Selected in the sixth round of the draft 2018, the guardian Kevin Mandolese knew last summer that the season 2019-2020 was going to have a huge impact on his professional career and he had to be dominant to attract the attention of the Ottawa Senators.
Nearly 12 months later, the Blainvillois has been named goalkeeper of the year in the League the Quebec major junior hockey and he has a contract input three-year deal with the club in ontario in the pocket. Nothing really surprising since it has maintained a record of 26-8-1 with the Eagles of Cape-Breton, an average goals allowed of 2.33 and an efficiency rate of ,925.
“It was my last year and I still had things to prove, has conceded Mandolese in an interview recently. I knew that this season was crucial. As we say in English, it was a do or die. I think that the campaign has been important in the decision [of the Senators].”
The hardness of the mind
By his own admission, Mandolese had to work on his mental approach during the last campaign. To help him in his journey, he turned to a sports psychologist and the athlete of 20 years do not regret in any way his decision.
“There was a click, mental. I started working with a sports psychologist and honestly, I would not have been able to make better decision, he said. It has really helped me to be more constant throughout the season. It really helped me to always get out my best performance night after night.”
With the Senators, Mandolese will join a young group and an organization that has embarked on a total reconstruction in recent years. Having shared the ice with many hopes at the camps of the club over the past two years, the guardian said that he was optimistic for the Senators.
And, since the Senators could have in hand, in the event a “small miracle”, the first two selections in the next auction, things will only improve. The Quebecers Alexis Lafrenière, tipped to be the first choice, and could even end up with the team.
Mandolese, which has seen Lafrenière evolve closely, believes that the latter will have an immediate impact with the club of the national hockey League (NHL) who the repêchera.
“This is the kind of player that you see very rarely. You don’t see this every year. I am convinced that he can help an NHL team right from the start. You see how he makes the players around him better. I have no doubt about it”, he advanced.
In front of the net
On the side of the guardians, Mandolese will have a hard time to sneak up to the cage of the Senators at the Centre Canadian Tire. In fact, Marcus Hogberg, Anders Nilsson and Filip Gustavsson have agreements valid for the next season, and then Joey Daccord should find a new contract. Craig Anderson could also decide to prolong his career.
But Mandolese do not want to skip steps and it will play where we will need him over the next season.
“We never finish to his evidence, he said. I see myself start at the bottom of the ladder and attempt to take the border and the experience in trying to climb the ranks as quickly as possible, but without missing steps no more. I will have to work for my time-of-use and the reminders.”