As an undrafted free agent, a motivated Parker Kelly was able to parlay his hard work into opportunity with the Senators. The Prince Albert Raiders forward spoke with the media on Tuesday to talk about signing his first NHL contract.
On signing an NHL contract as an undrafted free agent:
It was a pretty surreal experience and I couldn't be happier to be with a better organization. I'm really looking forward to the future.
On not being selected in the 2017 NHL draft:
I wasn't too disappointed about not being drafted and I just used that as motivation. I was lucky enough to be invited to Development Camp where I had a good showing and it kind of went on from there. I was pretty fortunate to be invited back for Rookie Camp and now that they asked me to sign.
On his mindset coming in to training camp with the Sens:
I wanted to show that I was right up there with the other 2017 draft picks. They're pretty good players so I thought if I could be up there with them then that would probably give me my best shot.
On his plans for the future:
I want to have another good year in Prince Albert and help the team make the playoffs. Hopefully I can stay up here longer next year and by the time I'm 20 I hope to be playing pro hockey either in the AHL or NHL.
On taking advantage of being around NHL veterans this week:
I've been watching them and what they do on and off the ice. I haven't had the chance to sit down 1-on-1 with any of them but I've chatted with guys like Phaneuf, Turris and Brassard a little bit. They've all been good to me so far.
We also spoke with Sens assistant general manager Randy Lee to get his thoughts on the newest Senator.
On signing Kelly to an entry level contract:
This is a guy that we wanted to invest in. He likes what he saw with us, he likes the opportunity here, he likes our development team, he likes the group and he thinks that this is a place that he'd like to commit to and we wanted to commit to him. It's very rare that we do this but we stepped out of the box and said that he's earned it so we offered him a contract. We're happy that he's a part of our family.
On Kelly not being drafted in June:
We didn't have a 7th round pick and our scouts wanted to acquire one. He's one of those guys that we considered drafting. When the draft ended, Trent Mann and his staff said that this is a guy that we should invite to Development Camp.