Roman Wick is bigger and stronger since the last time he had a North American address, but he’s still the same kind of player.
Very skilled, that is, and as such one of the two or three rookies with even a prayer of cracking the Senators’ lineup out of training camp.
“I know I can make plays. I know I can score,” said Wick, a 24-year-old Swiss forward selected in fifth round (156th overall) by Ottawa in 2004. “I proved that the last years. So I’ll try to do the same here. It’s the reason they’ve got me here. I don’t think they want me to run around and kill guys. I’m pretty sure they know my purpose here.”
Wick, who spent three years in the WHL before going home to develop his scoring touch with Kloten in the Swiss-A loop, figured he was ready to give the NHL a shot after a shining performance in the 2010 Olympics. Among his memories was being stopped in the shootout by Martin Brodeur during a preliminary-round loss to the host country.
Not that it’s a particularly fond memory.
“Well I missed,” Wick said when asked what it was like to be in that situation. “So it was not really fun. I would have liked to win against Canada, but we didn’t, and that’s it.
“That was a sign for me, that I can keep up with the best guys,” he added of the overall Vancouver experience. “I told myself, why not try it again in Ottawa? I really liked it here before. I feel comfortable so far.”
Wick says he’s “a lot” larger since he attended the team’s rookie camp five years ago — not that he’s added to his 6-foot-1 height, but he has “more muscle” — and coach Cory Clouston has noticed.
Clouston coached against Wick in the WHL for three years, when Wick played for Red Deer and Lethbridge, and said the knock on him was his “physical play.”
Now Wick is in a battle to grab a forward spot on the Senators when one isn’t really open. He’d need to have a great camp and pre-season to warrant serious consideration, and with Ottawa tight to the cap, even that might not be enough.
“He’s no different than a lot of the other guys. He needs to make decisions very difficult for us,” said Clouston. “He needs to show us he can play.”