BRATISLAVA, SLOVAKIA - At the end of last year, Damon Severson had just competed the first year of a six-year contract and, as he said with a shrug, "It was just ok."
That's when he realized that he had a lot more to give and needed to double down on his commitment to play at his very best in order to take another step forward in his career because just ok wasn't good enough.
"It's real easy to doubt yourself at this level and it's hard to play well when you're not confident," he said. "So, when I looked back on that year and felt that I could've been better, I said to myself, 'These guys committed to me with a long term for a reason and I believe in myself, I know what I can do and I know what I can bring to the team to help us win.' Then it just became a matter of putting in the work to make sure I was playing up to my potential.
"I wanted to prepare myself to be locked in all season and be a guy that's really counted on and create that internal competition within myself and show my teammates that I'm there every night and they know what they can get out of me," he continued.
He hoped it would end in a playoff run with the Devils. Instead, it ended with an invitation from Hockey Canada to represent his country at the 2019 IIHF World Championship in Slovakia.