Happy New Year for Noesen, Puempel

 

Stefan Noesen and Matt Puempel have great news to toast the New Year, following a month which started with plenty of disappointment.

Noesen and Puempel, first round draft selections by the Ottawa Senators in June, signed entry level contracts with the team on Thursday, a development which could serve as a boost after both failed to make their national junior squads for the world junior championships.

Noesen, who has 13 goals and 21 assists in 30 games with the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League and was chosen 21st overall in the draft, failed to make the cut for the United States. Puempel, taken with the Senators 24th selection, didn’t make the Canadian team, despite scoring 17 goals and 15 assists in 29 games with the OHL’s Peterborough Petes.

“I hope it is a motivating factor,” Senators assistant general manager Tim Murray said in a conference call from Edmonton, where he’s attending the world juniors.

Murray says he wants Noesen and Puempel to adopt the attitude that “I’ll show them”, trying to prove that they shouldn’t have been overlooked.

He also believes that when draft picks are signed earlier than they have to be, it sends a message that an organization has big plans for them. In return, he says players are more responsive to the demands an NHL team puts on them. “They’ve done a lot of the things we’ve asked them to do,” Murray said.

STONE, ZIBANEJAD IMPRESSIVE: Murray is also ectastic at the progress of prospect Mark Stone, who led Canada with four goals before the team met Denmark Thursday night. Murray says Stone has worked extremely hard, and the organization has also helped his progress by putting in extra time to help develop his skating, which was once considered a weakness.“It just goes to show you that if you work hard – I know it’s an old cliché – but our scouting staff has done a good job of finding late round picks.” Stone, who also leads the Western Hockey League in scoring, was originally drafted in the sixth round (178th overall) of the 2010 NHL draft.

Mika Zibanejad, who played the opening nine games of the NHL season with the Senators before being sent back to Sweden, has been one of Sweden’s top players in the early stages of the tournament. He’s showing the confidence that the Senators wanted to see from him, especially when playing against players his own age. “He looks stronger and he’s playing down in age level (from the Swedish Elite League) and he looks more confident,” said Murray. “He’s playing the game, not analyzing everything like when he was with us, where he didn’t want to make a mistake. We want him to be a power forward, be proactive, finish his checks. Mostly, it’s about his confidence level being much higher.”

PHILLIPS COULD BE BACK AGAINST CALGARY: Senators defenceman Chris Phillips, whose iron man streak of 311 games ended in Tuesday’s loss to Montreal, says he felt ‘positive’ following Thursday’s workout and believes he should be ready to play against the Flames….Jesse Winchester rode a stationary bike Thursday, a step in the right direction after suffering a concussion when hit into the glass by Paul Gaustad of the Buffalo Sabres on Dec.20…Senators coach Paul MacLean says Peter Regin is exploring where to possibly have surgery to repair his injured left shoulder. If, as expected, Regin opts to have surgery on the shoulder for a second time within a year, his season will be over.

 

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