Despite having some excellent center moments during the current World Junior Hockey Championship (WJC), German forward Tim Stuetzle will play on the left wing this season if he manages to find his place with the Senators. from Ottawa.
Having secured his entry contract last Sunday, Stuetzle shared the leading scorers in the WJC on Thursday afternoon with five goals and 10 points in four games. Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion, however, is well aware of the gap between the World Juniors and the National Hockey League (NHL).
“It’s amazing hockey. But the World Juniors is one thing, and the NHL is another, ”Dorion revealed, according to the official NHL website.
Dorion still recognizes the qualities of Stuetzle which should allow him, in the long term, to become an accomplished center player in the best circuit in the world. However, he will have to polish his defensive game to get that responsibility with the Senators.
“In his first year, especially in this shortened season, he will probably play more on the left wing than on the center. But he has a lot of traits of a center when it comes to his ability to generate plays on the fly and his ability to control the puck and make offensive zone entries. ”
“He’s got a lot of great qualities as a center, but what comes with that role is the game without the puck and the defensive responsibilities. Even though he’s a great talent, he still has a lot of work to do without the puck. ”
Protect young people
It is for this reason that Dorion made two transactions last weekend to get his hands on center players Derek Stepan and Cédric Paquette. The GM hopes to protect the young players of the team. Indeed, several opponents of the North section will count on excellent duos of center players this season.
“We wanted to protect and isolate some of the young players and some of our other young centers, whether it was Colin White, Logan Brown or Josh Norris. We want to make sure they grow up because they’re going to be up against a few really good center players every night, whether it’s [Auston] Matthews or [John] Tavares, [Elias] Pettersson or [Bo] Horvat, [Mark] Scheifele or [Paul] Stastny, [Connor] McDavid or [Leon] Draisaitl, so we wanted to make sure we have someone who could play the tough minutes. ”
“We’re going to give young players a chance to play, but at the same time we want them to be successful in their development and have as much internal competition as possible.”
Stuetzle was the third overall selection in the most recent NHL Draft. The 18-year-old collected 34 points in 41 games in Germany’s main league last season with the Mannheim Eagles.