BUFFALO – In an NHL that gets faster every year, Zach Senyshyn’s day is coming.
Not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But it will get here.
Both Senyshyn and Providence coach Jay Leach talked on Saturday morning about where the 21-year-old stands now, where they hope he is headed and how he can be an NHL contributor down the road. It was an interesting window into how the player and the team view his development.
There’s pressure on every first-round draft pick and Senyshyn is no different. He’s handling it the right way, though, rolling with the process and not trying to live up to someone else’s expectations or timeline.
“One thing we hear right after we get drafted from the staff is that now (draft position is) just a number. They really show that in the organization,’’ he said.
“You’re ready when you’re ready. There’s obviously pressure and I want to produce and be able to help this team win, but I try to have faith in the organization and faith in the staff, that they are going to play me when I’m ready.’’
In Providence last season, Leach used the lightning-fast Senyshyn as a bottom six winger, which the first-year pro was not accustomed to after putting up 45 and 42 goals in his final two years in the Ontario Hockey League.
“Different role than I had before, playing on the lower lines and learning how to (penalty kill) and that kind of stuff was big. I want to be an elite PKer, an elite power forward, able to use my speed and offensive abilities on that side of the puck,’’ Senyshyn said after the Bruins’ morning skate on Saturday.
Leach’s take on Senyshyn was refreshingly frank.
“We want him to have a transferable game. Let’s be honest. He’s probably not going to walk in to the second line position or the first line position for the Boston Bruins right away. He’s really not,’’ Leach said.
“So, how’s he going to get in the lineup? He’s probably going to have to be a utility guy for the start, at least. I mean, Brad Marchand did it his first year, turned out to be OK.
“We’re transitioning him, trying to complete him as a player so that when the opportunity does come in Boston, we can throw him in on the third or fourth line and he can give us energy minutes and he can be an effective killer for them. Then, if things pan out, you never know.’’
Leach noted that Senyshyn is so fast that finishing around the net can be difficult at times.
“Clearly his speed is his asset, so if he can effectively use that speed, it’s ideal. He’s always going to be an F1 on the forecheck. We’ve talked a lot with him and he’s expressed a real interest in providing a little more physicality, being an up-and-down winger, bringing that up a level,’’ he said.
“Where I think we would like to see him improve and what I think he’s working on is finishing in tight. A guy that goes that fast, it’s really hard to make a play in tight going that speed. The elite can do it, but the others that have that speed, they just don’t have that polish. That’s what we’re working on, to be able to have that puck control at a high speed, if he’s coming off the rush or a stretch play on a breakaway. He’s really got to hone in on being able to control that puck when he’s going at that exceptional speed.’’
Stay tuned as Senyshyn continues to be a work in progress in Providence.
(By the way, Senyshyn was resplendent in a blue striped suit this morning. “Had to step up my suit game,’’ he joked when complimented. “If you’re going to make it, you have to dress the part.’’)