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Players to Watch: Development Camp Invites

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Can any of the development camp invites ink a contract with the Senators?

Moose Jaw Warriors v Calgary Hitmen
Could Matteo Gennaro be a diamond in the rough at the Sens’ development camp?
Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images

Every year at the Ottawa Senators’ annual development camp, a handful of players are invited to fill out the rest of the roster. Although they aren’t playing on any tryout agreement, it’s a good opportunity for players who’ve been passed over by other teams to make a good impression and potentially ink an AHL or even NHL contract.

Usually, though, these invites don’t end up amounting to much. Last year, none of the invites ended up playing with even the Sens’ AHL affiliate, however this year is a bit different. Dorion and Co. seem to have rounded up a handful of decent players who may have a shot at making the Sens’ AHL roster next year (one that will need heavy revamping, might I add). It’s a very minute topic considering all the other moves that are going on, although I think it’s still worth looking at a few of this year’s highlights.

First, this is the full list of 2017 Senators Dev. Camp invites:

Forwards: Matteo Gennaro, Jake Gaudet, Parker Kelly, Cole Maier, Nick Master, Carl Persson, Jack Rodewald, Jordan Topping

Defencemen: Charles-David Beaudoin, T.J. Melancon, Jordan Murray, Brayden Pachal, Andrew Peski

Goalie: Hayden Lavigne

Here are my five favourites who could potentially make an impact...

Matteo Gennaro, Calgary Hitmen: C/LW

Originally drafted 203rd overall in 2015 by the Winnipeg Jets, Gennaro re-entered the 2017 draft after not attaining a contract. The draft concluded without Gennaro being taken, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s not a valuable player. In his 19-year-old season (he turned 20 in March), Gennaro lit up the WHL by scoring 43 goals (6th league-wide) and 80 points in 69 games. He far and away led his team in scoring with his wicked shot, and he’s not undersized either standing at 6’2”. Look for him to draw some attention.

TJ Melancon, Blainville-Boisbriand Armada: RD

Although he’s known more as an offensive contributor (19 goals and 44 points in 67 games), Melancon improved defensively this year as well. He’s a smooth skating two-way player, although his knack for scoring goals could make him an intriguing option as a defenceman. He’ll be turning 21 in September, so he may be a bit too far along in his development for consideration.

Carl Persson, BIK Karlskoga: C/LW/RW

Foreign players aren’t brought into development camps nearly as often as the locals, although Carl Persson will be coming from Sweden to try and get his big chance. As a 21-year-old in Allsvenskan, a professional league, he finished second in goals with 26, and tied for sixth in points with 44 (tied with Jonathan Dahlen, amongst others). It’s worth noting that he was being played with high quality teammates, although that shouldn’t diminish his fantastic release mixed with his two-way style of play. He might just be worth taking a chance on.

Jack Rodewald, Binghamton Senators: RW

If you were following the Binghamton Senators last year, you probably remember Jack Rodewald as one of the few bright spots in what was a mostly painful season. He was brought into the ECHL on a tryout, moved up to the AHL, and ended up signing an AHL contract with the B-Sens while potting 18 goals in 66 games. His production significantly trailed off at the end of the season, but there were definitely times where he looked like a pure finisher. His physical 6’2” frame plus his scoring ability has earned him another chance.

Jordan Topping, Tri-City Americans: LW

To top things off (pun intended), we end with Jordan Topping, a 6’1” 19-year-old forward who’s been scoring at a torrid pace in the WHL. He works well along the boards, has been wearing the ‘A’ for the past two seasons, and then quietly finished with a 1.23 points per game. He missed the beginning of the season with a high ankle sprain, although he came back to score 21 goals in his first 33 games. The combination of him and Michael Rasmussen made for a deadly scoring duo for Tri-City, and now’s his time to make some noise at the development camp.