Upon being drafted third overall October 6, Tim Stuetzle said, “I can’t wait to meet everybody and play for the Capital of Canada.”
Stuetzle is one step closer to meeting his new Ottawa brethren after signing an entry-level contract with the Senators Sunday afternoon.
General Manager Pierre Dorion was able to negotiate Stuetzle’s release from Adler Mannheim sooner than originally planned. The GM mentioned in a radio interview on December 18, the club wanted the Viersen, Germany native to keep his focus on the World Junior tournament.
With a contract obviously on the horizon, Senators’ head coach D.J. Smith expressed his plan concerning Stuetzle’s usage this past Tuesday on TSN1200.
“Part of development is seeing what the league is like, and giving a young guy a little bit more to handle every time. So we’ll see how he responds when he gets in there. And what he looks like in practice, defensively, and all his strengths to go with it. I’m sure at some point we’ll have him at centre this year to see how he feels. But without having a look at him in the NHL on an everyday basis, it’s hard to say. But certainly, he’s going to start on the wing here for sure.”
“The expectation is we like to play him. We want him to be important by the end of the year. You’re not going to give anyone anything. That’s not the way the NHL works, but in saying that, there’s a reason you were drafted third overall. You have a skillset that’s a franchise-changer. My job is to get the best of him. I’ll start him a little slow and eventually give him a little more. But by the end of the year, we want this kid to be in some pressure situations so that next year, this is a kid that can really get up and going. You never know, some guys come in their first year and they’re unbelievable. Some guys take a year or two to get going. We’re not sure when that will be, but we know have a heck of a player.”
In a team release, Dorion expressed, “Tim possesses an exceptional blend of both speed and skill and a playmaking ability that our fans are going to enjoy watching for several years to come. He’s a dynamic forward who we expect to become a key piece of our roster as we continue trending towards icing an eventual elite-level team.”
Stuetzle’s signing is a sigh of relief for Senators’ fans who were finally able to get a glimpse of Germany’s U20 captain in game action.
The six-foot, 187-pound, left wing dazzled in his club’s Christmas Day 5-3 loss to Finland. In his first game since having hand surgery October 15, Stuetzle notched one goal, one assist in a game, while receiving a whopping 26 minutes of ice-time for a COVID-depleted German lineup.
Germany is trailing Finland 5-2 as the third period gets underway. Tim Stützle already has one goal, can he help Germany get back in the game? pic.twitter.com/u8LB3waAL9
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) December 26, 2020
Despite suffering a 16-2 drubbing the next night versus Canada, Stuetzle displayed his leadership qualities by showing a physical side to his game – coming to the aid teammates in scrums, while throwing a few heavy hits himself – including this one on an unsuspecting Bowen Byram.
Stueztle tosses Byram into Canada's bench. https://t.co/cefAkwezwi
— Full Press NHL (@FullPressNHL) December 27, 2020
“First and foremost, I have to thank my family and all my fellow players and coaches. I was able to learn a lot from all my situations and take away a lot, regardless of whether it was on or off the ice,” Stuetzle stated in an Adler Mannheim translated team release.
“With the Eagles I got a lot of ice time last season and thus had the chance to show myself. I will miss the entire club very much, but it is time to close the chapter. With the signing of the contract, I’m able to take the next important step, which also makes me very proud. Nevertheless, I am aware of how far the path to the NHL is.”
That path starts for real, January 15 at home versus the Toronto Maple Leafs, on Tim Stuetzle’s 19th birthday.