Senators look to Sweden again at the NHL Draft

After choosing Curtis Lazar in the opening round, the Senators went back to familiar scouting ground – Sweden – to bolster their prospect depth.

Senators look to Sweden again at the NHL Draft
Vincent Dunn gets set to slide the puck into the net past Olympiques' goaltender #36 Robert Steeves during 1st period QMJHL hockey action in Gatineau. (photo by Mike Carroccetto / Ottawa Citizen)

After choosing Curtis Lazar in the opening round, the Senators went back to familiar scouting ground – Sweden – to bolster their prospect depth.

The Senators didn’t own a second round choice, but in the third round they selected, Marcus Hogberg, whom some suggested was the best goaltending prospect in Europe.

Hogberg, who was taken with the 78th pick, has great size – 6-3 and 196 pounds – and posted a 2.41 goals against average and .917 save percentage with Linkoping of the Swedish junior league last season.

He will play in the Swedish Elite League next season.

“He can use his size, he’s involved in the game and he brings confidence to the team with big saves,” said Senators scout Vaclav Burda.

Burda acknowledges it will take some time and coaching guidance for Hogberg to get to the NHL.

“He needs to learn patience,” Burda said. “But with (goaltending coach Rick Wamsley) in the organization, we think he’s an asset. Hopefully he can make some progress and we’ll see after next season if he’s ready to play in Binghamton or if he’s going to stay another year in Binghamton.

“He’s got a chance to play (in the NHL).

The Senators stayed in Scandanavia with their next choice, picking Djurgardens forward Tobias Lindberg 102nd overall – the pick acquired in the deal which sent Ben Bishop to the Tampa Bay Lightning for Cory Conacher.

Burda likens Lindberg to Colin Greening, a big body who can drive hard to the net and could, one day, be difficult to play against if his game develops in Sweden.

Lindberg, 6-2 and 187 pounds, scored nine goals and 13 assists in 22 games with Djurgardens junior squad last season.

From there, the Senators selected stay-at-home defenceman Ben Harpur from the Guelph Storm and Gatineau’s Vincent Dunn, who scored 25 goals and 27 assists for Val d’Or of the Quebec League.

Harpur, 6-6 and 210 pounds, acknowledges being a tad anxious, not knowing what to expect considering his ranking varied significantly from one drafting organization to another.

“A big relief,” he said. “Waiting was kind of tough, but to hear my name called by the Ottawa Senators was a great honour, the next step in my career and I’m excited to get started.”

Harpur will be in development camp next week and hopes to get an invite to the club’s main camp following rookie camp in September, but he knows it will probably take time for him to get to the NHL.

“He’s a big body, a defensive defenceman, he plays a shut down role,” said Greg Royce. ”He’s pretty raw. It was his first year in the (Ontario Hockey League) last season and he really improved after Christmas, come into his own. He’s learning to become more assertive and use his size more and as that comes forward, he’ll be able to handle the puck a bit more and his confidence will grow.”

The Senators took a chance in the later rounds, hoping that a pair of late-blooming forwards — Chris Leblanc of the South Shore Kings of the Eastern Junior Hockey League and Quentin Shore of the University of Denver — can develop into prospects.

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