Jake Sanderson looks the part of a future top-pair defender
Last October, the Ottawa Senators had a pair of potentially franchise-defining decisions to make in the form of the No. 3 and No. 5 overall picks in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft.
With the first one, they made the obvious choice: Tim Stützle, a high-pace, ultra-flashy attacker sure to sell tickets, and bring top-line upside.
With the second one, they went for a bit of a surprise: Jake Sanderson. Sanderson wasn’t the consensus No. 1 defender in the draft class. And while the industry was higher on Sanderson than much of the public sphere, his counting stats gave him the appearance of a low-risk, moderate-reward pick.
It wasn’t true at the time, and now, it couldn’t be further from the truth. Sanderson's game has taken the expected step from facilitator to play creator, flashing a level of dynamism comparable to the top defensive prospect on the planet.
What wasn’t in any doubt was Sanderson’s defensive and transition upside. For Sanderson, it was those elements and how they maintained their extreme effectiveness in the NCAA and provided the base for his offensive breakout.
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