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I originally watched the first game of the three game rookie tournament with the intentions of writing an article for each game, but couldn't find the time as I had to travel around Ontario a bit this weekend. After a visit to see my family I'm finally back home and can get back to writing about hockey.
It's obviously too late to write anything about the tournament, especially because I was only able to catch the first game, but I did want to share the above image because I just think it's a great snapshot from the game. Instead of paying for TV I use an online service to stream all my hockey needs to my computer, which is great for tons of reasons and one of them is I can screenshot great pictures like this one!
This was taken after Max McCormicks second goal - late in the third - against the leafs - to tie the game - leading the our first taste of 3 on 3 overtime. And it tasted sweet. The picture was taken at the end of regulation, before Lindberg, who is next to McCormick, scored the OT winner. They both ended the game with two goals, McCormick with the tying goal and the first goal of the game (30 seconds in) and Lindberg with the second goal of the game I believe and the OT winner.
Since this is the last opportunity I'll have to talk about some of the Sens prospects, I just wanted to mention how well some of them played.
Lindberg was (at least for game 1) probably my favourite player. He made tons of really smart plays, both in his own end and offensively, and showed a lot of speed, power and talent. He even has a bit of a power forward style to his game. He can hit a bit, play physical and looked very strong. His first goal was just an easy garbage goal (a goals a goal, if it were easy I'd be doing it too) but his second goal was a hard accurate wrist shot about 30 seconds into overtime. Heres are a couple less impressive screenshots of the goal (I couldn't pick):
In that one game he became one of my favourite Sens prospects. Quick-background info: He played his entire junior career in Sweden until the '14-'15 season when he moved over to the Oshawa Generals of the OHL where he dominated (well over a point per game) and won the Memorial Cup. In his first season in the OHL. Not so surprised by his performance anymore!
Max McCormick had a great game offensively but realistically that is not an area of his game that we expect him to perform consistently in. All I mean by that is he does have offensive skills but his style is more physical and less skill oriented. Despite that he looked great and even if he hadn't of scored he would still deserve credit for a great performance. He could make the NHL in the next season or two but I don't see him making any teams top six ever most likely. He would be a fantastic bottom six forward though. I forgot to mention earlier, his first goal was 30 seconds into the game and his second came with 30 seconds left in the game. Maybe that is just a weird coincidence but he's an energy player and scoring clutch goals definitely helps energize all his teammates. Incase you're not familiar with McCormick, he is the reigning 'hardest worker' from this years Sens development camp. Before him was Curtis Lazar (
) and Mark Borowiecki won it more than once I believe before Lazar.
Puempel looked good, scoring the Sens 3rd goal of the game to tie it half way through the third on a sweet one timer - set up by the Sens first round pick this summer, defenseman Thomas Chabot. He played first line RW and was dominant most of the time he was on the ice, playing alongside Dzingel and Lindberg. Personally I think Lindberg was a bit better but Puempels experience definitely went a long way.
Chabot looked pretty great, and showed he can really skate multiple times during the game. He'll still still need some time before he makes the NHL but I'm excited to see how he does this year in his first season since being drafted.
One guy who I haven't heard anyone talk about is Gabriel Gagne, who I couldn't stop raving about all game. Wearing #71 and playing either second or third line RW, Gagne was my biggest surprise. He was taken this summer just outside the first round (36th), and he is the type of player I love - a power forward.
Standing at 6'5, only 185 pounds, Gagne showed really impressive speed multiple times, often barreling through the Leafs defence to get the puck in the offensive corner. Considering how young he is (won't even turn 19 until November), I'm hoping he can keep his speed while bulking on a ton of muscle weight over the next couple seasons. He'll probably return to the Q this season and should take some huge steps forward in his development. I can't wait to see more of this guy.
I can't think of any other notes, besides seeing new-top-goalie-prospect Matt O'Connor play for the first time. He made a few really nice key stops but statistically was far from impressive. Apparently he stole the show in game two against the Habs stopping something like 47 out of 48 shots, so that is a great sign of potential. We should get a better idea of how good he is over the course of the season when he'll likely be the starting goalie for Binghamton.
Also, Shane Prince didn't play, at least in the first game, but I'm still pretty high on him. At least based on his AHL stats and his short NHL stint last season I'm expecting him to make the NHL this season and hopefully stay there. Keep in mind Prince and Puempel were both taken in the same draft as Pageau, who has clearly jumped them in the depth chart despite being smaller and a much later pick (4th round). I might be biassed because I was blessed with being in attendance for Pageau's infamous playoff hat-trick, but I think Pageau is really underrated and could surprise a lot of people with his offensive production this season. If he's playing a defensive role on the third line again he probably won't get any ridiculous amount of points, but last time he played in the AHL he was pretty dominant offensively and definitely has the ability to bring that to the NHL this season if he's given an increased role.
All in all it's a great time to be a Sens fan and this season will likely dominate my life. Can't wait to document the whole thing here at [url]lazarbeams.com! I'm working on perfecting the comments section so I can get some feedback and start some discussions, so if you're reading this please share your thoughts even if it's just trashing my thoughts. Thanks for reading! I know I can rant sometimes so if you got through this whole post, bravo to you.