2014 Rookie Camp Preview: Its Like The AHL But With Better Video Quality

Two weeks from now the first glimpse of Ottawa hockey will be played in London for the annual rookie tournament. Ottawa will be defending its completely hollow but proud back to back championships.

2011's Overtime Win by Mark Stone:

Ottawa Senators Vs. Toronto Maple Leafs 2011 rookie tournament final (via Aaron L)

And 2013's 3rd Period Blowout...featuring Ben Blood actually doing something.

Game Highlights - Toronto Maple Leafs Vs Ottawa Senators. Rookie Tournament. September 8th 2013 (via Captain Canada)

The Rookie tournament does not equate immediate success at the NHL level but it does serve as a good benchmark for a players future. Players who are suppose to be a level above their peers tend to shine and skilled players should be noticed. Pageau/Prince/Stone with full AHL seasons under their belts were a cut above in 2013 and it frankly showed in Ottawa's play. In general veteran teams do well in this tournament regardless of skill with wildly different on-ice products depending on who sits on any given night.

This years team features a strong veteran core group of Prince, Puempel, Robinson and Guptill but otherwise is fielding a group with little professional experience. Having said that it features quite a few skilled rookies, most notably Curtis Lazar and Ryan Dzingel.

The defence quite frankly leaves something to be desired. It is a simple result of Ottawa's development cycle having quite a few veterans either be let go, graduate to the big leagues or already locks for the AHL roster with nothing prove in the case of Sdao and Wideman. Claeson and Harpur will anchor an extremely shallow d-core with only Leprowski and ECHL mainstay Troy Rutkowski having professional experience.

Andrew Hammond and Chris Driedger will split duties in net. Each will likely get a game each with the third game TBD.

Honestly Ottawa will be hard pressed to defend its title. It easily has the weakest defence in years and lacks the deep group of veterans it had previously upfront. Still the short length of the tournament combined with a hot goalie may have Ottawa win again.

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