Thanks to Graeme over at 6th Sens for the quote. Kevin Allen of USA Today had a Q and A with Sens' GM Bryan Murray and talked over some different topics, such as the firing of Craig Hartsburg, the Comrie/Campoli trade, and the upcoming NHL Draft. An interesting side note is that Allen asked Murray about the upcoming offseason and this is what he had to say:
"I think getting Tavares and (Viktor) Hedman would have been great because they are franchise-style players. But this little run gives the organization some credibility and the fans some hope. That's why we want to keep winning. We had won about three in a row, and my head scout Pierre Dorion came back from a scouting trip and told me, "I'd better go see some different guys." So he flew over to Europe to see a guy who is later in the draft. We think there might be another defenseman who could better than Hedman. He's not as ready, but we think he could end up being better."
Murray is so controversial these days that bloggers like us will one day snap a twig and become as "succesful" as him. I did some research to find the "European Defenseman Who May Be Better Than Hedman" and found 5 guys who oculd be auditioning to become the next Erik Karlsson linemate. Of course I still think the Sens should grab a winger(cough cough Paajarvi) to improve the farm system though I guess Bryan Murray is confident in his forwards and sees a need for defense. Here are the 5 guys, and surprise surprise, they're all Swedish.
Peter Andersson- 6'5'', 210 lbs, Frolunda HC
Unfortunately, I didn't find much information about Andersson except his weight and height and the team who he plays with, but he plays regularly on the Frolunda's 3rd pairing and has shown some improvements in the last months. Since his anonymousity, I guess he won't be the guy but Murray did suggest he was "later in the draft" and NHLDraftSite has him taken in the 3rd Round by the Devils.
Tim Erixon- 6'1'', 187 lbs, Skelleftea
Erixon has lit it up the last weeks with Skelleftea and not so surprisingly his draft stock has gone up. He's a "defensive wizard" on the ice and is not afraid to go for the big hit. He's been playing with coveted defenseman David Rundblad for a bit and the results have shown he can be a 4-6 defenseman on any roster. He has to add to his phyical frame a bit and surprisingly fits the bill Murray filled. NHLDraftSite has him going in the 2nd Round, taken by the Sharks. He could be late bloomer and steal.
Anton Myllari- 6'2'', 235 lbs, Vasteras
Even though they comer from different countries, most scouts are comparing Myllari to the Sens' won Anton Volchenkov. Maybe even better because he also has a heavy shot from the point, something many scouts are envying. As I write this, Myllari's stock has slipped a bit but he will be drafted late in the 1st Round or early in the 2nd Round. I think there's a chance Murray would like to go with someone who has a punishing physical frame and can intimidate anyone...just like Hedman. However, I don't see hi, a mainly defensive defenseman, put alongside Karlsson.
David Rundblad- 6'2'', 183 lbs, Skelleftea
Another guy from the Skelleftea oraganization, Rundblad has become their player. He has excelled in many places on the ice. He's a shot blocking machine and a Co-QB on the PP. Many people have compared him to Niklas Kronwall, who of ocurse, is rocking everyone's socks this season for Detroit. He owuld fit nicely with Karlsson but he is such a hot ocmmodity that he will be drafted in the 1st Round and teams such as Phoenix or the Rangers might trade up to snatch the Swede. He could be the one but I see another guy being chosen and he is...
Oliver Ekman-Larsson- 6'1'', 165 lbs, Leksand
Larsson is an amazing athlete. He's a great ksater and has matured so much in Leksand the past year. He's been coached by his defensive linemate Kenny Kallstrom and it's worked in strides. Larsson is a late bloomer who is generally Erik Karlsson but with another name. He has a huge shot form the point and comes back to helps his teammates in his own zone. Scouts in Ottawa have been seen in Leksand where Larsson plays and I think Murray is right with him not being ready but if he is drafted I can see the 2010-2011 season having Karlsson-Larsson as one of the Sens' pairings.
Any thoughts Sens fans? Who do you think should become Karlsson's Next Linemate, or are you still hoping Murray will do the Holy and pick up Victor Hedman? Have your say!