Prior to the 2021 Prospects Showcase, I had the opportunity to talk to five prospects on the Hurricanes’ roster about the draft, their offseasons and what they’re looking forward to heading in to the upcoming year.
Interview with Bryce Montgomery
First of all, congratulations on being selected by the Hurricanes in the Draft. Can you talk about how you found out and what your reaction was?
I was in a hotel room with my family, we rented something for the day. I waited most of the day and I finally saw my name on the screen. When I finally saw my name pop up, I was ecstatic. I’ll never forget it. I’m going to treasure it for the rest of my life.
With the OHL not having a season last year, I’m sure there was a lot of uncertainty regarding this draft. Was there an added sense of relief when you were selected?
This past year was the biggest season of my career thus far and it was a bummer that I didn’t get to prove myself, especially playing for London and the reputation they have for preparing players for the NHL. Having a year off was tough but I had a lot of supporters giving me ice time to practice. I did as much as I could to get my stock up ahead of the draft. I’m fortunate enough to have landed in a great organization.
How do you prepare for a season with as much uncertainty as last season? When the cancellation was made official, did anything change in your workouts or preparations?
Once I found out it was pretty much business as usual. I left for Massachusetts and the Pandemic Hockey League a few days later. I kept on my toes and kept moving forward because that’s what I’ve always done.
Could you talk about the tournaments you played in in lieu of a season?
First, I played in the Pandemic Hockey league in Massachusetts. For the two showcases that I played in, it was an opportunity for players to get in front of scouts and make a name for themselves. For me, it was showcasing my skills and showing what I could put on the table. I took advantage of it, playing ten games in the PHL and went right to Erie. I had 10 more games there and played in all of them.
Is the Erie Showcase something you’d like to see happen every year?
I’d love to see something like the Erie Showcase moving forward. I think mainly we did it because there wasn’t a season, but if they want to keep doing it that would be awesome. With us having a season I don’t know if they’d still want to do it.
You come from a family of athletes. Your dad was an All-American hockey player for St. Mary’s in Minnesota, your mom played basketball for UC Berkeley and your brother was recently drafted by the London Knights as well. How has that shaped you into the athlete you are today?
My mom, dad and grandma pushed me to keep playing the sport. Even though my mom didn’t have a hockey background she kept pushing me to stay in the sport. My dad was a two time All-American and both my parents are huge teachers for me both in the sport and in life. I’m grateful to have them in my life.
You’ve been described as a big defenseman that can skate and defend exceptionally well. What’s something about your game that you feel is a bit underrated or maybe not as hyped as it should be?
My game is still evolving every single day. I’m still working on the offensive side of the game and I try to support the puck on the rush and create scoring chances whenever I can. All my talking is done on the ice, so I try to not get too cocky.
Is this your first time visiting Raleigh? How are you liking it so far?
This is my first time in Raleigh. It feels right at home since I’m on the east coast and it’s an awesome experience here.
Training camp hasn’t officially started, but how has the experience been so far?
It’s incredible. Wearing the Canes gear and representing them is an honor for me. I’m trying to learn everything I can from the coaching staff.
What are you hoping to gain from this experience and how can you use it in the upcoming season?
One of the biggest takeaways is that the game is played at a much quicker pace and having your head on a swivel is important. Making quick passes and competing hard is something I’m going to take back with me.
Any big takeaways from the first two practices?
The main thing is how hard you have to compete. With everyone on the staff, you’re learning to compete. We’ve had two practices and they’re giving me things to work on.
Lastly, I like to end on a lighter note. If you’re given the opportunity to pick one song as your goal song, what would it be?
Probably some Pop Smoke, I’m a big fan. Brush Em would be my pick, probably.
Interview with Seth Jarvis
Last time we talked, you were at your first NHL camp and taking it all in. What’s different this year?
This year I’m more comfortable. More comfortable with the players, the staff and the system. That makes the transition easier and you feel a little more at home. You have a previous relationship with a lot of the people here so it’s easier to get adjusted.
Do you feel like you can take the newer guys under your wing a bit this year, or are you still trying to absorb as much as you can?
I feel a little bit of both. It’s only my second year but I want to get in touch with the new guys and keep expanding on how they want to play. I’m still trying to take a deep dive into the system here, though.
Getting to spend time in the AHL must have been a cool experience for you. Even though your time there was short, what were some lessons you took away from that?
The biggest thing was living on my own. I didn’t have anyone to take care of me, no billets or anything, so getting that under my belt was interesting. Getting to know what my body needs as far as strength, conditioning and nutrition was a big difference. I feel like I matured a lot faster because of it.
What are some of your goals heading into the upcoming season?
I’m looking forward to a big year, whether it’s in the NHL or Portland and I want to be a leader that people can look up to. If I go back to Portland, I’m taking my experiences from pro camps and going to use it to help everyone on that team get better.
What did you get to do this offseason?
I spent most of my time training. I started in Vancouver since rinks were open and made my way back to Winnipeg. I was at Canada’s World Junior camp in Calgary, which was a good event to see where you’re at and get to compete a bit.
How was the Luke Combs concert the other night? Are you a big fan of his?
It was incredible. I’m a big fan, so getting to meet and talk to him was amazing. He was a great guy, which made it even better.
Finally, what would your goal song be?
Portland’s goal song is AC/DC’s TNT so I’m going with that. I like it a lot.
Game one of the Prospects Showcase is at 10 a.m. ET on Saturday.