Folks in Dallas love Steve Ott. The feeling is mutual. The feisty forward grew as a hockey player and person while wearing a star on his chest.
“I’ve kind of turned into a man there in my time,” Ott said tonight. “To say that it was a big part of my life would be an understatement.”
As much as Ott appreciates Dallas, the feeling is overshadowed by his excitement of coming to Buffalo.
The Sabres acquired Ott today as part of an early summer blockbuster, picking up the 29-year-old spark plug plus defenseman Adam Pardy from Dallas. In exchange, the Sabres sent former perennial scoring leader Derek Roy to the Stars.
“I’m a guy that looks forward to an excellent opportunity and a new opportunity,” Ott said by phone from his summer home near Windsor, Ont. “I love challenges, and if this is going to be a new challenge or a new adventure in my life, I’m really looking forward to this adventure more than anything.
“I’m excited. Absolutely. It’s almost like draft day again. You get a new sense of energy. It’s something that I love to prove to people where I belong. Buffalo wanted me, and I don’t want to prove them wrong. Also at the same time, I want to prove to Dallas of what they missed out on. First most, I want to prove to Buffalo what type of player I am and what I can bring to that team.”
Ott instantly adds competitiveness to a lineup that needed it. The 6-foot, 190-pounder had 11 goals, 39 points and 156 penalty minutes last season while serving as alternate captain of the Stars. His drive to win and battle earned him legions of fans in Dallas – and enemies around the NHL.
“I hope I can bring that attitude,” said Ott, who has two years left on a contract that pays $2.95 million per season. “I want to bring my consistency of being hard to play against every single night. I feel I’ve done that since the start of my career, and I feel I have a ton of game left. I haven’t even reached part of my peak yet.”