LONDON, ONT. -- Curtis Lazar and Fredrik Claesson were among the standout performers for the Ottawa Senators at the Maple Leafs Rookie Tournament. Lazar showed off his versatility and complete game while Claesson picked up where he left off following a breakthrough second season in `13-14. Ottawa appears to have some depth up front as well with the likes of Matt Puempel, Nick Paul, and Buddy Robinson all leaving solid impressions at the tournament.
Curtis Lazar (C/RW) -- Played both the centre position and wing during camp .. demonstrated a staunch two-way game often retreating to support the back check .. a conscientious player whose attention to detail can be over-looked at times, however he constantly finds himself in good positions to break up a play .. effective in creating some offensive chances despite his hands not being the best with respect to stickhandling .. routinely records more goals than assists each season - yet displayed more of a passer's mindset in this setting as he showed an ability to indentify playmaking options quickly - and while jumping into open ice .. does a good job working the half boards on the power play .. his skating is balanced which allows him to effectively absorb hits and also to protect the puck down low in order to buy himself time and space .. this performance didn't really shed light on what his offensive ceiling might be however .. his ability to play both sides of the puck will be his calling card to the NHL and he shows enough hand skills to be a consistent 20-goal scorer.
Matt Puempel (LW) -- Second-year pro scored at will and demonstrated his talents as a sniper who doesn't need multiple chances to get on the scoresheet .. boasts a hair-trigger shooting release and a flair for pouncing on rebounds .. displays an uncanny knack for separating himself from coverage to find an open shooting lane, weaving in and out of the slot to constantly be in a position to shoot .. his skating looks to have been cleaned up, albeit he still has a slight knock knee and funny stride in which his ankles push out sideways .. it does not impair his overall speed however as he shows adequate agility to side-step checkers .. defensively he can get easily confused and find himself on the wrong side of the puck by virtue of taking poor checking angles .. a goal scorer at every previous level - with all the ingredients to be a top six, power-play threat for the Senators down the road.
Nick Paul (C/LW) -- Shuffled around and given a chance to centre a line with all of the Senators top talents including Curtis Lazar, Matt Puempel, and Alex Guptill .. extremely versatile as he can adapt to any situation while making subtle contributions .. not a flashy type yet always manages to stay involved by getting his big body in the way and by effectively shielding pucks down low in the offensive end .. possesses a good physical foundation .. displays a soft touch with the puck and can make a series of passes that spring others into better positions .. brings a steady compete level and tenacity .. sticks with plays and shows a strong appetite for the puck .. a self-driven type who strives to be a difference maker with his work level .. his skating is plausible at the next level - as he swallows up ice with long strides and is more than capable of keeping up .. adds poise and an even-keel disposition - can read and evaluate plays and complements others with his hockey sense.
Buddy Robinson (RW) -- The tallest forward for the Senators standing a whopping 6-foot-5 in height .. impressive skater for his size as he can motor up and down the ice with ease as well as cut, pivot and turn without losing any momentum or speed .. plays a physical, rough-and-tumble game, actively finishing his checks and isn't afraid to stand up for teammates .. his hands are merely adequate however .. struggles at times to locate a play and demonstrates rather limited stickhandling abilities .. does an admirable job of crashing the net and using his size to cause a disturbance - and will surprise with the odd bout of creativity .. comes back with diligence and plays a strong defensive game, taking away passing lanes and clogging up the zone with his size .. displays the potential to be a fourth-line depth player due to his size and ability to buy in.
Fredrik Claesson (D) -- Named team captain, Claesson played in every situation .. looked nervous to start the rookie tournament but settled in nicely and got better and better with each passing game .. a smart and calm blueliner who plays a very subtle game - steadily contributing his decent skills to make plays .. shows the ability to problem-solve on the fly - as he was guilty of throwing the puck away but quick to make adjustments in recovering .. keeps his head up at all times when making a first pass .. gets a lot of touches on the puck as he is always in the general vicinity due to sound positioning on the ice .. still needs to clamp down defensively however as he allowed too many skaters to blow by him .. injecting a larger physical presence would benefit his game - as would making quicker and earlier adjustments .. received a trial experimenting on the power play - and showed off a decent shot although it is his ability to distribute from the backend that made him more effective .. possesses a good set of tools - and just needs more time to get further acclimatized to the North American game.