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Training Camp Day 12: Sissons Finding His Role

Preds Center Hoping to Land in the NHL Full Time This Season

by Brooks Bratten @brooksbratten /

If it was up to Colton Sissons, he'd never play another game at the minor-league level.

While the ultimate decision doesn't belong to him, he may still get his wish. Those who are in charge of determining where Sissons will fit within the organization during the 2016-17 season have liked what they've seen from the 22-year-old centerman over the past couple of weeks and could make him a full-time NHLer sooner than later.

For Sissons, who began the 2015-16 campaign captaining the Milwaukee Admirals before finding himself in Nashville for 34 regular-season contests - and 10 more in the playoffs - the confidence is abundant at a time when it matters most.

"It's way higher than it's ever been," Sissons said of his belief in himself, "especially with getting a lot of games in last year and that playoff experience. I'm close with the guys now, a lot of good friends in the locker room, and that helps quite a bit as well to just play your game and feel comfortable on the ice."

Sissons, who inked a three-year deal last February, says he's learned from previous camps and has found ways to get the best out of himself, particularly when it comes to having the right mindset on the ice.

"I really try not to get too high or too low on myself, no matter what the circumstance is," Sissons said. "I've kind of been there before when I've come into a camp expecting it to be a little easier than it was, and I found myself in the minors for an entire season. I've learned from experiences like that and draw on those times and kind of figure those things out along the way."

Whatever he's doing seems to be working thus far. Sissons has seen time in two exhibition games to this point, logging 12:49 in Saturday's 4-3 win over Tampa Bay, including almost two minutes on the ice while Nashville was shorthanded.

It's times like those when Sissons will be relied upon the most, filling the void left by those who were particularly adept at killing a penalty or winning a faceoff in key situations.

"He's been excellent," Head Coach Peter Laviolette said of Sissons. "He's a guy that we're going to count on to take the next step and fill some of the lifting that was left there by [Paul] Gaustad and [Eric] Nystrom; penalty killer, defensive player, face-offs, he does terrific job inside of that role and we'll count on him for that."

So while the final decision hasn't been made just yet, it's likely Sissons will find himself in Nashville when the Preds open the season on Oct. 14 at Bridgestone Arena, and that's just fine with him.

"We have really high expectations on ourselves every year, but I think we're getting some more respect around the League and the media, so we welcome that with open arms," Sissons said. "It's going to be fun; we have a talented, young group."

Josi's Return Coming:

The last of the remaining World Cup of Hockey participants yet to join the Preds on the ice, Roman Josi will be back soon. Head Coach Peter Laviolette said after Monday's practice he expects the All-Star defenseman to "definitely" take the ice with the team by Wednesday, but didn't rule out an appearance by Josi on Tuesday either.

"I think we talked about tomorrow, but we also left it as, 'it's your call,'" Laviolette said. "It'll be good to get him there. We miss him; he's a good player."

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