|Mika Zibanejad, the Senators' top pick in the NHL draft in June, is among 23 players who will compete at a rookie prospects tournament with three other NHL teams this weekend in Oshawa. (REUTERS/Eric Miller)
OTTAWA - The Senators rookies are ready to hit the road.
The 23 players invited to suit up for Ottawa at this weekend’s rookie tournament at the GM Centre in Oshawa were on the ice Friday morning at the Bell Sensplex before boarding a bus for the four-hour trip to Southern Ontario.
Binghamton coach Kurt Kleinendorst will be behind the bench as Senators GM Bryan Murray and his scouting staff start to get a closer look at top prospects David Rundblad, Mika Zibanejad, Jared Cowen and Stephane Da Costa.
“It’s definitely a deal. We’re going up there and we’re going to represent the Ottawa Senators and we don’t want to go up there and lose hockey games,” said Kleinendorst Friday.
“One of the things that we want to instill is winning and that winning is a heck of a lot of fun and winning is a habit. Even though we’re talking about a rookie tournament, we’re still there organization. We’re going to get to see our young kids play. We know it’s not the Stanley Cup finals, but it’s still important to us.”
The Senators will open the tournament against the Pittsburgh Penguins prospects Saturday at 2 p.m. before facing the Chicago Blackhawks Sunday at 2 p.m. It wraps up Tuesday at 7 p.m. against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Most of the players at the rookie tournament will be invited to take part in main camp which starts Friday with medicals.