Hockey is almost here…
Today the Ottawa Senators released their 26-man rookie camp roster, slated to open on September 4th. Once camp breaks, the Senators will travel to London, Ontario and participate in a three-game tournament against the Chicago Blackhawks, Pittsburgh Penguins and Toronto Maple Leafs.
All of the games will be played at Budweiser Gardens (the former John Labatt Centre) and tickets apparently are still available. Coupled with the fact that university students will be returning to Western University (I still don’t feel comfortable not calling it the University of Western Ontario), it’s a good opportunity for young 20-year olds to make a go of it.
If you can’t make it London for the tourney, you will still have a chance to watch a number of Ottawa’s prospects play.
After a one-year absence created in part by the effects of the NHL lockout, the Senators also announced today that Luke Richardson’s Binghamton Senators will play at the Canadian Tire Centre on February 8th, 2014 to take on Montreal’s affiliate, the Hamilton Bulldogs.
Here is Ottawa’s roster:
There are no real surprise inclusions on the list, so most of the attention will be devoted to the team’s recent first round selections like Curtis Lazar (2013), Cody Ceci (2012) and Matt Puempel (2011) or former Team Canada junior phenom Mark Stone.
The best story of camp will assuredly be Jarrod Maidens’ return from a significant concussion that prevented him from playing at all in 2012/13. In fact, Maidens, Ottawa’s third round pick from 2012, hasn’t played in a game since November of 2011.
Of course the biggest concern is how much this layoff will affect his development curve, but if there’s any silver lining here for Sens fans, it’s that Matt Puempel is a fine and internal example of a player who also recovered from a lingering concussion problem.
There’s no pressure on Maidens to produce right away; he’ll unquestionably be returned to the Owen Sound Attack to fulfill his final year of junior eligibility. However, if he can become a productive player and fulfill some of the pre-draft hype that accompanied his name before his injury, Sens brass will be ecstatic.
For what it’s worth, here is Corey Pronman’s evaluation of Maidens from his draft year:
Maidens came into the year with a little bit of hype but he ended up playing a shortened season. He is not a flashy player who wows spectators with puck skills or skating but he does everything well and is what scouts have called a "classic underrated type". His best skill is his hockey sense, which is plus and translates into his offensive game through his positional play and great vision as well as his play in the defensive end. He regularly makes impressive feeds and will show high-end playmaking ability. Maidens' puck skills are decent and can flash a tick above that, so if he doesn't have the space to work with, I don't see him as the kind of player who will create that kind of working area for himself, but if you line him up on a power play from the sideboards, he can see all the options unfold. Maidens has a decent physical game as he protects the puck fine and plays the body, but he has a beanpole frame and needs to put on a lot of muscle. He also needs to work on his skating, as despite good mechanics, his speed is below average.