By Dean Vaglia
Leader Staff Writer
When we last checked in with Oxford native and Ottawa Senators center Josh Norris, he had only just started playing in the continent’s top hockey league. Now with a full season of NHL play under his belt, Norris is getting the hang of life in the big league.
“It’s exciting that I’m going into my second year,” Norris said. “It feels a little bit longer but I enjoy it. We have a really good group here and I love the city, [there’s] a lot of young guys and it’s not too far from home. My parents will come up and drive or fly and come see me play.”
Speaking before preseason play began, Norris was optimistic about the upcoming season.
“We started off kinda poorly last year but the second half of the year we picked it up and started playing really well and won a ton of games toward the end of the season,” Norris said. “I think it’s all positive and we just want to bring that over into the start of this year and have a much better start and take it from there. We’re all really excited.”
Playing in all 56 of the Senators’ games last season, Norris scored 17 goals and 18 assists for 35 points, knocking in game winning goals against the Toronto Maple Leafs on May 12 and the Calgary Flames on April 19, both in 2020. For that, Norris was named as one of the season’s top rookies with a spot on the NHL’s All-Rookie Team.
“It’s a huge honor,” Norris said. “There were a lot of really good young players last season, including my teammate Tim Stützle. I think I had a good year, not a great year, and I think I learned a lot as the year went on and had a really good second half.”
Signing with the Senators in 2019 after being drafted by and traded from the San Jose Sharks, Norris is entering the final year of his three-year entry-level contract with the Ottawa club. However, Norris says his future is with the Senators.
“I have to stay with Ottawa,” Norris said. “I’m just gonna play this year out and see how this year goes and let my play do the talking and then we’ll probably just negotiate at the end of the year.”
Norris and the Senators kick off the regular season on Oct. 14 against the Maple Leafs. The ‘Sens have gone 2-3 in the preseason, recently losing to the Maple Leafs 3-1. They are scheduled to play the Red Wings in April 2022, coming to town on the 1st and 12th.
By Dean Vaglia