Every year young Senators hopefuls suit up for a rookie
tournament before the main camp begins. For years, the Senators have hosted the
tournament across the Ottawa River in Hull, Quebec. This year, the four team
tournament moves to Montreal, where the Senators and Canadiens prospects will
go head to head with prospects from the Toronto Maple Leafs and Florida
Panthers organization. Each team
invites 24 players: two goalies, eight defensemen and 14 forwards. Of the 24
invited players for the Senators, half of them are attending on an amateur
Jeff Glass: A third
round pick in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, Glass is a big goaltender who spent
last year with Kootenay of the WHL. The Senators scouting staff felt he was
comfortably in the second tier of goaltending prospects in the draft, and Glass
should return next year as well.
Guard: The Memorial Cup MVP got a free agent contract from Ottawa
out of the tournament last year, and will show Senators fans for the first time
what he can do in a Senators uniform. Guard will most likely split time between
the ECHL and AHL this year, but a strong tournament will help him challenge
Billy Thompson for back-up duty in the Binghamton.
Colbert: Last year’s tournament shouldn’t bring back great memories
for Colbert. The Arnprior native broke his arm early on and missed not only the
tournament but the start of his second junior season. This tournament is
important for Colbert who has to prove to the organization he should be signed
as he nears the completion of his junior career.
Riley Day: Once
considered a good prospect for the 2004 draft, Day had a poor year with
Medicine Hat of the WHL last year, and went undrafted. Big and strong, a good
rookie camp would do wonders for his status as a prospect, as would a strong
third junior campaign.
Joanisse: An Ottawa native who has played the last two years with
Drummondville of the QMJHL, Joanisse has good size for a defenseman, but is
anything but spectacular offensively. He will need a great tournament to make
an impact on Senators brass.
Komadoski: Last year Komadoski wrapped up a successful college career
with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, and finished the year in the AHL. He, along
with Meszaros and Platil, will be counted on the most in this tournament. This
coming season, Komadoski will be one of many defense prospects in Binghamton,
all fighting for top minutes.
Meszaros: One of the steals of the 2004 draft makes his debut in a
Senators uniform. A veteran of the Slovakian Elite League, Meszaros moves this
year to the WHL to play with fellow 2004 first round faller Marek Schwarz and
2005 consensus No. 2 overall pick Gilbert Brule for the powerhouse Vancouver
Mitsou: Another Ottawa area native, Mitsou was an overager for the
67’s last year and was often paired with Colbert to form the team’s top defense
pairing. Hardly a top prospect, Mitsou is expected to head off to Acadia
University unless he has a great tournament.
Nelson: The oldest player in the tournament at 25 years of age,
seven years older than some other participants, Nelson has recently graduated
from the University of Connecticut, where he put in four solid seasons. He is
another player on a tryout, and is hoping for an invitation to the Binghamton
Jan Platil: A
veteran of the rookie tournament, Platil has impressed the Senators brass in
many ways at these tournaments. Last year, his nasty, often dirty playing style
got him in some hot water. This year, Platil will log a lot of minutes, and
will try to start off his second professional campaign in style.
Bochenski: Recently signed to his first professional contract, the
North Dakota scoring sensation has some holes in his game, but he’s also a
dynamic goal scorer who could score plenty in Binghamton this season. Bochenski
is the top Senators forward prospect at this year’s tournament, and a player to
Bois: A big, physical and often hated player, Bois was signed
after a lengthy junior career with London of the OHL. Although he never
developed the offensive game that Colorado hoped he had when they used a third
round pick on him back in 2001, he still loves to crash and bang, and will for
Binghamton and in this tournament too.
Briere: The University of Ottawa sophomore is another player
attending on a tryout contract. With only 14 games played in the QMJHL, Briere
is by no means a stud prospect. But the 20-year-old had a solid first season
with the Gee Gees, and will try to turn some heads over the week.
Campbell: Campbell is yet another tryout forward, who played most of
last year with Toledo of the ECHL, but did play two games for Binghamton. At 24
years of age, Campbell has his work cut out for him before making himself a
Clarkson: A solid member of the powerful Kitchener Rangers teams of
the past couple of years, Clarkson is a big, rough and tumble prospect on a
tryout contract. Willing to drop the gloves and do whatever is asked of him,
Clarkson can return to the Rangers for an overage season, so a contract isn’t
Rob Fried: If Rob
Fried has one thing going for him, it is probably his head. The Harvard hockey
product is also blessed with plenty of size at 6’3, 210 lbs. That being said,
Fried lacks much offensive ability, so if he’s to catch the Senators eye, it
will be through his all-round game and use of his generous build. He has
already signed a contract with the ECHL Gwinnett Gladiators for the 2004-05
Johnson: A one time member of the United States World Junior squad
back in 2001, Johnson has struggled since, registering only four goals in his
next two seasons as Boston University. He did pot a goal in five games with
Binghamton last year. Undersized but with speed, the Senators drafted Johnson
in the ninth round back in 2001.
Mihaly: Everything Mihaly has achieved in hockey is because of
hard work. A big strong Romanian born winger with a choppy skating stride and
little natural skill, Mihaly was playing a regular third line shift with
Binghamton by the end of last year if only because of his work ethic. He is one
of the older players in the tournament at 24.
O’Nabigon: A teammate of Clarkson’s in Kitchener the last two years,
O’Nabigon is one player to watch. He is a tryout player, but has good size,
great speed and potted 31 goals last year in the OHL. He was an overager last
year, so he could play in the AHL if the Senators offer him a contract.
Patterson: Another OHL product who finished his overage season this
past year, Patterson isn’t quite as good or as big as O’Nabigon, but he is
still a player who has a shot at being invited to the Binghamton Senators camp
later on. Patterson is another local product, hailing from Kemptville.
Potulny: While Potulny’s upside is limited, he has the heart and
leadership qualities that every team covets in a young player. Also blessed
with great size, Potulny is a pretty good bet to play on a third or fourth line
in the NHL soon. Already 24 years old, the Minnesota grad will be one of
Ottawa’s better players in the tournament.
Tsimikalis: Considered by many to be a good bet to go on the first day
of the 2004 draft, Tsimikalis somehow did not get picked, not even in the ninth
round. A point a game player last year as a 17-year-old with the 67’s,
Tsimikalis is a kid who leads by example and scored a point a game and has a
chance to prove some scouts wrong in this tournament.
Watson: A former early second round pick by Florida, acquired in a
deal for Jani Hurme, Watson had a poor first professional year and is back for
another rookie tournament. But it was his performance in this tournament a
couple of years ago that caught the Senators’ eye, and brought him over in that
Roman Wick: Like
Tsimikalis, Wick was supposed to go on the first day of the 2004 draft,
although his stock was more in the late second round range. Surprisingly, the
Swiss forward fell to the Senators in the fifth round. Wick will play this
coming season with Red Deer of the WHL, and in this tournament, will be counted
on to be one of the Senators top offensive players.
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