It all came down to loyalty for Miles Gendron.
A 2014 draft pick by Ottawa (70th overall), Gendron only put pen to paper with the organization on March 13 of this year after signing an AHL deal with the Belleville Senators for 2019-20.
He felt it was the least he could do for the organization.
“Ottawa’s been really loyal to me since I was drafted,” Gendron said. “Obviously, I had some down years and they stuck with me, they were always providing me resources and allowed me to get better.
“I feel really comfortable in this organization so it just felt like the right move for me to sign.”
A BCHL champion with the Penticton Vees in 2013-14, the 23-year-old blueliner opted for the college route, heading to the University of Connecticut for four years where he played 126 games and tallied 33 points (10 goals). He captained the team in 2018-19.
He got a quick taste of professional hockey at the conclusion of the Huskies’ season, playing four games with the ECHL’s Brampton Beast where he registered an assist.
Gendron believes that brief experience helped him see the pro game as he gets ready for a full year in 2019-20.
“It’s way different than college,” Gendron said. “It’s a little more methodical. You’ve got to be a lot smarter and you have to think a lot more. I want to be a guy that’s relied on defensively so I think I’ve just got to be a little more relaxed and play my game.”
“It will be a learning experience but for now I feel ready.”
The Shrewsbury, MA., native has been spending the offseason in his home state training alongside fellow Massachusetts natives including current Senator Colin White and former Sens forward Brian Gibbons, among others.
He’s also hoping the change to his style of play will aid him in the professional ranks.
“I think I’m a really good skater and I’ve tried to switch my style from more of an offensive defenceman to a more defensive guy. This last year I was matching a lot of top lines so just playing really good defence is what I want to be known for.”
Gendron recently just completed his sixth Senators Development Camp and while he’s the veteran at camp, he doesn’t take the experience for granted.
“It’s always exciting to come to Ottawa. It’s always a treat especially when you’re away from the organization playing for someone else.
“It’s good to get in and meet some people and feel a part of the organization.”