Best picks by round on Day 2 of the draft

Carter Hart (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

BUFFALO – On Day 2 of the draft, team preference plays such a huge role in when kids get picked. But for my money, there were some definite winners by round. In some cases, it was teams that made solid multiple selections. In other cases, it was a matter of the value they got in one player. Here are my winners for Day 2.

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Alfredsson signs extension with Senators, will returning in managerial role next season

Jared Clinton
Daniel Alfredsson (Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)

Legendary Ottawa Senator Daniel Alfredsson made his triumphant return to the organization ahead of the 2015-16 season, signing on to become the senior advisor of hockey operations. And after his first year in the front office, Alfredsson is coming back for another.

The Senators announced Monday that Alfredsson has signed a contract extension to remain the team’s senior advisor, where he’ll work under GM Pierre Dorion in a variety of roles. Alfredsson said the taste of the role he got last season made him realize he had found exactly what he was looking for.

“I’ve been able to do just about everything I could imagine, from being part of scouting meetings to working one-on-one with the players on the ice,” Alfredsson said in a release. “Coming back to do this just feels right, both personally and professionally and I look forward to helping the front office, coaches and players in any way I can to help us win.” Read more

Nikita Filatov says he left Senators due to financial troubles, regrets not listening to Ken Hitchcock

Jared Clinton
Nikita Filatov (G Fiume/Getty Images)

Here’s a name some will remember and one that some, namely Blue Jackets fans, will have tried to forget: Nikita Filatov.

Filatov, 26, last played in the NHL during the 2011-12 season as a member of the Ottawa Senators when he was a 21-year-old, but his time with the Senators, who acquired him for a third-round pick, was incredibly unsuccessful and largely forgettable.

Early in Filatov’s tenure with the Senators he was demoted to the AHL and spent the next two months of the campaign bouncing between the AHL and NHL before being granted a loan to the KHL’s CSKA Moscow by early December. After only nine games and less than half a season, the once highly touted prospect flamed out of Ottawa quickly.

Filatov hasn’t been back in the NHL or AHL since his time with the Senators, and in an interview with Sport-Express.ru’s Alexei Shevchenko, the former NHLer talked about his disappointing time in the NHL and said financial troubles played a part in him leaving North America. Though Filatov didn’t offer up numbers, he said he couldn’t repay his debts by playing in the AHL. Read more

NHL still wants to make outdoor game happen on Parliament Hill

Jared Clinton
The Centre Block and Peace Tower of Parliament stand on Parliament Hill (Patrick Doyle/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The NHL has held outdoor games at NCAA, MLB, CFL and NFL stadiums, an MLS pitch will be the site of the Centennial Classic next season and in the pre-Winter Classic era the league has even made an outdoor game work outside of Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. Even with all those venues checked off, though, the league is still hoping to make one more location work for an upcoming outdoor tilt: Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

According to the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch, the NHL is still eying up Parliament Hill for a potential December 2017 outdoor game. However, the logistics of putting an outdoor game in a spot that would require tens of thousands of temporary seats to be put in place could mean the scenic open-air game could be put on the back burner.

“It’s complicated,” commissioner Gary Bettman told Garrioch of hosting the game on Parliament Hill. “We’d have to know more. It’s complicated and expensive. We’ve been exploring it and doing some homework on it.” Read more

After bizarre departure from Senators, Wikstrand signs four-year deal with SHL’s Farjestad

Jared Clinton
Mikael Wikstrand (Farjestad Karlstad/Champions Hockey League via Getty Images)

In September 2015, it looked as though Mikael Wikstrand’s career was at an impasse. The 22-year-old defender had mysteriously left Ottawa’s training camp, returned to his native Sweden and was told by then-Ottawa Senators GM Bryan Murray that the only was his career was going to continue was if he was playing defense for a beer league team.

Nine months later, Wikstrand has signed a four-year contract with one of the SHL’s top teams. It was announced Monday that Wikstrand has inked a four-year extension with Farjestad BK which will see the young blueliner continue his career in the SHL for the foreseeable future. The Senators have not commented on the contract as of this writing.

Wikstrand’s extension with Farjestad is another strange twist in a story that caught many by surprise at the beginning of the campaign and remains a head-scratcher, if only in the sense that Wikstrand was in Ottawa one day and gone the next. Read more

Chiasson’s days numbered in Ottawa

Dhiren Mahiban
Alex Chiasson (Graig Abel/Getty Images)

Alex Chiasson’s days in Ottawa appear to be coming to an end. The 25-year-old is a restricted free agent, but Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun suggested the forward could be dealt prior to the NHL draft in Buffalo next month.

Chiasson’s agent, Kent Hughes, confirmed to THN that he’s expecting his client to be moved.

The Montreal native’s one-year, $1.2 million contract, which was awarded by an arbitrator last summer, is set to expire in July.

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Chris Phillips retires as a lifetime Ottawa Senator. What legacy does he leave?

Matt Larkin
Chris Phillips. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)

Chris Phillips’ NHL career is over. The steady defenseman called it quits officially in a press conference Thursday after 17 seasons, all with the Ottawa Senators, the team that drafted him first overall in 1996. Phillips missed all of 2015-16, as he sustained a cracked vertebra rehabbing from off-season back surgery, but he still finishes his career as the franchise’s all-time leader in games. Phillips played his 1,179th and final one Feb. 5, 2015. It was enough to surpass Daniel Alfredsson’s team record by one.

Phillips said Thursday he made the decision to retire along with his family and doctors.

“I loved and will miss the competition of going up against the league’s best,” he told reporters. “I will miss everything the game has to offer and am grateful for everything it has given to me.”

Senators GM Pierre Dorion announced Thursday Phillips will stay on with the organization to work with alumni and in the community. Phillips’ philanthropic impact on Ottawa has been significant over the years. He and his family have assisted 22 charities in the community, Senators beat writer Bruce Garrioch reports.

When Ottawa kicked off the 1996 draft with Phillips in the top spot, then-GM Pierre Gauthier would’ve been thrilled if we emerged from a time machine and told him his new cornerstone D-man would spend his entire career in Canada’s capital and walk away second among active NHL blueliners in games. Phillips played in the 2007 Stanley Cup final. He received Norris Trophy votes in two of his seasons. But will he be remembered as the “right” choice at No. 1 overall in 1996?

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Swiss connection helps Tom Pyatt land one-year deal with Ottawa Senators

Jared Clinton
Tom Pyatt (Eric Lafargue for Geneve-Servette/Champions Hockey League via Getty Images)

The Ottawa Senators are continuing their raid of Switzerland this off-season. First, the Senators brought aboard coaches Guy Boucher and Marc Crawford, both of whom had spent the past several seasons in the Swiss NLA, and Ottawa added to their former Swiss league contingent Tuesday when they announced the signing of Tom Pyatt.

Pyatt’s one-year, two-way deal carries a cap hit of $800,000 when he’s up with the Senators. The contract signals Pyatt’s return from a two-year stay in the Swiss NLA. He spent both seasons with Genève-Servette HC and had two stellar seasons, scoring 22 goals and 62 points in 92 games with the Swiss club.

You can be sure that the 29-year-old’s play overseas, where both Boucher and Crawford saw him on a regular basis, helped Pyatt land the deal in Ottawa. Senators GM Pierre Dorion said as much in a release. Read more