Profile: Matt Puempel

Matt Puempel doesn’t hesitate when asked about his passion.

BY KEN WARREN

ST. PAUL, Minnesota — Matt Puempel doesn’t hesitate when asked about his passion.

“I love to score goals,” he said late Friday after the Senators traded away two second-round picks to the Detroit Red Wings in order to acquire him 24th overall.

It was the Senators third of three first-round selections.

“It’s my favourite thing I like to do in life. I want to round out my game to be more aware defensively, but I like to score.”

Senators general manager Bryan Murray called him a “goal-scoring machine”.

In his rookie OHL season with the Peterborough Petes in 2009-10, he scored 33 goals and 31 assists in 59 games. Last season, he netted 34 goals and 35 assists in 55 games, but his season was cut short due to a hip injury.

The Senators insist they’re not concerned about the hip injury being a problem and they quietly brought him into Ottawa earlier this month to run him through a series of tests to make sure.

While Puempel was naturally excited to be chosen in the first round, he says it’s a bigger thrill that the Senators traded up to acquire him.

“It’s something when an NHL team wants you, but when they trade to get you, it’s something else,” said the talkative Puempel.

It’s unlikely Puempel will crack the Senators lineup next season. If he does he return to Peterborough, he’s hoping to raise his game another level on an improved team. The Petes struggled badly last season.

“I’m so hyped up and so energetic right now that it’s hard to think about (negatives),” he said. “But yes, it was a bit of a struggle last year.”

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