Sens Assistant GM Randy Lee met with the media on Thursday to talk about the team's upcoming development camp, the Binghamton Senators and the development of notable prospects.
Here's what he had to say...
On who fans can expect at development camp:
Curtis Lazar, Mark Stone, Cody Ceci, Andrew Hammond, some young guys that we've signed this year — Max McCormick, Ryan Dzingel, Garrett Thompson. It's going to be a really good group.
On Stone getting a full development camp:
Last year he was hurt and he couldn't participate in the camp so he lost that and it cut into his training. He knows this is a huge summer for him this year because there's an opportunity to make our team. He wants to do the best he can to make our team.
On what they want from Lazar at camp:
Don't think too far ahead, we just want him to be the best player he can be and fight for that spot. He's coming in to earn a spot and he thinks he can do it. That's the mindset we want, we want guys coming in here thinking they can make our team.
On the excitement to see Lazar with the Sens:
I'm very excited because I saw him a lot, I've interacted with this player on a weekly basis, he's a great young man. There's also a lot of other people out there. There's Mike Hoffman on the cusp, there's Shane Prince who wants to do it, Matt Puempel wants to do it, Mark Stone wants to do it. Organizationally it's great for us because we've got lots of depth and competition.
On Da Costa:
I think I can understand the player because he did go through waivers. We thought when he had such a great training camp that he wouldn't clear waivers at the beginning of the year but teams have their 23 men and they're usually full coming out of camp so I think that hurt him. He had to make a determination of, "Am I going to make it or not?" We think he's very close to being an NHL player but he needed a team to step up and take a one-way deal. That didn't happen so he took his other option.
On players in Binghamton who opened eyes during their playoffs:
I thought a lot of young guys had good playoffs. Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Mark Stone, Mark Borowiecki all had really good playoffs. Some veteran defencemen we brought in did a really good job in Patrick Mullen and Alex Grant. Andrew Hammond established himself as a number one AHL goaltender. He did a really good job. You saw when he came up here he played some games and he took his game to the next level.
On changes to development camp from years past:
We've got a lot of new things, we're taking it to the next level. At the end of each development camp we poll our players and ask what do you need? What do you want to see better? What improvements do you need? We want to give them opportunities they can't get in their home training and I think we've done a really good job of that. There are some interesting things we've got coming this year.
On if he thinks this will be the development camp to-date:
I challenged my staff the other day. We do a really good job with this camp but it's like a golfer when you're shooting 68, it's hard to get better. We have to push ourselves to be better every year and I think they're doing that. They had some really neat ideas.
On Lazar's future positionally:
I think for us the best fit is a winger because he's so competitive. If you watch this player he plays the game right. It's very simple to say but he plays the game right and he's mature beyond his years. He's going to be a really interesting guy for us in camp. You're going to see him in development camp, you're going to see him in the rookie tournament and then he'll come to main camp and then the chips will fall.
On how players coming into development camp handle the pressure:
I think what happens is they get motivated because they see the talent. They know that if they take the foot off the gas other guys are going to take their jobs. That's the motivation they have because we have a lot of talent, especially up front.
On the effect of media pressure after good seasons for prospects:
Pressure is good. Bryan challenged us to get guys who can play and elevate their game in the playoffs. If they can't handle pressure we want to know that. We saw the way Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Mark Stone and these guys played in the playoffs in Binghamton. They elevated their game.
You can see Randy Lee's full availability here courtesy of Sens TV.
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