Winchester hopes to have bigger role with Sens

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:39 PM ET

Even with a new two-year contract in tow, Jesse Winchester knows his roster spot with the Senators isn’t guaranteed.

After taking part in an on-ice session at the Senators’ summer hockey camp Tuesday at the Bell Sensplex, the 26-year-old centre talked about the training he’s been doing this summer and what he needs to do in camp in September.

While he has been working out and skating with friends in Long Sault this off-season, Winchester recently bought a house in Kanata and will begin skating with local pros there soon.

“I’m really just thinking about getting it going in September. I’m excited,” said Winchester. “I’ve got a pretty heavy workout routine.”

Winchester, who was signed as an undrafted free agent following a successful four-year collegiate career at Colgate University in 2008, is heading into his third full season with Ottawa. He has established himself as a presence on the fourth line, but would like to play a bigger role.

Though he missed 30 games last season due to various injuries, Winchester has shown he has the smarts to play in the NHL and contributed as a key penalty killer.

A trio of centres will push for Winchester’s job.

Zack Smith, who’s had some success in Binghamton, is expected to get a long look in camp, while the Senators re-signed veteran Cody Bass and signed former 67’s star Corey Locke as an unrestricted free agent.

Winchester knows there will be competition.

“I’m always looking to get better and improve on what I did the year before,” said Winchester, who had two goals and 11 assists last season. “I’m in good health and I’m looking forward to a strong role in the regular season.

“I just want to be effective in the role that I’m in. If the opportunity comes to move up, then I want to move up, but I know what I have to do to be an effective player and I just have to focus on those things.”

Working on a deal

D Chris Campoli’s agent, Rich Evans, confirmed Tuesday that he’s held talks with Senators GM Bryan Murray to try and get a deal done ahead of next Wednesday’s arbitration hearing. “We’re continuing to talk and we’re hopeful we’ll be able to get something done. It’s always preferable to get a deal done without going to arbitration,” said Evans. “We know one way or another, we’re going to get a deal done, it’s just a matter of whether that comes through arbitration.” Campoli, 26, made $675,000 US last season and finished with 18 points in 67 games.

bruce.garrioch@sunmedia.ca


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