Matt Puempel spoke to the media on Thursday when Sens Rookie Camp opened its doors. Here's what he had to say about his upcoming year...
On rookie camp:
You work hard all summer and all last season to be in this situation. I'm happy to do that, I'm going to enjoy every day here and work as hard as I can to try and make the team.
On if he sets production goals:
I didn't say last year that I would score 30 goals in the American League. I didn't set that by any means. Different opportunities come up with playing time and stuff like that and I think once you get going I try to think of every game as a new game and not worry about the last 10 games or anything like that. You can't change what happened. I think you just have a good first game and build on stuff like that. To just take it day by day is the best course, especially over a long pro season.
On if he thinks his scoring could address a need in Ottawa:
I'm just going to come in here and try to do what I can to try and make the team. Obviously the coaches and management decide at the end of the day what the best fit is for the organization and myself. I'm happy with how last year went, I learned a lot and I just want to come in here and try to make it.
On if he thinks he can make it:
That's a good question for management. I'm going to do everything I can in order to make it. Whether they say, "Matt, we want you to develop a bit longer" or "You're ready" is up to them.
On if it's hard to be patient:
Yeah, it is. Everyone wants to be in the NHL as soon as you can but you look at the season and look at different player's situations, sometimes it's better to spend that year in the American League that you do in order to have a longer NHL career. Maybe some guys in the course of the years with different organizations get rushed and they play their American League time at the end of their career. Every player who plays in the NHL wants to stay in the NHL.
On his developmental focus this summer:
I think the biggest thing was leg strength. You realize how much you have to skate throughout the year and how rough it gets in the corners and how strong you have to be on the puck. That's something I really focused on this year was a lot of lower body mobility and strength. It's something I feel comfortable with now and something which, talking to Ottawa, was something I had to work on and single leg stuff. I feel good.
On his goals for the tournament:
It's a good way to start the season off. We get on the ice today and tomorrow and then head off to London to play some games which is always better than practicing. I don't really have too many goals or expectations, just work hard every day. I learned a lot last year — use that here. I've been to a couple of camps now and I remember when I was younger you look to those guys to help guys and make sure everyone's doing everything they're supposed to and making sure I'm working hard.