Rookie in the Nick of time?

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:36 AM ET

Nick Foligno hasn't looked at a Senators depth chart.

He won't either.

The Senators' top prospect believes if he performs the way he's capable of playing, he has a chance at sticking in Ottawa.

While nobody is willing to hand Foligno, 19, who spent the last three seasons with the OHL's Sudbury Wolves, anything, the Senators' brass believes he has a chance to make room for himself on the roster with a strong training camp.

With Christoph Schubert expected to move back to the blueline to replace Tom Preissing, Foligno is in a group of players who will be given a long look in training camp by GM Bryan Murray, coach John Paddock and the club's scouting staff.

"He's got a chance. There's no question," said Senators assistant GM Tim Murray. "When he plays his game, which is a little less skill and a little more dump and chase and grit, I think he combines both games better than a lot of guys do.

"A lot of guys are skill. A lot of guys are gritty, run around, but he can do both. You look at the Sean Averys of the world, they're pretty valuable, and I think he could be that type of player. (Foligno) can be a pest. Last year, he was one of the top players in the (OHL), so he was more of a skilled centre, but he's got to bring both games to be a good pro and a Top 6 forward."

Foligno will have to lift his play from his performance during the club's rookie tournament at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium.

"I haven't even looked at it. I just worked out this summer. I realize that I have to give myself an opportunity," said Foligno. "Nobody has to tell me what Ottawa has in store for me. I'm going to come in here and try to make the team. I don't look too much at what they're looking at. I'm going to try to make it difficult for them to send me away. I'm going to do that from the rookie camp on."

Foligno, who had 31 goals and 57 assists last season in Sudbury, surprisingly was kept right until the end of last year's camp. He saw a lot of ice time in the pre-season and showed scouts he's got strong hockey sense. This year, he won't sneak up on anybody.

"I learned a lot last year and I tried to take that with me into junior," said Foligno. "I accomplished all I could in junior and now I'm ready to move on. I'm hoping that's either going to be in Ottawa or Binghamton, but I'm hoping it's going to be Ottawa."


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