Senators chief scout defends picks: Public 'doesn't know what we know'
Ottawa Senators chief amateur scout Trent Mann believes his team knows more than everyone else when it comes to some of the draft picks it made over the weekend.
Mann defended the Senators' selections despite the fact that experts projected several of Ottawa's draftees would be taken much later.
"There's a lot more work that goes into producing our list over a public list," he said, according to the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch. "There’s more details, more things put into a profile of a kid so we know exactly what we're getting.
"Sometimes it's easy to say, 'Why don't you just move down?' If there's a player you feel will help the organization, you can't necessarily move back to a certain point. There's only certain trading partners."
The Senators went off the board to take right winger Tyler Boucher with the 10th overall pick, then also grabbed center Zack Ostapchuk and defenseman Ben Roger earlier than expected.
TSN's Bob McKenzie ranked Boucher 29th overall about a week before the draft, and The Athletic's Corey Pronman slotted the forward 53rd in June. Additionally, NHL Central Scouting, the league's own prospect evaluation department, ranked each of the Senators' first three picks far lower among North American skaters than where they were selected.
"If we move back eight spots, is Tyler Boucher still going to be there? You know what? He's not going to be there," Mann said. "I know that, (Senators general manager) Pierre Dorion knows that, and the general public doesn't know that. They don't have to know that, it's not their job.
"For us, Tyler Boucher is another step in the Senators getting better and being what we want. I know Tyler Boucher is going to go 10-to-20. I know, and the public list doesn't know what we know."
Mann added that the club faced the same criticism when it drafted 2021 Hobey Baker Award finalist Shane Pinto 32nd overall two years ago, and he said the team was also questioned about now-franchise players Thomas Chabot and Brady Tkachuk.
Despite the external criticism, Dorion was pleased with Mann's work.
"We're really happy," the GM said. "I thought our scouting staff, led by Trent Mann, did a terrific job. We targeted some players and we were able to get all of them. It's a great day for our organization, adding some prospects to our group."
The Senators landed the 10th overall pick in the lottery after finishing the year with the NHL's ninth-worst record.