Day three of prospect conditioning camp is in the books and the players are now starting to get used to the hectic pace of Pete Friesen's non-stop schedule. The youngsters are being given a lot to absorb, but they seem to be enjoying themselves in the process.
One player in particular, who took a bit of an unusual route to Raleigh, is taking full advantage of his opportunity. Unlike most of the other attendees, Barclay Goodrow was undrafted this past June, but you would never know it by watching the on ice drills and scrimmages. He looks every bit as good as most of the drafted players.
The left winger has a quick shot and knows how to put the puck in the net on a regular basis. For a big man, (6'2), he's also shown some good moves.
I asked him, as a free agent so to speak, why he decided to attend Carolina's camp.
"I'm not sure how my agent knew about it, but he was talking with the Canes and I thought this might be a good fit for me, so I was really excited to come into camp,' said Goodrow.
The 18-year-old will be draft eligible again next season, so the Canes, or any other NHL team, will have another chance to draft him next year. In the meantime, he still has at least two years of junior eligibility left.
Goodrow certainly wouldn't complain if the Canes selected him.
"This is a really good organization and a great city, so hopefully," he said with a smile.
The Ontario native scored 24 goals for Brampton of the OHL last season. If he can improve on that production, he should get noticed by more scouts, and he certainly won't have to worry about being overlooked again in the next draft.
It appears as though he has the skills to succeed and now he knows what it takes to make it to the next level. All that's left is the hard work.
I asked several of the skaters what their favorite part of camp was so far, and what was the toughest part. Most of them said that meeting all the guys and hanging out with them was the best part.
Goodrow said that he was enjoying the ice sessions and was getting a lot out of that.
Ryan Murphy mentioned that the coolest thing for him was getting on-ice instruction from the likes of Rod Brind'Amour, Glen Wesley, Tom Barrasso, and Ron Francis.
The first round draft pick admitted to being a bit nervous at the beginning around these legends of the game, but he said, "they are such easy-going guys and they communicate very well. They know what to say to settle us down and bring us into our comfort zone."
Speaking of Murphy, whom some critics noted was "too small" and "non-physical", on one particular sequence during practice, the blueliner lined up Victor Rask and took him down to the ice with a solid shoulder hit to the body as the forward skated over the blueline during a two-on-two scrimmage drill. The Swede jumped right back up, no worse for the wear, but it was a nice, solid, physical play by the defenseman.
So what was the consensus choice as the toughest part of camp? The off-ice training, of course. Although goalie Frederik Andersen said that getting up at 6 A.M. was the toughest thing for him. I asked the native of Denmark if the time change was hitting him hard.
"No, I was in New York for a week before I came here, so I am used to the time change," he said. "But 6 A.M. is very early in any time zone," he laughed.