Tim Stuetzle, the No. 3 pick of the 2020 NHL Draft, hopes to be able to join the Ottawa Senators after playing for Germany at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship in Edmonton.
“That’s my goal, to play there [this] season,” Stuetzle told the Ottawa Sun on Thursday. “I’m hoping it works out like that. I’m expecting to be ready for the World Juniors with Team Germany and after that we’ll see what’s going to happen.
“My goal is to play in Ottawa [this] season and get there as soon as possible. Nobody knows when the NHL is going to start yet. Hopefully everything works out the way I want it to.”
The NHL is targeting Jan. 1, 2021 for the start of the season.
The forward has been skating and shooting in recovery from Oct. 15 surgery for a hand injury sustained while training with Mannheim in Deutsche Eishockey Liga, Germany’s top professional league.
He expects to take part in most drills at Germany’s WJC training camp, which starts in Fussen, Germany, on Sunday, and be a full participant when the tournament begins.
The WJC is scheduled to be held Dec. 25-Jan. 5 at Rogers Place in Edmonton, with no fans in the building and in a secure zone similar to what the NHL used for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Stuetzle expects to be able to take part in all of Germany’s WJC camp. Teams are set to arrive Dec. 13.
“I’m not 100 percent yet,” Stuetzle said. “We’ll see what happens and I hope I can be with the guys on the ice for all the drills, but I don’t want to risk anything by doing anything too early. I need to be smart in those situations. We have great physio people in Mannheim and they’ll tell me when I’m back 100 percent [and] can do all the drills. … My goal is to play as soon as possible and do all the drills.”
Stuetzle had five points, all assists, for Germany at the 2020 WJC in the Czech Republic.
“We have great character on our team,” Stuetzle said. “We’re all looking forward to seeing each other again and we always have fun with the national team. It’s going to be a little different under different circumstances, but in the end we’re just looking forward to getting to Canada and playing the tournament. We have a good group.”
For Stuetzle to be able to sign his entry-level contract and join the Senators, he would need to be released from the final two seasons of a three-year contract he signed with Mannheim on June 26, 2019. Mannheim general manager Jan-Axel Alavaara told the newspaper he wants to wait for clarity on when NHL training camps could start before any decision is made.
The DEL announced in November that it was targeting Dec. 17 to start its season.