One final game remains at the 2019 Rookie Showcase against the Winnipeg Jets tomorrow night and for Sens prospect Vitaly Abramov, it's hopefully another opportunity to make a good impression before the club's training camp opens next week.
Injuries limited Abramov's offseason training last year but a clean bill of health this year has translated to some substantial gains for the speedy winger. He shared that he focused on adding some more muscle this summer and he hopes his increased strength will pay dividends in his quest to crack the Sens' NHL roster this year.
"I had a really good summer for training," said Abramov. "Last year, I had a surgery on my wrist so it was more recovery than training but this year I was able to work hard all summer so I'm excited to start the season."
Abramov has netted 4 goals in the Sens' 2 games at the Rookie Showcase so far and while he hopes to leave a positive impression on the team's management and coaches during this weekend in Belleville, he's also looking at these games as a chance to get some extra repls heading into training camp.
"I try not to think about it. I just go on the ice and play my hockey and show what I can.," he said following last night's hat trick against the Canadiens. "It's nice to get touches before the main camp starts."
Video: Rookie Showcase: OTT 4 MTL 2 | Highlights
The 21-year-old appeared in 18 games for Belleville last year (along with making his NHL debut with the Senators on March 21st against the Calgary Flames) and showed glimpses of his offensive skill that made him a star in the QMJHL with Gatineau and Victoriaville.
"It's always an adjustment for young players when they get traded mid-season but I thought as the games progressed, he became a better two-way player for us," shared Belleville Senators head coach Troy Mann. "He has really good speed and he loves to take the puck to the net."
"One of the biggest things I love about Abramov is that he's fearless," Mann continued. "Sometimes the more offensive, skilled prospects can be a little hesitant in the paint or in the corners. He's absolutely not. He'll drive to the post or fight through the tough areas to score goals."
The Senators are currently in the midst of a youth movement and Abramov believes that the quality of the prospect depth in Ottawa has created a healthy, competitive environment for these young players to develop in.
"We push each other to be better," said Abramov about his Rookie Showcase teammates. "Everyone wants to make the NHL team so it's a good attitude to have in the locker room and on the ice. There are opportunities here in Ottawa. I know the guys at this tournament really want to take them."
The Senators' wealth of young players has perhaps had a different impact for Abramov as Mann believes he's flown a little under the radar since being acquired as a result of the club's numerous first round picks and top Junior players earning a little more attention. His offensive output this weekend may start to change that.
"We have some other players that have a lot more notoriety," said Mann. "But while Abramov still has a way to go and probably falls behind guys like Batherson, Brown and Brannstrom in terms of his development to get to the NHL, we're going to continue to work with him and hopefully he'll make his way to the NHL sometime soon too."
The Sens are back in action tomorrow night against the Winnipeg Jets at 7 p.m. and you can catch all the action live on TSN.ca, the TSN App and on TSN Direct with no blackout restrictions.