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Senators provide 'really good fit' for Latendresse

Free-agent forward inks one-year deal with Ottawa, says his health woes are in past

Sunday, 01.07.2012 / 7:01 PM / Features
By Rob Brodie  - OttawaSenators.com
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Senators provide \'really good fit\' for Latendresse
Free-agent signing Guillaume Latendresse hopes to bring some offensive punch to the Senators (Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images).

His mere presence at Scotiabank Place said plenty about the new hockey home that Guillaume Latendresse has chosen.

"This was a great fit to me," the 25-year-old native of Ste-Catherine, Que., told a group of assembled media after inking a one-year deal with the Senators earlier today. "It’s close to home and I had a few teams that I was pointing at, but I like the team in Ottawa and I want to see how it’s going to be. I hope I can have success here."

An unrestricted free agent, Latendresse made the short drive from his Montreal-area home to sign with the Senators. A former second-round pick by the Montreal Canadiens, the 6-2, 230-pound forward spent three seasons with the Habs before being dealt to the Wild on Nov. 23, 2009. He scored a career-high 27 goals that season — all but two of them coming after the trade — and believes he can bring that kind of offensive punch to Ottawa.

Latendresse is also confident he is past the injuries that limited him to 27 games over the last two seasons. He underwent hip surgery during the 2010-11 campaign, in which he saw action in just 11 games, while concussion issues cut his 2011-12 season to 16 games.

"I know what kind of player I am," said Latendresse, who will wear No. 73 ("my old midget AAA number") with the Senators. "I know what I can bring to the team and I think Ottawa was a really good fit for me. As far as my injury goes, I’m really 100 per cent now and if I can be the player I was when I first came to Minnesota, I think I can bring a lot to that team.

"I think everybody is real excited (about the signing) around here. I’m excited, I think the coaching staff and everybody is pretty happy about it and we’ll try to make the best out of it."

Senators general manager Bryan Murray believes Latendresse will be hungry to prove he can still be a significant contributor at the National Hockey League level.

"The thing I like is that (Latendresse and free-agent defence pickup Mike Lundin) have one-year contracts," said Murray. "It’s a great opportunity for them to showcase themselves and help us at the same time."

Added Latendresse: "If I look at top six, that could be good a (forward) spot for me. I think I’m an offensive guy and I can bring that, for sure."

A former hero in Montreal, he's also very much aware of the Senators' schedule already.

"Season opener at the Bell Centre?" he said with an eye toward the Oct. 11 matchup in Montreal against the Canadiens. "I looked at the calendar already. That’s going to be pretty exciting and it’s going to be pretty fun. The rivalry with those guys ... it's going to be great."

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ATLANTIC DIVISION
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
3 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
4 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
5 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
6 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
7 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
8 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Karlsson 82 20 54 -15 74
J. Spezza 75 23 43 -26 66
K. Turris 82 26 32 22 58
C. MacArthur 79 24 31 12 55
B. Ryan 70 23 25 7 48
A. Hemsky 75 13 30 -15 43
M. Michalek 82 17 22 -25 39
M. Zibanejad 69 16 17 -15 33
M. Methot 75 6 17 0 23
P. Wiercioch 53 4 19 -1 23
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Anderson 25 16 8 .911 3.00
R. Lehner 12 15 6 .913 3.06