Attn: Rob Blake
555 N Nash St
El Segundo, CA
That’s the mailing address for the Los Angeles Kings head office for those of you looking to send flowers, thank you cards, or other gifts in kind for letting Tim Stuetzle fall into the lap of the Ottawa Senators on draft night.
Now before anyone gets bent out of shape about this being some sort of hit piece on Quinton Byfield, that’s not what this is. Quinton Byfield will have a long productive NHL career and we wish him all the best. But the LA Kings made the wrong selection.
Not since Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson dubbed himself the “Most Electrifying Man in Sports Entertainment” has an athlete titillated a fanbase like what Stuetzle is doing to Sens fans right now. Senators Twitter went into hyperdrive every time Team Germany took the ice during the 2021 World Juniors. In fact, in the eyes of many Ottawa fans, Stuetzle is already rivalling Heidi Klum and Oktoberfest as the greatest things to come out of Germany in recent memory. He’s a lock to be the number one selling Sens jersey this year, and the number two selling jersey might even be his but with a custom nameplate featuring the umlaut for that authentic feel.
Diving into the numbers, Stuetzle posted 5G and 5A in 5 games on an EXTREMELY undermanned German squad this tournament. Any thought of rust following his lengthy layoff from his wrist injury were quickly put to bed in his Christmas debut against Finland.
Tim not only potted a goal and assist, but also played 26 MINUTES (a huge number for a defenceman, but an astronomical number for a forward) of high octane shifts. Per Mike Kelly (NHL Network Hockey Analyst), entering QF play Stuetzle had the following ranks amongst all skaters:
Time on Ice: 103:47 (2nd)
Points: 10 (3rd)
Offensive Zone Puck Possession: 5:00 (2nd)
Scoring Chances: 19 (5th)
Controlled Exits: 39 (1st)
Controlled Entries: 35 (2nd)
All while playing against every opponent’s top defensive unit, on a 14 player German squad. Even Larry David would have to admit that those splits are “Pretty, pretty, pretty good”. His efforts didn’t go unnoticed by the hockey brass either. After nearly upsetting the Russians to punch a ticket to the Semi Finals, Tim was named to the World Junior All-Star team, and was selected as the tournament’s best forward.
Numbers aside, Tim also passed the eyeball test as well, with scouts raving about his skating ability and nose for the net. This tournament highlighted the fact that Stuetzle was used to playing against grown men back home in Germany as he regularly got to his spots at will, and was next to impossible to knock off the puck. There were very few puck battles that Stuetzle would lose this tournament and that’s including the games against the NHL caliber prospects of Canada, Russia, and the Fins. In fact, The Hockey Writers Jeff Morris quipped that “Stuetzle was the most noticeable player on the ice every game he played”. Couple comments like that with the play of Jake Sanderson who looked every bit the part of a future top 4 defenceman for the Senators the past few weeks and you can see why there’s a sudden excitement around the club again.
Sens Nation is positively giddy with anticipation to see their prized prospect finally hit the ice at the CTC. Not since Jason Spezza has the organization had a prospect that management and fans alike were buzzing about. While some Ottawa fans may have thought that landing the 3rd overall pick was a decent consolation prize after missing out on the Lafreniere sweepstakes, once they see him in action against NHL bodies on January 15th they may begin to feel like they’ve hit the jackpot. Now the only question remains, will Stuetzle be taking a plane to Ottawa, or just donning a red cape and flying here himself?