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Daoust excited by return at Prospects Challenge

September 19, 2023

After spending nearly an entire season out of the lineup, Philippe Daoust understands the importance of playing competitively at the Prospects Challenge more than most.

Now recovered from shoulder surgery, the playmaking centreman marked his return to action this past weekend at the LECOM Harborcenter in Buffalo, New York. Once again, skating strong, he managed two assists in three games throughout the event, but more importantly, he felt back to full strength. 

“The shoulder feels really good. It’s been a long time coming,” Daoust said with a smile. “Honestly, just playing a game makes me happy, just talking about it. I’m glad to be back and playing the game again.”

Although he only made nine appearances last season, Daoust showcased his offensive acumen, recording seven points (two goals, five assists) in limited action — providing a glimpse into his bright future with the organization. 

Since the Senators selected him in the sixth round of the 2020 NHL Draft, he often revealed his excellent promise in Major Junior, concluding his career in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with a Memorial Cup title in a starring role with the Saint John Sea Dogs. 

Daoust is now excited to return to form and help make a difference after his strong showing at the Prospects Challenge.

“These kinds of games are always competitive,” he said. “Everyone is trying to make a name for themselves. The same thing with me. I’m trying to prove to myself that I’m good to go and be ready for main camp.” 

“Rookie camp is a grind; it’s no days off, a long bus trip, and long practices, but I think you have to enjoy it. It’s so much development the coaches are trying to help you in every little way. That is what [Head coach] David Bell is really good at is talking to the players and trying to make them better every day.

The determination and work ethic Daoust has put forth through his rehabilitation process should also pay dividends this season.

With his raw skill, commitment to continuous improvement and a strong team around him, he hopes his hard work will translate into a successful season.

“I’m just excited to play with all those guys again,” Daoust said. “I really enjoyed those nine games I played last year. I thought we were clicking. I thought we had a good team, and this year coming, we have an even better team. Honestly, I think we can make a playoff push and go deep. Hopefully, I can make an impact and help the team.”

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