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Paul Relishing Full-Time NHL Opportunity

December 10, 2019 - American Hockey League (AHL) - Belleville Senators News Release

Nick Paul is confident, but he's certainly not complacent.

After all, it took the 24-year-old parts of four seasons to finally stick in the NHL. And while he was recently told to find a place in Ottawa, the loose term of saying you're staying in the NHL, Paul isn't letting his guard down whatsoever.

He's worked far too hard to lose it now.

"Getting a house definitely helps that but there are people who have got housing letters and sent back before so I can't get too comfortable and expect to be here," Paul said. "Every day is a privilege and I've got to prove myself every day to stay here."

The Mississauga native has already played in a career high 26 games this season with Ottawa, where he's netted three goals and nine points, all of which are career bests with more than 60 per cent of the regular season to play.

One of the centre pieces of Ottawa's trade of Jason Spezza to Dallas in 2013, Paul had to play 217 AHL games before sticking in the big leagues. Exactly 100 of those games came in Belleville where his 70 points are the third best in franchise history.

"I've been in a long stretch here of working hard and I finally got the call that I wanted and proved that I am an NHL player," Paul said. "It's nice that it's with Ottawa. It was a hard grind to get here and hopefully I can stay."

Through 26 games, Paul is averaging 14:41 of ice time a night on 20.7 shifts a game and it's coming in all situations. The former 2013 fourth round pick is getting time on the penalty kill, in the dying minutes of games and has been tasked with helping shut down the opponent's top line. And doing those things has rewarded Paul with more and more opportunity each night.

"I started fourth line and winning some draws and that moved me up the lineup and showed them that I'm reliable defensive player and it feels good that the coaches trust me and that I belong here," Paul said.

"All of the opportunity and chance I've been given feels really good."

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