One-on-one with… Tim Stützle | NHL.com


As part of the texts in the “Head to Head with…” series, we interview players from the world of hockey to learn more about their lives on and off the ice. This special off-season edition features the Ottawa Senators forward Tim Stützle.

PARIS – Tim Stützle is confident the Ottawa Senators will take a big step in the right direction this season.

« Expectations are high, » admitted the 20-year-old striker.

READ ALSO : 32 for 32: Ottawa Senators season preview | Thomas Chabot packed, but realistic

In the space of eight days between July 7 and July 14, the Senators acquired Alex DeBrincat in a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks and goaltender Cam Talbot in a trade with the Minnesota Wild, signed the free agent without compensation Claude Giroux and awarded an eight-year, $63.6 million contract extension to Josh Norris (annual average of $7.95 million).

« With the gestures, the signings, Josh’s long-term commitment, the talks about a new amphitheater downtown, it’s all got the expectations high, » Stützle continued. We want to show the fans that we represent a good and young team and that we can do much better than what we have done in the last two years. »

A playoff team for the first time since 2017?

Stützle answers yes.

« We want to make the playoffs and I think that explains the moves that were made, » Stützle said. We had talked at end-of-season meetings that we needed to make some changes to get to the playoffs. The staff is committed to doing the right thing, so everyone is happy to be heading back to Ottawa. »

NHL.com spoke with Stützle during the European NHL Players Media Tour on Wednesday. The forward, who had 58 points (22 goals, 36 assists) in 79 games last season, his second in the NHL, discussed the possibility of playing with Giroux and DeBrincat and several other topics in an exercise of questions – answers:

The Senators acquired Alex DeBrincat on draft day 2022, and coach DJ Smith then said he saw him playing with you. A few days later, the Senators put Claude Giroux under contract and it’s the same story, we’re talking about a potential pairing with you. Suddenly, you could be pivoting a line with a potential 50-goal scorer and a possible future Hall of Famer. What do you think of all this?

“Obviously I was very excited to see these acquisitions, but I think all the gestures we’ve made are very good. It’s sad to see some guys go. We had a really great team and we had a lot of fun together, but at the end of the day I’m really happy with the changes. I look forward to being able to learn from these guys. I’m still very young and I think I can learn a lot from DeBrincat and Giroux. It will be great fun to play with them and I can’t wait to start the season and meet them. »

Knowing that you may have the chance to play with DeBrincat and Giroux, have you had the chance to study their game? Or do you consider that you know enough their style to be able to adapt to them?

“When we train, we do conditioning for an hour. So we meet on the stationary bikes for an hour. When it’s leg workout day, we can slow down the tempo a bit so I can afford to watch videos at the same time. And I took the opportunity to watch footage of DeBrincat. It’s crazy to see that. He can score from anywhere. I think out of 30 of his (41) goals last year, Patrick Kane earned the primary pass. I’m just going to try to spot him everywhere on the ice and give him the puck as often as possible. He can score from anywhere. Sometimes he gets the puck and goes one-on-one without really having a line of fire, but he finds a way to throw and hit the target. It’s great to see some guys doing that in the League, and it’s going to be a lot of fun to play with him. »

Do you think there’s a pressure that comes with being the one to spot the maverick and feed him?

“There is definitely pressure. It’s always the case when you play with two very good players, you have to deliver the goods. It’s my aim. I want to be at the top of my game and help them make games. It’s even more important to me since I was moved to center, trying to carry the puck and create plays in the offensive zone. I see the potential for success with these guys. »

Do you like the position of center better than that of winger?

 » Yes I love that. »

Video: NJD@OTT: Stützle takes advantage of Tkachuk’s game

You made the transition from left wing to center position last season. How did you find that? Was it a big challenge for you?

“Everyone was wondering why DJ hadn’t put me in the center. We discussed it from the beginning of the season and he asked me: « What do you prefer, do you want to play in the center or on the wing? ». I told him that I might be more comfortable playing with two very good players in order to learn from a guy who is used to playing in the center. Then we were so plagued by injuries that I had to play in the centre. He then asked me if I could play center. And I told him that I was ready for this. Then I learned from a guy like Josh Norris and other younger players who had been playing center for a long time. It was different, but in the end it was a really fun experience and I worked hard to get to where I am today. »

Now that you’ve had a good season, that you’ve proven you can be one of the Senators’ best players, do you approach training camp with a different mentality?

« I wouldn’t say it changes anything about me. I would just say that I see myself being a dominant player for the team, and I think that’s what I’ve shown in the last 35 games. I wanted to be the best player on the team. I received DJ’s trust, he trusted me in all situations. I even played shorthanded towards the end of the season. We wanted me to become a complete player, not just a power play specialist or a strictly offensive player. I want to be the guy who can be sent on the ice to defend the lead when the opposing team pulls their goalie late in the game. That’s the kind of player I want to be. I never wanted to be a player that we use strictly on the power play and who is bad defensively. That’s what people were saying because of my differential. I wanted to remedy that and I think the center position helped me do that. It was beneficial for me. »

You will have the chance to build on what you accomplished last season playing with DeBrincat and maybe with Giroux, but personally, how do you rate your game and how can you improve further?

“At the start of last season, I think the offensive contribution wasn’t there. I don’t think I scored a goal in the [13] first matches. I wasn’t playing badly, but it didn’t want to go in. So I try to focus on everything else to go in the right direction from the start. This is what is most important for the team. We’ve had some bad starts the last two years and it doesn’t help when you’re trying to qualify for the playoffs at the end of the season. If I’m at the top of my game, I think it can really help us qualify for the playoffs. »

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