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Senators Watch: Future built around Rundblad, Cowen

With Bobby Butler named MVP of the American League’s All-Star Game over the weekend and Colin Greening getting his first taste of the NHL, it’s now all about the future for the Ottawa Senators.

And exactly how does that future look? Well, let’s put it this way. Things look a lot rosier for the Senators than they do for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

While the Senators don’t have a future go-to stud making his way through their system, they do have a number of intriguing prospects who could be key contributors in the next couple of seasons. There is certainly some good size among their prospects and when The Hockey News comes out with its annual Future Watch issue in the near future, look for the Senators to be ranked somewhere around the middle of the pack.

Despite what many people might think, the Senators top prospect is not hulking defenseman Jared Cowen of the Spokane Chiefs. It is actually David Rundblad, the St. Louis Blues’ first round pick in 2009 who was acquired by the Senators at last summer’s draft in exchange for their first round pick.

But the fact remains that Rundblad and Cowen do make an intriguing pair of prospects, simply because they are so different. Perhaps one day the two of them will be a regular pairing on the Senators blueline, with Rundblad providing the offense and Cowen holding down the fort defensively.

With nine goals and 36 points in 44 games in the Swedish Elite League, Rundblad has proved his offensive worth. In every asset of the offensive side of the game, he has excelled. He is a very good skater with impressive vision who can bring the puck up the ice either by carrying it or finding an open man with a pass. The downside is he’s just 189 pounds and is not playing in a terribly physical league. He’ll have to get physically stronger and his play in his own end will have to improve.

The opposite is the case for Cowen, the Senators first round pick in 2009. At 6-foot-5 and 228 pounds, he has the physical make-up he needs to be a shutdown defenseman in the NHL. He had reconstructive knee surgery two years ago and anyone who watched the World Junior Championship should be concerned about his ability to keep up to speedy opposition forwards.

But as the Senators launch their rebuild, both Rundbland and Cowen are sure to be major blocks in the foundation.

This article was originally published in Metro News. For more hockey commentary, check out Metro Sports.

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