Originally written on The 6th Sens  |  Last updated 11/15/14
Just the other day, Scott touched upon a report by Andrey Osadchenko indicating Ottawa was in talks to sign undrafted defenceman Viktor Antipin. Although Ottawa’s depth in general is enviable – just ask Eugene Melnyk – there’s a discernible difference between quantity versus quality. On the blue line, a number of players have graduated from Binghamton to join Erik Karlsson and Jared Cowen on the Senators’ blueline. We’re only two games into the start of the 2013 NHL season, but Patrick Wiercioch has not looked out of place and Mark Borowiecki is still waiting to make his first appearance of the season. There are other defencemen within the system too. Eric Gryba is one player whose prospects the organization seem to be quite high on. Luke Richardson was on the Team 1200 yesterday afternoon singling Gryba out as being one of the key reasons why the B-Sens haven’t missed a beat despite the absence of the players who graduated to the NHL. And I haven’t even mentioned 2012 first rounder Cody Ceci. Having participated in Ottawa’s improvised training camp, one can hope that an extended playoff run with the Owen Sound Attack will help expedite his development and put him on the fast track for success. The problem for Ottawa is that Ceci may realistically be one to three years away from being a dependable NHL regular. While the ceilings of the Senators remaiing defensive propects are somewhat limited. For an organization that seemingly has depth and skill at a number of positions, the hope for every Sens fan is that the team can create a balanced pool of prospects at every position so that when the team is poised to make its ascent to Stanley Cup contention, it has fewer internal weaknesses. Balanced depth allows the team to sustain its window of opportunity or at the very least, it allows the organization to peddle depth for better talent. Having missed out on Justin Schultz earlier in the summer and with the team allegedly talking with the representatives for Antipin, the organization has obviously identified the backend as an area that needs addressing. Besides pursuing Antipin, there are a number of other intriguing possibilities that are worth revisiting. Let’s start with Danny DeKeyser. The unrestricted collegiate defenceman is in his junior season for Western Michigan University – tallying 12 goals and 44 points in 103 CCHA games. The numbers may seem paltry, but take it from his head coach and former NHL head coach, Andy Murray who assures everyone that DeKeyser is an NHL talent. “He’s a really smart player. He’s a great leader, has a great stick, plays with some physical bite and makes good decisions with the puck. My feeling is, from my experience in the league, that he’s certainly capable of being an NHLer. When that happens, I’m not sure, but he’s capable.” It’s an opinion that Hockey Prospectus’ Corey Pronman agrees with. Probably DeKeyser, although Connolly/Brown better raw skills. RT @fetch9: @coreypronman who is the top college free agent this summer? — Corey Pronman (@coreypronman) March 13, 2012 The Michigan native has long been linked to the Detroit Red Wings because of his connection to Jim Nill, the assistant GM of the Detroit Red Wings. Having played with Nill’s son Trevor, this family link, coupled with the fact that DeKeyser attended the Red Wings’ developmental in 2011, has given many reason to believe that it’s a foregone conclusion that he dons the winged wheel. Things may not be that simple however, especially since DeKeyser turned down an invitation to join the Wings’ 2012 development camp. "He wasn't going to go to any camps this year," assistant general manager Jim Nill said this morning. "Every team is after him. He decided not to go into any camps. He wanted to focus on training." With the retirement of Niklas Lidstrom and many of the team’s best players entering their mid-thirties, Detroit’s window has almost closed, if it hasn’t already. Although their system boasts a variety of celebrated prospects, Corey Pronman rated them as having the third best system in the NHL as recently as July 2012, none have really made their mark on the NHL yet. Players aren’t stupid. They want to sign for a team that’s trending in the right direction and one that also gives them a chance to win. Should Detroit continue to trend down and see their window close, the allure of playing for a young team on the upswing could be more enticing. Just ask Justin Schultz who picked the Oilers over his home province Canucks and the Eastern Conference upstart Senators. For whatever it is worth, the Senators were allegedly in on DeKeyser last season as well, but ultimately, the player decided that he wanted to return for his junior season. Danny Dekeyser from Western Michigan is the top College UFA. 25 teams chasing the D man. Ottawa in the mix. Still has two years of school. — Shawn Simpson (@SSimpsonHockey) March 16, 2012 Which brings us to another unrestricted collegiate prospect, Andrej Sustr. At 6’8” and 225 pounds, he also opted to return to school and fulfill his junior season. In 96 games played, his offensive production --- 12 goals and 43 points -- has mirrored that of DeKeyser and this season, he’s apparently averaging more than 23 minutes of ice-time per game.  For some time, Sustr has been monitored by Pierre McGuire. In a Sports Illustrated feature last year, McGuire described the level of interest in the now 22-year old University of Nebraska-Omaha ‘monster’. "Scouts from at least 20 NHL teams have journeyed to the heartland to watch 6'8" defenseman Andrej Sustr, a 20-year-old Czech-born sophomore at Nebraska-Omaha.". More recently, Pierre has continued to bestow praise upon Sustr, telling TGOR on January 7th that "Tyler Myers is the last big person that I've seen that can skate like this person." It’d be quite unlike Pierre to ever overhype the promise of a young player, so take that quote straight to the bank. And as I wrote last March, "sometimes defensive partner At Omaha Bryce Aneloski is a 2010 Ottawa draft pick, which probably doesn't hurt." Now why does any of this matter? Because like Shawn Simpson did with DeKeyser, CBC’s Tim Wharnsby linked the Senators to the Slovak defenceman as well, writing it is "believed that the Senators have an interest in this defenceman." Before anyone gets ahead of themselves, according to one report from the Omaha World-Herald, (Sustr’s) tried to limit contact with NHL types, particularly between games during weekend series. Sustr may be biding his time before entering the market, but the prevailing assumption is that this season will be his last; even his head coach Dean Blais is inclined to believe that this season will be Sustr’s last.  “I expect him to join an NHL team after this season,” Blais said. “But he'll decide that. He loves school. He's a good student. He likes his teammates and he likes Omaha. He might surprise me and stay.” Like any undrafted collegiate prospect, there’s no guarantee that either DeKeyser or Sustr will ever be any better than some of Ottawa’s current prospects. Hell, we’ve endured the Bobby Butler era here in Ottawa, we all should know these players are far from sure things. But with the Senators being a young and competitive club that has a very identifiable need for more talent on the blue line, it’s the type of situation that could entice either or both of us these players.  Luongo and Ottawa? From The Hockey News:  The San Jose Sharks, Washington Capitals and Ottawa Senators have been bandied about by rumor bloggers. Anyone watching the recent play of the Sharks’ Antti Niemi and the Senators’ Craig Anderson, however, would reject those teams as potential destinations for Luongo. The Capitals’ young tandem of Braden Holtby and Michal Neuvirth struggled in their club’s recent two-game losing skid, but that doesn’t mean management wants to shake things up right now. Alright, who's the idiot who linked the Senators to Luongo and why hasn't this person been publicly outed yet? 
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Cam Newton calls out 'classless' Panthers fans

Report: 49ers to part ways with Harbaugh after season finale

Brad Stevens shoots down rumors he's headed to Hoosiers

Jameis Winston cleared in code of conduct case

Sherman: Patrick Peterson would be benched on Seahawks

Fans struck by lightning after Buccaneers-Packers game

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Philip Rivers playing through painful back injury

Report: Bears could have interest in Jim Harbaugh

Report: Shanahan interested in coaching next season

Report: Michigan has its eye on several NFL coaches

Report: Titans, Jay Cutler have mutual interest in trade

Phillies GM told Ryan Howard team is better off without him

10 takeaways from NFL Week 16

Tony Romo leads Dallas Cowboys to NFC East title

Ole Miss QB arrested after fighting, threatening bouncers

WATCH: Marshawn Lynch's ridiculous TD run

WATCH: Steelers' Gay draws flag for taunting teammate

WATCH: Three players ejected after Giants-Rams fight

WATCH: Dominic Raiola stomps on Bears player's ankle

WATCH: Arian Foster throws TD pass, drops scoreboard taunt

WATCH: Johnny Manziel leaves with injury after taking big hit

NHL has warned 22 players about diving

Nick Mangold wears NYDP hat to honor fallen officers

Five things we learned from the first day of bowl games

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

10 takeaways from NFL Week 16

Cam Newton calls out 'classless' Panthers fans

Raiola stomps on Bears player's ankle

Bears interested in Jim Harbaugh?

Shanahan to return to 2015?

Browns interested in drafting Mariota?

Mullen wears funny Christmas sweater

RG3 returning to Redskins?

Tom Izzo hot after bad loss

Kings, Nets talking Deron Williams trade

WATCH: DeSean mocks Eagles

Vick: Winston is the future of the NFL

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.