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Stefan Noesen wears a Ottawa Senators hat and jersey after being picked in the first round at the 2011 NHL hockey draft in St. Paul, Minnesota, June 24, 2011. REUTERS/Eric Miller (Eric Miller/Reuters)
Stefan Noesen wears a Ottawa Senators hat and jersey after being picked in the first round at the 2011 NHL hockey draft in St. Paul, Minnesota, June 24, 2011. REUTERS/Eric Miller (Eric Miller/Reuters)

Senators score NHL draft coup Add to ...

By the time the last name was called at the NHL entry draft, Bryan Murray knew he, director of player personnel Pierre Dorion and their staff had a good weekend.



"When I see a couple of our [scouts]shaking each other's hands because they think they got good players from their particular area, that kind of rubs off on me," the Ottawa Senators general manager said Saturday. "I trust these guys. They have proven records, they know what it is to get good players.

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"That's why Pierre is in charge. He is a real astute guy in that area and he'll tell you he's happy, so I'm happy. I don't know if he's going to buy me a beer because of that but I hope he does."



Murray went into the draft with the most picks of anyone in the league with 12, including two first-rounders. He came away with a long list of skilled forwards who may help the Senators fix the scoring woes that plagued them last season.



Murray traded a second-round pick to the Detroit Red Wings on Friday to get a third first-round pick and wound up with three good prospects: Swedish centre Mika Zibanejad, who may provide relief for No. 1 centre Jason Spezza, at sixth overall, right winger Stefan Noesen at 21st, who hails from Texas, and left wing Matt Puempel from the Ontario Hockey League's Peterborough Petes at 24th.



The Senators also took a gamble by sending their third-round pick (63rd overall) to the Columbus Blue Jackets for winger Nikita Filitov. He was taken sixth overall by the Blue Jackets in 2008 but has yet to live up to his potential or even win an NHL job, although he is only 21 years old.



On Saturday, Murray and Dorion scored an interesting consolation prize in Jean-Gabriel Pageau from the Gatineau Olympiaques, just across the river from Ottawa. He is a skilled but under-sized centre at 5-foot-9 and 163 pounds, which was why the Senators were able to get him at 96th overall in the fourth round.



"[Pageau]might be my favourite player we took," Dorion said. "When you saw Gatineau, he was the best player on the ice most nights."



During the QMJHL final, Dorion watched a game between Gatineau and the Saint John Seadogs with Murray. They were there to watch Seadogs centre Jonathan Huberdeau, who was one of the top five prospects for the entry draft and also wore No. 11.



"I was with Bryan Murray and he's not the biggest fan of small players," Dorion said. "He said, 'Pierre, just take both number elevens. One was Huberdeau and one was Pageau.



"[Pageau]is a good player, a competitive player, a key player for that team. He was on the ice every second shify. He had no stamina but he played his heart out."



Earlier on Saturday, the Senators took another small player from their area with the 61st pick overall, centre Shane Prince of the OHL's Ottawa 67s. He had 88 points last season with the 67s.



"We feel [Prince]was a key player in Ottawa's success this year," Dorion said. "He's a highly offensive player with great skills. Even though we drafted skill players, we felt we couldn't pass up his skill level.



"We feel he will be a player who has a high offensive impact down the road if his progression can continue."



Compared to the Senators, the Montreal Canadiens had a quiet draft. They did get puck-moving defenceman Nathan Beaulieu from the Seadogs. He played well in the Seadogs' run to the Memorial Cup in May and gives the Canadiens another smooth-skating defenceman to go with Andrei Markov and P.K. Subban.



After that, the Habs did not pick again until Saturday's fourth round, when they took American defenceman Josiah Didier 97th overall and then OlivierArchambault, a left winger from Val D'Or of the QMJHL, at 108th overall. The Canadiens made a trade with the Winnipeg Jets to get those picks. For a third-round pick, they reaquired their own fourth-round pick, traded in a previous deal, plus Winnipeg's 97th pick.



 

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