One of these days, Shane Prince will officially sign his first professional contract with the Ottawa Senators.
Yet Prince, the Ottawa 67′s star who was drafted by the Senators in the second round (61st overall) of the 2011 NHL entry draft, certainly believes he has alreadhy graduated from junior. Prince could return as an overage player, but at this point, he’s not looking back.
“After four years in the OHL, I think I’ve kind of grown out of that league a little bit and I’m looking to move my game on to the professional level and work my way up to the NHL,” he said Saturday, during yet another long day at the Senators’ prospects camp at the Bell Sensplex.
Prince, a left winger who scored 43 goals and 47 assists in 57 regular season games with the 67′s last season and added another seven goals and nine assists during the club’s playoff run, has been among the more impressive forwards at the camp during the week. All he has to do for motivation is look around him, claiming the competition is everywhere.
“You always have to prove something,” he said. “There are always guys coming into the system, different guys each year. You’ve always got to show yourself because there are guys ready to take your spot. I’m never going to take a session off and I’ve going to do everything I can to make team (in training camp).”
The odds on Prince stepping directly into Ottawa’s lineup are slim, considering that fellow young forwards Jakob Silfverberg, Mark Stone and Mika Zibanejad, are also vying for openings and already have limited NHL experience. Mike Hoffman and Andre Petersson are also aiming to make the jump from the Senators AHL affiliate in Binghamton, N.Y. Yet if Prince doesn’t get there right away, he’s likely going to begin his pro career in his backyard. Prince grew up in Spencerport, N.Y., only a two-hour drive from Binghamton.
“I’m definitely going to strive to make the (big-league) team,” he said. “I’m not going to sell myself short, but if I do get sent down to Binghamton, I’m going to do my best to help that team win and give it everything I have to work my way up.”
MACLEAN LIKES WHAT HE SEES: Even though Senators coach Paul MacLean is not reading too much into the every day workouts — “I’m just trying to put faces to names and I’m trying not to evaluate or give them ratings” — he says the camp is an invaluable learning experience for prospects.
“They’re finding out that it’s a grind to be an NHL player and that, most importantly, is what we want them to take away from here,” he said Saturday. “They’ve all started this journey, but it’s not easy. They’ve got to work hard at this.”