The Carolina Hurricanes did a great job impressing their prospects in last week's development camp. It's almost hard to believe that just three summers ago, in 2012, the camp was held at the Rec Zone, (now Raleigh Center Ice). What a difference!
If you were a young promising hockey star, would you be more impressed with the facilities at the old rink or in using an NHL level locker room, training area, and skating surface?
Whoever came up with the idea to go through the extra expense of putting on a sheet of ice at the PNC in the middle of summer for this event was a genius.
Not only does the club get to put their best foot forward with their youngest and most talented, they also give their fans a chance to meet the organization's prospects in person during the Summerfest, watch them in action on the ice, and attend select-a-seat events while watching live hockey and scrimmages. It's a win-win situation!
This past week, the Hurricanes went out of their way to teach the young stars everything they could about the commitment needed to pursue a career in professional hockey.
From what I learned after speaking with a few of the skaters and asking about their experiences, the week was a huge success.
Noah Hanifin was certainly impressed. This what he had to say when asked about his experience.
"It's been great and it's been tough, very competitive with a lot of work off the ice and on the ice. I have learned a lot, primarily what it takes to be a pro hockey player. Obviously, we're not with NHL guys but still the mindset and atmosphere around here is awesome to experience."
Most of the players had a hard time when asked about their favorite part of the week and said they could not choose one particular thing. Hanifin answered this way.
"It's really hard to choose one thing. The time on the ice, getting instruction from NHL coaches, learning NHL drills, and scrimmaging against the guys, all of that is up there. But there were some off-ice activities I really enjoyed as well."
The other players said much of the same thing.
Clark Bishop mentioned that even though it was his second year here, he learned a lot and really enjoyed meeting the new guys. He probably enjoyed the on-ice scrimmaging the best.
Local product Trevor Owens said that he couldn't pick one thing.
"It's hard to say because everything is so professional. The Hurricanes are doing a great job at teaching us so much and you can pick up bits of useful information everywhere you go and in every event. Obviously, on-ice is a lot of fun but today (Wednesday) we had a leadership seminar and that was also a lot of fun. We learned so much, not only how to be a better player, but how to improve yourself in life in general."
Warren Foegele also enjoyed the leadership seminar.
"That was amazing, I really enjoyed that," he said. "They taught us so much this week, overall."
After watching these guys put through the paces on the PNC ice and watching them scrimmage, a few of them stood out to me during the week. Here is a brief scouting report.
Sergey Tolchinsky - Obviously, has tons of skill. Has improved his overall game from his last camp. Sees the ice well and plays a better all-around game.
Haydn Fleury - Bigger, stronger, more comfortable and confident with the puck than last year. Showed off some skill with a fancy goal.
Noah Hanifin - Obviously, a smooth skater. Made some plays on defense look easy. Was not shy about looking to make an offensive play. Usually good positionally.
Jaccob Slavin - Certainly made an impression with Coach Peters, who mentioned him by name. Had a very solid overall showing.
Warren Foegele - Showed outstanding speed.
Nicolas Roy - Nice hands and moves. Also great size.
Josh Wesley - Also has improved since last year, did not look out of place.
Sebastian Aho - Scored a hat-trick in Saturday's scrimmage. Has a ton of upside and potential.
Other players performed very well too. Perhaps more on them later, (I'm out of time now).