Three of the headliners in the NHL Entry Draft class of 2011 worked out for the Senators on Monday, and for one, in particular, the stage was much appreciated.
"It fun to have this kind of attention, you don't have it back home. I'll try to enjoy it as much as possible. I hope I get used to this," said Mika Zibanejad, the second-rated European skater according to Central Scouting.
Joining the budding Swedish star were centres Sean Couturier and Ryan Strome.
"It felt good. It's been my first time (skating) since I'm done playing," said Couturier, ranked sixth among North American skaters after scoring 36 goals and 60 assists with Drummondville of the QMJHL last season. "I'm happy to be out there and just enjoying the time with the Ottawa Senators."
For Strome, the eighth ranked player among North American skaters, he could feel the eyes on him during the workout but enjoyed the workout.
"A little bit rusty there, haven't been on the ice in a while, but it's exciting, and obviously, the general manger's watching with a bunch of scouts so it's a little nerve wracking," said Strome, who put up 33 goals and 73 assists with the Niagara Ice Dogs. "But it's exciting and it's a fun experience."
While all players know the workout counts for something, they understand the Senators brought in the players for more than showcasing their skills.
"They've seen us all play this winter. And game situations are a lot different than here. They're just getting to know us more personally and maybe it could make a difference," Couturier said.
"I think it's very important they get a feel of you, and who you are. But more importantly, they get to know you off the ice just as well as on the ice," Strome added. "They want to draft a good person, not just a good player, so it's very important."
The Senators hold the sixth pick in the upcoming draft, which airs live on TSN, June 24 in Minnesota.