at No. 28. But having nine picks in the first 71 selections definitely means that it can really alter the direction of this franchise.”
The draft will be held virtually, with the first round Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVAS) and rounds 2-7 on Wednesday (11:30 a.m. ET; NHLN, SN). Ottawa has three first-round picks: Nos. 3, 5 and 28.
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The Senators (25-34-12) had a .437 points percentage, next-to-last in the NHL this season. Ottawa has not qualified for the playoffs since 2017, when the Senators advanced to the Eastern Conference Final, losing Game 7 to the Pittsburgh Penguins in double overtime.
Dorion said the Senators are not planning to shop the No. 5 pick.
“I think we’re going to keep No. 5,” he said. “I would probably put it at 99 percent sure we’re going to make that selection at No. 5. We always listen. Have we gotten firm offers? I think that might come closer to the draft. But at this point and time we see ourselves selecting at No. 5.”
Dorion said the Senators might be open to trading the No. 28 pick they received in the trade that sent center Jean-Gabriel Pageau to the New York Islanders on Feb. 24, or trading picks in later rounds. The Senators have 12 selections in the draft after trading their fourth-round pick (No. 95) to the Florida Panthers for defenseman Josh Brown on Friday.
“If there’s a deal, it could be No. 28 or any one of our picks in the second, third, or fourth round,” he said. “That is probably more likely to happen than at pick No. 5.”