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New year, new result for Biggs

Tuesday, 08.07.2012 / 2:24 PM

By Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor / USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp blog

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- A year ago at this time, Tyler Biggs already was on his way home from USA Hockey's National Junior Evaluation Camp.

A first-round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs just weeks earlier, Biggs admittedly was nervous when he arrived, and didn't think he showcased himself in the best way.

"I think last year I was pretty nervous," he told NHL.com. "The '92s [1992-born players] were a pretty special group of guys. Although they didn't do as well last year, you could see what they did at under-17s, under-18s the years before at NTDP. Going into that, I think I was a little bit nervous."

With a year of experience, Biggs said he felt better prepared for this year's camp and believes it showed in his play. He had one goal in three games but said his comfort level was far higher.

"A year under my belt, coming with the guys that I know already, I think I had a big compete level [and] it just carried over," he said.

Coach Phil Housley was impressed, especially with how the 6-foot-2, 205-pound right wing used his size to his advantage.

"We understand he's a big guy and big guys need a little bit more time," Housley told NHL.com. "He's working hard, he's competing, he's starting to win battles. He certainly has to raise his level of play. We need him to be on the puck first. That's what we're going to be watching the next couple days. … He got better every day. And that's a good sign."

Next for Biggs are training camp with the Maple Leafs in September and a season with the Oshawa Generals of the Ontario Hockey League. Biggs had nine goals and eight assists last season at Miami University, but decided to move on after school ended.

"I think it was more my choice of moving on from the college experience," he said. "I think it was a great path for anyone and I would recommend it to anybody. But at that point in my career I think it was time to move on. … I got better at a lot of things from Miami University, so I was pretty fortunate to go there, [but] at this time in my career I thought it was time to move on and see how far I could go."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

It means a lot to us, we're very excited. We're looking to continue to build on [our] top core talent of young players. It's just a great opportunity for us to really build high.

— Panthers vice president of hockey operations Travis Viola after Florida won the No. 1 pick in the NHL Draft Lottery