As the Sens get set to start the pre-season on Tuesday against the Toronto Maple Leafs in St. John's, the battle for jobs in Ottawa should continue to heat up and sophomore defenseman Max Lajoie is looking to stake his claim on an NHL role again this year.
After making the team out of camp last season, Lajoie got off to a hot start with the Senators in 2018-19 which included scoring his first career NHL goal in his first career game in a multi-point effort against the Blackhawks in their season opener last year.
Lajoie would ultimately go on to skate in 56 games for the Senators last year and believes that experience could give him an edge at securing a job in Ottawa again this season.
"It's nice to have experience in the league already," Lajoie said following today's skate. "Coming into camp this year I have more confidence, I know what to expect and I know what I have to do to stick around so that's big for me."
Like most players at camp, Lajoie is also hoping to make a positive first impression with the team's new coaching staff during training camp. The on-ice sessions so far have been fast paced under the guidance of new head coach D.J. Smith and Lajoie feels confident that his skillset will mesh well with the up-tempo play style that the new bench boss has been preaching.
"I think it's a good fit because I'm a pretty quick, puck-moving defenceman and I can join the rush which is a good thing," he said. "We want to play with speed which is how the game is being played now so that's key for me."
The Sens have three pre-season games on the schedule for next week, including back-to-back contests against Maple Leafs on Sept. 17th and 18th. Lajoie saw his rookie season cut short due to hernia surgery but is looking forward to the opportunity to get back into a live game environment again.
"I'm back to 100% and really excited to start up again," said Lajoie. "It's been awhile so I'm excited to get that first game under my belt and keep going from there."
For more details on the Sens pre-season schedule, click here.