The young players will have to fight for their jobs with the Ottawa Senators this season, confirmed general manager Pierre Dorion after the first day of training camp for his team.
“All the young players who deserve their chance to play with the Ottawa Senators this season will play with the Ottawa Senators,” said Dorion. We don’t want to see anyone, whether it’s a rookie or a veteran, who comes to the arena thinking their place is guaranteed. ”
“Everyone has to win it. ”
The Senators officially took to the ice for the first time in 10 months on Thursday. The team was one of seven teams on the Bettman Tour that did not participate in the NHL resumption tournament in Toronto and Edmonton this summer.
Several new faces were present for the first day of training camp, including goaltender Matt Murray, defenders Josh Brown and Erik Gudbranson, as well as forwards Evgenii Dadonov, Alex Galchenyuk and Austin Watson.
Center Derek Stepan, who was acquired from the Arizona Coyotes in a deal concluded Saturday, will take a little longer to join the team as he and his wife await the birth of their third child.
For their part, center Cédric Paquette and defenseman Braydon Coburn will join the team at the end of their mandatory quarantine period. The two players were traded to the Senators by the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday.
Several analysts have criticized the general manager for putting obstacles in the wheels of his young hopefuls by carrying out transactions that bring veterans, like Stepan, to Ottawa.
However, Dorion does not see the situation the same way.
“If a young player deserves to play, he will play,” he assured.
“No one on the team should take their place for granted; we have finished 30e, 31e and 30e in the standings in the last three seasons. ”
Asked about the acquisition of Stepan, the general manager defended himself by praising the professionalism of the attacker, in addition to his ability to counter the best centers that the Senators will face in the North section of the NHL, like Connor McDavid , Leon Draisaitl, Auston Matthews, John Tavares, Elias Pettersson, Bo Horvat and Mark Scheifele.
“We are going to give our kids the chance to play,” added Dorion. But at the same time, we want them to have good development, so we want to have as much internal competition as possible. ”
Regarding the deal with the Lightning, Dorion mentioned that it would allow him to improve his roster.
“Our job is to make our team better, and I believe we did,” said Dorion. [Paquette et Coburn] are two players with a lot of character, and that’s what we’re looking for. ”
“We’re going to need a lot of pairs of legs. We will play 56 games in 111 days ”, he recalled.
Another player who was not here Thursday, but who still caught the attention, is the Senators first choice in the last draft, Tim Stuetzle.
Dorion said there is no doubt the forward, who turns 19 on January 15, has all the qualities of an NHL player. He also hinted that Stuetzle is likely to be in uniform for the Senators’ opener of the season.
“He has all the qualities of a good center when it comes to his ability to create plays quickly and his way of transporting the puck into the opposing zone,” said Dorion.
“However, he will have to work on his game without the puck,” he added.
The Senators will open their season Jan. 15, when they will be visited by the Toronto Maple Leafs.