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Rookies react to making the team out of camp

Four rookies remain with the Senators after training camp and look forward to starting the 2019-20 season in the NHL.

by Craig Medaglia @craigmedaglia / Ottawa Senators

After nearly 3 weeks of training camp and 6 exhibition games, Sens head coach D.J. Smith has named his roster to start the season and for a team that is in the midst of a youth movement, four rookies have cracked the opening night roster.

"These guys and the coaching staff have put a lot of work in over the last little bit," said Smith about his post-camp roster. "It's good to see that we're finally at the point where we're going to get a real test."

Here's a look at which rookies will start in Ottawa this year…

Erik Brannstrom

Acquired at the Trade Deadline last year from the Vegas Golden Knights, Brannstrom appeared in 2 games for the Senators in 2018-19. He followed that up with solid showings at Development Camp and the Rookie Showcase before ultimately finding some success in the pre-season paired with veteran Ron Hainsey.

 Video: Erik Brannstrom | 2019 Rookie Showcase

Brannstrom on making the final cut in Ottawa:

It's a dream. It was a long training camp so it's fun to stick here and play.

Playing alongside Hainsey so far:

He's played a lot of games and he knows what to do and what not to do. We talk a lot on the bench and he helped me in the two games that we played together. I like to play with him so it's going to be fun to see what we can do together.

His thoughts on how he performed during the pre-season:

I was just trying to play my game out there. That's why I'm here so I give the best I can every day. I don't think I played 100% (my best) in the games but I tried to keep everything simple. I'm just going to try to stick to my game.

His confidence level heading into the season:

I learned every game. Last game I think it was my best game, I had a bad turnover on the first goal but I think overall it was a pretty good game for me. I want to keep building off that.


Drake Batherson

Batherson had a massive first professional season in Belleville last year and lead the Senators' AHL affiliate in scoring with 62 points in 59 games. He made his NHL debut on November 15th, 2018 against the Detroit Red Wings where his first career NHL goal would end up being the game winner.

Video: Drake Batherson after the Sens Rooks win game 1

Batherson on receiving the news he'd made the team:

This is my third camp and the first time I've stuck with the team out of camp. Last year, I had a call-up in November so it's really exciting to still be here. That was my goal this summer so it's great to be able to say that I'm still in Ottawa to start the season.

His thoughts on his play during the pre-season:

Offensively, I didn't do as much as I wanted but I did a lot of other things right and that's what the coach has been preaching. I tried to do as much as I could out there and I think I did that. The offence will come if I'm playing the right way.

On how his NHL experience last year helped him make the team this season:

I remember last year going into my first exhibition game that I was really nervous. Getting into those NHL games last year, I wasn't too nervous this pre-season and I could just focus on working hard and doing my thing and that's what I did out there.

Enjoying the good news before the season starts:

We found out after the game on Saturday and we don't play until Wednesday so it's been nice. We had the day of yesterday to think about it but today it's back to business because we've got a big game on Wednesday.


Scott Sabourin

Sabourin has been one of the more interesting stories to follow throughout training camp where the Orleans-native successfully turned a tryout into an NHL contract with his hometown team. The coach confirmed that, after playing in the AHL since 2013, Sabourin will make his National Hockey League debut in the season opener against the Maple Leafs on Wednesday.

Video: OTT @ MTL | Scott Sabourin

Sabourin on making the NHL roster out of training camp:

It's a super exciting time and I'm happy to finally be here.

Reflecting back on his journey to the NHL:

It's been a long, hard road but I just stuck with it. Now things seem to be paying off.

Making his NHL debut on Wednesday:

It's going to be exhilarating. I'm sure that I'm going to have a lot of pent up energy that I've been holding in for the last 7 years so hopefully the legs and the head are all working together and we can go and have a good performance.

What it means to face the Maple Leafs in his first NHL game:

It's an age-old rivalry, right? I used to watch those games back in the day in the Domi/Tucker era. It might be a bit of a different game today but it'll still be fun and will still be a heated game for sure.


Filip Chlapik

Now in his third professional season, Chlapik earned his spot on the team this year after a strong showing in the pre-season where his versatility was on display, providing some offence from the Sens' fourth line. He's appeared in 25 games for the Senators over the past two season but this marks the first time that he's stuck with the NHL team out of training camp.

Video: OTT@VAN: Chlapik backhands rebound into the twine

Chlapik on what earning a roster spot means to him:

It's very exciting. I worked for this for literally the last 3 years. Every summer I work super hard to make this team and now it finally happened. I'm super excited, especially for my family who have supported the whole time so this is awesome for me and my entire family.

His thoughts on his play during the pre-season:

When you're on the fourth line, it's always nice to get on the scoreboard. Sabourin and I played all three games together and we just played simple and we were rewarded getting a couple of goals.

On receiving the good news that he made the team:

I'm going to enjoy the one day of excitement and then it's right back to working hard so I can stay here for the entire season.


Be sure to catch the rookies and the Sens when they return to Canadian Tire Centre on Saturday to kick off their season at home against the New York Rangers as well as the three others games against the Blues. Lightning and Wild as part of the Senators' Home Opening Series. Click here for details or to get your tickets.

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