The Senators netted a pair of early second round picks over the weekend at the NHL Draft in Vancouver in centre Shane Pinto and goaltender Mads Sogaard and now the 32nd and 37th overall selections respectively are getting their first look at the organization with the team's annual Development Camp getting underway at Canadian Tire Centre this morning.
"It's pretty refreshing to be honest," said Pinto about participating in his first Development Camp. "It's been so hectic the past few days with the Draft in Vancouver and all the travel so it's nice to be back at the rink and around hockey again."
Along with Pinto and Sogaard, the Sens' four other picks from the 2019 NHL Draft are in attendance this week to help round out a talented group of 44 prospects at this year's camp.
"It's been a lot of fun so far. It's a really skilled group of young players in Ottawa so it's been great to get to know the other players here," said Sogaard. "It still hasn't really sunk in yet that I was drafted into the NHL last weekend so it's kind of surreal to be here with such a good group of prospects."
Today's Development Camp kicked off with a morning full of physical testing and headshots which can be a little intimidating for younger players like Pinto and Sogaard who haven't experienced some of the off-ice portions of professional hockey yet. Thankfully, both were able to lean on Ottawa's Development staff and Strength and Conditioning coaches to help them adjust.
"It's an NHL organization and the staff that we have access to this week all live up to the expectations," Sogaard said. "I've never done testing like this before so they did a great job taking me through the process and explaining everything to me which made it a lot more enjoyable."
Day #1 wrapped with a one-hour on-ice session over at Bell Sensplex earlier this afternoon which included the annual team photo prior to some introductory skating and drills. After a morning full of new experiences, both welcomed the familiarty of getting back on the ice.
"That's what I love to do," said Pinto following Development Camp's first skate. "It was nice to get on the ice this afternoon to have a little fun and a great way to end the first day."
Both Pinto and Sogaard were also pleasantly surprised to see a good number of Sens fans attend their first on-ice session today. Each shared that they were aware of Ottawa's engaged fanbase and enjoyed experiencing it first-hand so early in the week.
"My brother is a huge Sens fan so I remember seeing how wild the fans were during the playoffs a few years ago," said Sogaard. "It was really cool to see them come out for today's skate."
"It's only my first day here and I've already noticed how much the fans support the team," added Pinto. "Coming here this week, I knew Ottawa was a great hockey market so it was nice to see them come out and watch our first skate. That's the goal, right? To play in front of these fans in Ottawa so it was cool to get a small taste of that already."
The Sens prospects are back on the ice tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. at Bell Sensplex and it will once again be open to the public as will Thursday's Development Camp scrimmage at 7 p.m. at the Kanata Recreation Centre (which will also be live streamed) and Saturday's 3-on-3 tournament at 3 p.m. back at Bell Sensplex. For more details on this week's camp, click here.