September 10, 2011: 2 pm on RogersTV 22
Your Ottawa Senators finally get back to action as they kick off the 2011-2012 season with their Rookie Tournament today. Squaring off against the rookies from the Pittsburgh Penguins organization, Sens Army can’t wait to see what the future stars of the franchise can show us. With the tourney being held in Oshawa, the four teams participating are the Sens and Pens, along with the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Chicago Blackhawks.
Today’s game will feature many of Ottawa’s star prospects as Mika Zibanejad, Jared Cowen and David Rundblad will don the Sens crest. With the anticipation growing all summer long about the prospects in our system, today will be the first time we get to see some of them in action rather then just reading about them.
With one of the deepest prospect pools in the league, Ottawa has a line-up that should easily dominant this four team tournament. With seven players suiting up that were drafted in the first two rounds of the last few drafts, Ottawa has a number of impact players at this tourney. With most expected to be playing for the Binghamton Senators or their respective junior teams, this tournament is more of a showcase for Sens Army rather than auditions. With the exception of Cowen and Rundblad who could crack the Ottawa line-up, the rest are taking this tournament as an experience to better themselves for the upcoming year.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
OTTAWA- David Rundblad
The much hyped Rundblad will finally make his debut in a Sens jersey today. After winning the award as the best defenseman in the Swedish Elite League last year, the highly skilled, offensive defenseman hopes that his game will translate to the NHL. Expected to be given every chance to make the Ottawa squad, Rundblad will need to have a great training camp to stick with Ottawa. Look for him to play a lot of minutes and rush the puck up the ice today.
OTTAWA – Jared Cowen
Cowen enters camp as the prospect that is expected to push the veteran defensemen on Ottawa for ice time. As a mobile shutdown D-man, the huge (6’5″, 227 lbs) Cowen is considered what the Sens were missing last year on the blue line. However, with the speed of the pro game and the major knee injury he suffered in his draft year, Cowen may need some seasoning in the AHL.
OTTAWA – Mika Zibanejad
The sixth overall draft pick from this year’s draft is the first step in Ottawa’s rebuild. Highly touted out of Sweden, Z-Bad was the fastest riser in this year’s draft. With shades of Mats Sundin in his game, Zibanejad has an outside chance to crack the Sens line-up this year. Most likely he will play the year in Sweden and come over next year stronger and ready to push for an NHL spot.
OTTAWA – Stephane Da Costa
The highly sought after NCAA standout signed last season with Ottawa after a great collegiate career. Suiting up for four games at the end of last season, it was evident that Da Costa needed to be stronger to be able the pro game. With an off-season of training in the Ottawa area, he hopes that he can crack the Ottawa line-up as their second line center. Da Costa needs to dominant this tournament if he hopes to start his training camp off right.
OTTAWA – Robin Lehner
The “HUNT” is on for last year’s AHL playoff MVP. After leading the B-Sens to their first Calder Cup in franchise history, Lehner is coming into camp even more confident and cocky in himself and his abilities. Expected to play the majority of the season as the starter in the AHL, Lehner will do his best to make the decision to send him down very hard on the Ottawa coaching staff and Sens management.
OTTAWA – Andre Pettersson
The highly skilled, offensive forward gets less coverage than other Sens prospects, but his skill set is said to have the highest ceiling. Able to stick handle in a phone booth, Petersson’s game is built on one thing – scoring goals. A little on the small side (5’9″, 180 lbs), Petersson will need to work on his defensive game before he is ready for the NHL. I am personally very excited about Petersson as I think he will light up the AHL this season and be the flashest forward we have had in Ottawa since Martin Havlat.
These are a few of the players to watch for as they are impact players in the Sens organization. After today’s game, Ottawa will play the Hawks tomorrow at 2pm. The tournament will wrap up as Ottawa plays the Leafs on Tuesday night.
Check back here on SenShot for a complete game recap after the game. Enjoy the game and GO SENS GO!!!
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