We sat down with assistant general manager Randy Lee after he returned from the World Junior Hockey Championship in Montreal to discuss his assessment of the Sens prospects at the tournament.
Click here to listen to the full interview on SoundCloud
On Thomas Chabot's play against Team USA at the World Juniors:
What I liked about Thomas' game is that he really stepped up with the intensity in high pressure games. I think USA targeted him as one of Canada's top players so they were going after him physically and he responded. I could see him away from the play laying the stick on guys, getting in people's faces and not backing down. It was one of those games where there were a lot of scrums away from the puck and he got involved in that. He played a ton in that game. His ice-time was good, he was moving his feet, he was a threat and I think you could see that when the Canadian team got momentum, he was one of the guys that helped trigger that momentum.
On Chabot logging a lot of minutes for Team Canada:
Yeah...he's responding to the ice-time. I know even in Saint John there are some games where they've played him really high minutes to see how he could handle it just as a test and he responded really well. That was with Paul Boutilier, he's the defence coach there, and he's put some good pressure situations and challenges up to Thomas. In the tournament, he's really responded to the role they've given him and it is excessive. The ice-time is excessive where sometimes the shift lengths are long and he'll even go back out on a 5-on-3 power play if they score for the second part of that 5-on-4.
On Chabot being able to control the play from the blueline:
He's got his eyes up, he knows where players are, he's really poised...sometimes he looks nonchalant but that's just a confidence in him that he's back there and he's getting pressured right near the blue line. He knows how much space he has and he can make the quick pass, he can make the quick dart and he doesn't panic in those situations.
On what he's liked about Colin White's game at the World Juniors:
He's really jacked up his edge factor. He was one of those guys that went after Thomas, he was one of those guys that was putting the stick on him and he was going after him after the whistle. On the way to the bench there were cross-checks and little slashes to the back of the legs and that's when he's at his best. When he gets under your skin and when he plays competitive. He scored a good power play goal, he's really smart around the net, really good offensive instincts but you can see that on face-off situations he competes and you can see that the guys that play with him...they play better.
On White overcoming injuries over the past few seasons:
We know this year at Boston College that he's their "go to" guy so he's getting a lot of extra attention and a lot of pressure away from the puck and he's had to deal with that but he's really stepped up his game. He's at his best when he's a hard guy to play against.
On Jonathan Dahlen's play at the World Juniors:
He's got great offensive instincts. Shean Donovan and I went over to see him in Europe and we saw him play 2 games with our Finnish scout and our Czech scout and he played well. We liked his game, offensively we really liked his game but what we questioned was how hard he came back and how hard he worked away from the puck. That was just the level he was playing too so we challenged him to be a better, more complete player away from the puck. I think he's shown that in this tournament. Around the goal he's got a good eye for the net, he can really shoot the puck, he finds that little soft area where he can get open and he makes really good dish plays around the net.
On how Filip Ahl's transition to North American has helped his game:
It's a huge transition because we saw him last year and we didn't like his game. We saw him play a Jr. game in Sweden, myself and Shean Donovan, and he didn't compete hard enough. We went after him that game and we just told him that "If you play at this level, you're not going to have a chance to get signed. You have to challenge yourself to play at a higher level and ideally if you want to take the challenge come over to North America and play in the CHL". The fact that he's in the Western Hockey League and playing for John Paddock, who's a tough demanding coach, is the best thing for him. The Western Hockey League is a hard league with the travel, the compete factor and he's responded really well. It's like night and day when you see Filip play.
On Filip Chlapik's turnaround this season:
We had two second-round picks last year with Gagne and him and we signed Gagne out of the hop because we thought that he had earned it and we told Filip that he hadn't earned it. We didn't like some of the things on his game, we challenged him to be more competitive, we challenged him to be harder away from the puck, we challenged him to go to the dirty areas, to lay his body a bit more and he's doing that. I mean, it's one of the best turnarounds that I've seen of a player in a short period of time and we rewarded him. We signed him before Christmas and he's continuing to play that way in this tournament.
On Chlapik's play at the World Juniors:
He's in your face. He's got great offensive instincts...we never questioned his offensive upside but what we wanted to see was a more complete guy and a more engaging guy who moves his feet. He's doing that now and if you saw in the game last night he was involved, he was battling guys, he was hitting guys after the whistle but all that enables him to play at this high level when he competes harder. His compete level has gone up and that's why we're really excited about this prospect.
An update on Logan Brown's injury and the impact it had of him playing at the World Juniors:
Logan was injured so we knew he'd miss a lot of games. He hadn't played in I think it was 5 weeks? We brought him here to give him every chance so he worked 1-on-1 with our conditioning coach, our therapists, he did extra on-ice work with Shean Donovan because when he's with his team they just didn't have enough resources and time to commit to him. We wanted to give him every opportunity to make the team. He just missed too many games so it's not a knock against Logan at all but that's a tough situation to be in. We think the world of Logan and we think he's going to be an outstanding player down the road but he knows he has to work and it's too bad he didn't get to showcase himself in this tournament because I think he would have done very well.