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The Ottawa Senators will give the kids a chance in the preseason.


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And, by the time the puck really drops Oct. 14 against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Canadian Tire Center, the Senators will have a good idea of ​​where everyone is.

The Senators opened the exhibition program Sunday night at the Canada Life Center against the Winnipeg Jets with a young lineup and it was the first chance to see how some would handle the pressure of NHL-like competition after three days on the ice in the training ground.

For the veterans, it’s all about preparing, but the youngsters are trying to impress with general manager Pierre Dorion, coach DJ Smith, senior vice president Pierre McGuire, and the rest of the hockey operations staff that they are someone who can play in. this. level or can be trusted by calling from Belleville.


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The preseason will help with preparation.

“The most important thing we’ve talked about is how competitive we will be,” associate coach Jack Capuano said Sunday before the club’s flight to Winnipeg. “We have established a structure, but first and foremost, if you want to be a senator from Ottawa, it’s about having a team mentality first.

“It’s about your work ethic and trying to do the little things well because the little things for us are earning things. We know these kids will make mistakes and we know they will be a little nervous, but we want them to relax and have fun. We want them to join, but the most important thing is that they work ”.


Draft recruits Shane Pinto, Ridly Greig, Parker Kelly, Roby Jarventie, Pontus Aberg and Mark Kastelic were among the forwards the club wanted to look at.


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On defense, Erik Brannstrom, Lassi Thomson and Maxence Guenette made their preseason debuts.

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If any of those picks needed some advice on what it takes to make a good impression, then they might turn to veteran winger Austin Watson for advice. He’s had to work for everything he’s gotten in his NHL career, and he traveled to Winnipeg because he’s the type of player who is the perfect fit for what Smith wants.

You know this is not an easy fit for some of these players and your best bet is to take care of a role.

“It’s difficult because you come from the youth or American league, where you are kind of a man and a high-level player on your team,” Watson said. “And unless you’re super elite, you’re not playing in the top six or the best in the NHL because these guys are so good.


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“You have to find something that you do better than someone else. For me, it was a commitment to the little things, blocking shots, checking and hitting. Not everyone wants to do that. It is tough and physically demanding. But, for me, that was something I could hold onto and be better than a lot of guys. I was able to find a role for myself. “


There are not many vacancies at this camp, so this is not an easy camp. The acquisition of winger Zach Sanford from the St. Louis Blues by underperforming forward Logan Brown on Saturday made it a bit more difficult for everyone who is pushing to get on the roster.

“You can’t just come to camp and expect to score every night,” Watson said. “It is difficult to have opportunities, to make shots and to produce offensively. Can you be patient Everyone at home, your agent, your parents and your friends, that you should be in the NHL and that you are a great hockey player.


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“And you are, but there are a lot of us out there, and to be here you have to be better than everyone else.”

Capuano said senators want to see where everyone fits.

“As a coaching staff, we have discussed that everyone on your team should have a specific role and responsibility,” said Capuano. “That is the most important. DJ has made it clear to the staff and players that there are certain places on this team and there is a certain way that you will have to play to be on this team.

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“Just because you can be the first power player in the American league, it doesn’t mean that you are going to be in that role here. So what can you do to impress the staff to continue to be a Senator from Ottawa and become part of the team? “


Smith planned to give goalie Anton Forsberg the start against the Jets, while Filp Gustavsson was scheduled to play the final 30 minutes. Forsberg was picked up on waivers from Winnipeg last season… The club used Brannstrom in the second matchup with Thomson against the Jets. If Brannstrom is going to make the team, then he has to show in the preseason that he has improved his game defensively. Look, there’s no question that Brannstrom has offensive skills, but he has to improve on both ends of the ice. We’ll see how the preseason goes … The Jets dressed 11 players who dressed for the club last season … Teams have the option of working on penalties during the preseason and that was the plan to end this one. Lets teams take a look at the types they want to use. “There are some guys he wants to see,” Capuano said.



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