On Monday, the prospects of the Carolina Hurricanes were in town and on the ice for day one of the team's annual prospect conditioning camp. I was able to attend the late afternoon ice session and spoke with a few of the players after the practice was over.
New head coach, Bill Peters, also was interviewed by the media after the practice.
Peters was on the ice with the prospects, coaching, teaching, barking, and skating right alongside them much of the time. His active involvement on the ice seemed to be a different approach than what his predecessor took. The coach said he planned to be on the ice for 20-30 minutes each session, then let his assistants take over.
New assistant coaches Steve Smith and Rod Brind'Amour were also very active, along with the help of Cory Stillman and Glen Wesley. Goalie coach David Marcoux did not attend and is not expected to officially start his duties until September 1.
Speaking of goalies, Carolina's second round pick, Alex Nedeljkovic, broke his thumb and could not attend the event this week. Fortunately, the Canes had invited local prospect, Logan Halladay to camp and the invitee did a good job along with Daniel Altshuller and did not look at all out of place during the drills.
Altshuller took a shot up high late in the practice and had to come to the bench area for a bit to shake it off, but he was able to return to action after a short break.
The overall practice went very well and the players skated hard, even though they had already put in a long day by any standards. They began at 6 a.m. for a group breakfast, then had a meeting, then a workout, and went on from there.
There were several returnees, including Brent Pedersen, Brendan Woods, Tyler Ganly, Trevor Carrick, Brock McGinn, and Phil Di Giuseppe, who was injured last year and attended, although he could not participate on the ice. Michael Chiasson also returned and was joined by brother Ryan Chiasson this summer. Both were invitees.
A couple of local products joined Josh Wesley this year as Halladay was invited along with Bryan Moore, who hails from Indian Trail, near Charlotte. Halladay grew up in Cary and played locally for the Junior Hurricanes. He has committed to play for the University of Minnesota while Moore plays in the OHL.
Of course most eyes were on first round draft pick Haydn Fleury and even at 18 years old, he is a large presence on the ice. He looked technically sound as you might expect, as he skated through the drills with his teammates.
There were other large, imposing players on the ice. Brett Pesce, the 2013 draft pick who had a solid season with New Hampshire last year, is listed at 6'3 and looks it. 2012 draft pick, Jaccob Slavin is up to 6'1 and he has improved.
Other invitees, Patrick McEachen, Dryden Hunt, Jacob MacDonald, Brady Vail, and Alex Aleardi were working hard. Aleardi has AHL and ECHL experience and is probably hoping to work his way to a contract. Carter Sandlak, who had 24 goals last year in Plymouth, also got an invite.
Patrick Brown, the recent signing from Boston College, was on the ice and will be trying to make the Canes in training camp this fall.
This year's picks, forwards Warren Foegele and Clark Bishop, each had moments where they put on some slick moves during the scrimmage sessions and looked good.
Lucas Wallmark and Kyle Jenkins, selected in the 5th and 7th rounds this summer, rounded out this year's attendees.
The boys will do some power skating on Wednesday, then are scheduled for practice sessions again Thursday and Friday, to be followed by the scrimmage/game, which will be played at noon on Saturday as fans celebrate the Hurricanes Summerfest. To learn more about that and see the complete schedule of events, check out this link.
I will have transcripts of the player interviews published here during the week, will attend more sessions, and will be reporting back as I can.