Sean Josling wants to take on a bigger leadership role this season with the Sarnia Sting.
He could start by sharing his inspirational story with his younger teammates.
After making the Sting last year as an undrafted free agent, the 18-year-old right-winger parlayed his solid rookie season into an invitation to the Detroit Red Wings' development camp in July.
“The development camp went good,” he said. “I think I did well there. It was a lot of fun. Great experience and I'm excited to go back.”
Josling will play again for the Red Wings at the NHL Prospect Tournament from Sept. 8-12 in Traverse City, Mich. His teammates there will include former Sting goalie and Brigden native Kaden Fulcher of the Hamilton Bulldogs.
Both are free agents. Of course, going undrafted didn't keep Josling from the Ontario Hockey League and it won't deter him from pursuing his NHL dreams.
“Not being drafted kind of put some fire under my butt, and (so I) get mad and work,” he said. “Just show them that it doesn't really matter than I'm not drafted. Just keep working and you can get there.”
The Toronto native arrived at the Sting's training camp last year after an impressive midget season with the North York Rangers in 2015-16. He was the second-leading scorer in the regular season for the Canadian champions.
He played well at the Sting's orientation camp in the spring and earned a roster spot at the main camp.
The five-foot-11, 166-pound Josling finished his rookie season with 11 goals and 10 assists in 60 games.
“It went well,” he said. “Point-wise, not as many points as I wanted, but I thought it went pretty well.”
His energy line with Franco Sproviero and Jaden Lindo was the Sting's best for a good portion of season. They not only forechecked well but also contributed on offence.
Josling's play caught the attention of NHL scouts. He was 203rd among North American skaters in NHL Central Scouting's final rankings for the 2017 draft.
“(I have) a lot more confidence coming in to this year,” he said. “Got comfy with the league. I think it's going to be another good year.”
The Red Wings praised his work ethic, said Josling, who'll keep that as the backbone of his game.
“I'm trying to have a bigger role on this team this year and kind of set an example for the younger guys,” he said. “I definitely want to be a bigger part of this team this year than I was last year.”
He'd like his production to be bigger as well.
“I have a goal of what I want at the end of the season, so we'll see how it goes,” he said.
Asked to elaborate on that goal, he declined with a smile. But he doesn't mind sharing his team goal: playoff success.
“We want to be going into the playoffs with a lot of confidence and make it past that first round and just keep rolling,” he said.
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