The greatest number of recruits in the Canadian section?
Despite the arrival of several veterans, Ottawa Senators head coach DJ Smith has made one thing clear: a large number of rookies will be at the club this season.
Since the team’s last game, last March, general manager Pierre Dorion has made several acquisitions. He came to an understanding with Alex Galchenyuk and Evgenii Dadonov when the free agent market opened. He also acquired goaltender Matt Murray, defensemen Erik Gudbranson and Braydon Coburn, then forwards Derek Stepan, Cédric Paquette and Austin Watson in trades.
These decisions also made owner Eugene Melnyk say that the club could win the Stanley Cup. But Smith will not deviate from his plan. He plans to give a lot of space to the young hopefuls of the organization.
“I think we did a good job,” Smith said in a video conference Friday on the second day of the team’s training camp. Pierre added players who know the league and if our young players are ready, they will play. ”
“Whatever happens, we’re going to have the most rookies in the Canadian section. From afar. Maybe more rookies than all the other squads in the section combined. The young people will play. It’s just to know when and what will be their playing time. «
That being said, Smith will not be giving out training spots to rookies for free. Candidates will have to earn their places, otherwise some could be overwhelmed by the pace of play on the Bettman Circuit.
“When a youngster has to earn his place, there is a greater chance that he will not be demoted afterwards. Sometimes when you offer a place to a youngster, a lot of times it’s overwhelming and after 20 games you bring in a veteran to replace him and the youngster goes back to the AHL. «
In addition, Smith said he was very satisfied with the work done by the players, especially the veterans, to be ready from day one. He believes that the oldest thus set an example to follow for the hopes, who are barely beginning, for the most part, their career with professionals.
The instructor notably gave the example of Artem Anisimov, whom he extensively praised.
“It’s good to see and it’s good young guys to see what it takes to stay in the NHL and continue to be competitive,” said the driver. These guys are long gone and they got the job done. They are ready and they are some of the fittest guys on our side at this point. ”