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Lee breaks down the rookie tournament

by Craig Medaglia / Ottawa Senators

Ottawa Senators Assistant General Manager Randy Lee shares his thoughts on the team's prospects who participated at the 2015 rookie tournament in London, ON this past weekend.

Goaltenders

Matt O’Connor:

He was the deciding factor in the game we thought. We thought he really stepped up and made some really big save in that game. He was big, he was challenged as they were bumping into him and he stood his ground and protected his crease and he was the reason we won that game.

Chris Driedger:

He was very good his first game that they split and he was very strong and made some great saves. In the second game, the team in general wasn't as strong but Chris still made some good saves and I think he came in to camp with a really good attitude.

Forwards

Matt Puempel:

Luke and Steve challenged him to be the on that team. We expected him just to play 2 games because we didn't want him to play in 3 but with the injuries he had to play in all 3 and he was more than receptive to do that. He had lots of scoring chances, he worked hard and he produced.

Tobias Lindberg:

Tobias did a really good job. I'm a big Tobias Lindberg fan because I saw him a lot last year because we had to decide about signing him. I think he made a really good impression on Bryan and the rest of the staff who didn't see him as much and that he's a really competitive two-way guy, he's a good powerplay guy, he plays the off-wing, he can kill penalties and he gets involved.

Ryan Dzingel:

Ryan had some good chances, worked really hard, he got stymied a couple of times but his attitude was really good and he was competing really hard. We have Ryan sometimes on the wing, sometimes at centre so it's tougher for him but I think he did a really good job.

Francis Perron:

He got better as the tournament went on. I think he was sort of finding his way but he's a very highly-skilled guy who's very capable of scoring but the message to Francis is that we want you to score in the dirty areas, we want you to score when you're down by a goal or tied so we want to make sure he's adapting his game. I think he understands what he has to do to get to the next level.

Max McCormick:

I think out of anybody in the tournament, Max McCormick made the biggest impression on all of our staff and scouts who hadn't seen him before when he was drafted or in Binghamton. He made the clearest impression, painted the clearest picture of who he is as a player. He's competitive every single shift, he hits, he works hard, he blocks shots, he'll protect his teammates, he's the perfect role model on the ice and I think he did a good job of presenting who Max McCormick is.

Filip Chlapik:

Good skill set, still has to work on his skating but we know that he's sort of learning in terms of training so we see a lot of upside with this guy. We can really see his vision and his offensive upside so it was encouraging from what we saw from Filip.

Travis Ewanyk:

Wore an A and he was another guy that made a very clear impression of who he is. Very competitive, hard nosed guy, good on the faceoffs, stuck up for his teammates, when we were down he was trying to spark the team...he was quite god. He had some offensive chances too along with a couple of fights but he did it at the right time. I think he did a good job of carving out who he is as a player. Real competitive guy.

Gabriel Gagne:

Exceeded my expectations. I didn't know him as well because I don't do amateur drafting but I saw a lot of skill in him. I was sort of teased by him at development camp but to see him in a game situation, he's got a lot of skill. He's still a great big body but he's a boy's body. Once he becomes a man and gets stronger and physically able to battle it'll be even better. His skill set is very high end.

Alex Guptill:

He knows that this year he wants to carve out a bigger role for himself so I think what he's doing is trying to define who he is. He's a real hard-nosed guy, he's got some good offensive instincts, he's lighter and I think he did a good job of conditioning this summer so I think he's better prepared. I think he's going to take what he did in the rookie tournament and show a bit more in main camp.

Vincent Dunn:

Vince is an interesting case because he had a really good rookie tournament two years ago, he had a sub-par rookie tournament last year and I think since last year he's had some challenges and didn't finish the season playing hockey. He really hasn't played organized hockey since last February so in terms of him he was sort of slow off the mark but he got better as the tournament went on. Basically, he's a competitive, hard-nosed guy who has to be hard to play against but I think at least now he's going in the right direction.

Buddy Robinson:

He just blocked a shot. We hope it's just a deep bruise but out trainer have to look at him further to make sure there's nothing else. He's another guy that this was a good opportunity for him and we had a lot of high hopes for him but now he just has to get better nd do it at main camp.

Nick Paul:

He's still be skating with our guys. He's a guy that you've got to be careful with and hold him back because he tries to really push the envelope and we want him to be 100%. That's why we did not take him to the rookie tournament so he's got to make sure he gets back and can perform because once training camp starts, guys don't want to miss games, they don't want to miss practice so we're hopeful that he's used this time wisely.

Ryan Penny:

Ryan's a real good, hard-nosed guy, he's a leader, he's a good professional and he's just trying to show us who he built on what he did development camp. But he's a real good pro. He played all over the ice at different positions, good penalty killer and I think he's a guy that you can really rely on.

Alex Wideman:

Alex Wideman made another great impression on guys because he is very small, he's not a big player, but he's very competitive, he's first on the puck, he's hard on the forecheck and he's not afraid to cycle the puck. He knows he's going to get hit and he's not afraid of that. He takes the puck well, he challenges himself very well, he had some good scoring chances and some of that him wasn't able to capitalize on and he was hard on himself but the biggest thing was he creates something when he's on the ice.

Defencemen

Thomas Chabot:

One of the most impressive guys out there. As the tournament went on, he got better and better. He realizes that this is another step but it's still not even NHL preseason but his skill set is high end in terms of the way he can move the puck, his skating skills, the vision on the ice, the way he can walk the blue line and he gets pucks through. He had a couple of turnovers but the biggest thing about him is that he fought hard to get back when he made those turnovers to recover. We were really impressed with him.

Ben Harpur:

He played left side and played right side. Really good passer. I think some of the guys didn't realize how good he moves the puck. His decision making on deciding which players are open is good. On the breakout he'll look one way to get the fore-checker's stick one side and that opens up another guy. Tape-to-tape hard passes. He had to play a big role because of the injuries, he had a lot of ice time. He stuck up for one of his teammates, Gabriel Gagne got hit and he stepped right in there and protected his teammate. He left a good impression.

Mikael Wikstrand:

He slipped going in to the boards and tweaked his shoulder so we're getting him checked out. Good experience for him but we want him to play as many games as possible in the North American setting so that when he comes to camp he'll have that experience. Injuries are injuries so now he just has to get better and we hope he'll be back soon.

Troy Rutkowski:

He was pretty good. Troy battled. He's a good offensive guy who's a confidence guy. We like the skill set that Troy has but he's one of those guys that I think he's hard on himself. He had to play a lot of minutes, he was good on the powerplay, he had to be out there when we were defending leads and I think Troy did a good job.

Chris Rumble:

Chris Rumble did really well. Real nice kid. Competed really hard and it was a really good opportunity for him. Al Sims brought him in to Evansville last year so he knew him better but that ws our first look at Chris and he did quite well.

Chris Carlisle:

He's an offensive guy. He played with Tobias last year in Oshawa so we got to see him quite a bit. He's a 20 year-old, real competitive guy who's not big but he's strong. Good offensive instincts. He was a slow starter in this tournament and he got better as it went on. We like what we see from him in terms of his compete level and he comes to play every single game.

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