OTTAWA – Thomas Chabot knows he accomplished a lot last season, but the Ottawa Senators prospect understands he’ll need to find another level in his game to become an NHL regular this season.
Chabot scored four goals and six assists in seven games as Canada won a silver medal at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship. The Sainte-Marie, Quebec native was named the tournament’s top defenceman and MVP for his efforts.
In the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, with the Saint John Sea Dogs, Chabot scored 10 goals and 45 points while finishing 10th in the league amongst blue liners in scoring despite playing in just 34 regular season games.
The Ottawa Senators 2015 first-round pick was named the recipient of the Emile Bouchard Trophy as the QMJHL’s defenceman of the year. Chabot then added 23 points in 18 postseason games leading Saint John to the Memorial Cup. The 20-year-old was awarded the Guy Lafleur Trophy as the league’s playoff MVP.
“I did great things last year, but now I’m on the best level of hockey in the world so I’ve got to prove what I can do on that level,” Chabot said.
Chabot has come a long way from Ottawa’s 2016 development camp where he left Sens brass looking for more from the defenceman. He was sent home from that camp, a year after being drafted, and told to work on his intensity.
The six-foot-two, 188-pounder has taken the criticism and made a concerted effort to be better.
“I see it as it’s on your mindset,” said Chabot. “You get ready everyday and you know it’s going to be a tough practice so you get ready for it and that’s just how I put it in my mind all summer when I was on the ice I tried to go 100 per cent and try to go hard. I got into Ottawa and it’s been pretty good so far.”
Heading into his third training camp with the Senators, Chabot is confident he can make the transition from junior to the NHL and have an impact on Ottawa’s blue line.
Chabot played in just one regular season game last season logging a minus-2 rating in just over seven minutes of ice time in Ottawa’s 7-4 win over the Arizona Coyotes before being returned to junior.
Things were different on defence this year with veteran Marc Methot leaving and Erik Karlsson missing the start of the season.
“I just want to show them that I want to make that team,” he said. “I’m ready for the jump. They know what I can do on the ice, but they want to see if I can play really well on both ends of the ice so that’s what I’m going to focus on.”
With rookie defencemen such as Zach Werenski, Ivan Provorov and Brady Skjei having an immediate impact with their respective clubs last season, Chabot isn’t interested in just making the NHL club this season.
So far it has been an up and down for Chabot. He was sent down to the AHL’s Belleville Senators for the start of the season, had a recall after two games to play three NHL games with two assists and a plus-4 rating. He then was sent back to Belleville for four weeks before the Ottawa Senators recalled him again recently for the games against the Washington Capitals and last night against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
“Any player who gets on to a team wants to help a team win and wants to make an impact,” said Chabot. “I want to get on the team and help the team win and have a good impact on them.”