For the second straight year, the Ottawa Senators have won their annual rookie tournament and continue to show fans just how bright the future is for this hockey team.
With a dramatic overtime win last night over the rival Leafs, the Sens finished this year's tournament with a 3-0 record, while showing a significant skill advantage over their opponents in each game.
For fans, there were plenty of positives to take away from this tournament. Obviously it's a relatively small sample size but here is who I was most impressed with in this tournament.
- Shane Prince- Other forwards may have received more attention over the course of the tournament but I was really impressed by the skill level of Prince. He hit the post a few times in the second game and was a key piece on a line with Zibanejad and Petersson. Prince is likely headed back to the 67's for another season but he is definitely a player to keep an eye on this year.
- Jared Cowen- A dominating physical presence, Cowen looked like a man against boys in this tournament. What really impressed me about Cowen was the noticeable improvement in his puck handling skills. Looks like a more poised player this season and seems like a near-lock to start the season with the big club.
- David Rundblad- So much of what I knew about Rundblad was based on a single Youtube video so it was nice to finally see him in action, and on North American ice. Rundblad has tremendous skill (Incredible spin move in the final game!) and actually showed a physical side to his game against the Leafs. Will be really interesting to see how he does in preseason.
- Stephane Da Costa- Four goals in three games and a constant threat on offense. Always looked really calm when handling the puck and surprised me with an NHL-calibre shot. He really looks like he is going to give Regin a run for his money in the main camp.
- Mika Zibanejad- Coming into the tournament he was the guy I was most looking forward to watching and he did not disappoint. Zibanejad is an explosive skater with great balance and a wicked shot. I knew Zibanejad was going to be a good one but I was blown away by his intelligence on the ice. Should be really interesting to see how he matches up against NHL players in the regular camp.
HONOURABLE MENTION- Mark Borowiecki, Andre Petersson
With the rookie camp in the books, the focus now shifts to the start of training camp later this week. From there, things start moving fairly quickly as the Sens will play their first preseason game against the Leafs on Monday night.
Hockey is back!