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Top NHL prospect joins the Belleville Senators ahead of their first-ever regular season game

Thomas Chabot was all smiles at his first B-Sens practice on Tuesday. Photo by Bradley Bennet, QNet News

By Daniel Taylor [1]

BELLEVILLE – Ottawa Senators [2] top prospect Thomas Chabot [3] made his first appearance in a Belleville Senators jersey at practice Tuesday.

Chabot was among the final cuts made from the Ottawa Senators’ main camp last weekend. He’s expected to start the season on the B-Sens top defensive pairing on Friday when the team opens its season in Laval.

The native of Ste-Marie-de-Beauce, Que., says he’s embracing his new surroundings and is excited to get started.

“Well, it’s good obviously. It’s a new place, a new start for me. It’s my first year being a pro. Obviously the first practice you just try to get right into it and get to know a bit more of the guys. I know most of them from (NHL) camp, but obviously I think it was a good first day,” said Chabot.

The 20-year-old has built up quite the resumé to this point. Last year Chabot was named the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s [4]defenceman of the year as well as earning most valuable player honours and a silver medal at the World Junior Hockey Championships in January. He played one game with the Ottawa Senators in the 2016-17 season.

Chabot describes himself as a two-way, puck-moving defender who likes to jump up into the rush. But despite his offensive abilities, he says, he recognizes there are defensive areas of his game that need improvement if he wants to find his way back into the NHL this season.

“Obviously I’ve got to work on small details in my own zone. That’s the first thing I did here – I went to see coach Kurt (Kleinendorst) and coach Paul (Boutilier) just to make sure that we were on the same page, because I wanted to work on a few things.

“That’s what we’re going to be focusing on here. And obviously I learned a lot of good things again this year at (NHL) camp. You always learn.”

The young phenom has made it clear that his goal is to eventually play again with the Ottawa Senators at some point this year. But he acknowledges that playing for the Belleville Senators will be a unique opportunity.

“I think it will be a lot of fun. I heard some things that the fans are pretty excited for the upcoming team. So when we play our first game here in Belleville it should be an exciting moment.”