With two different personalities and styles, Jakub Voracek and Stefan Legein arrived at development camp with similar goals.
The Blue Jackets' 1st pick (7th overall) at last year's draft, Voracek was a dominant force with the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) last season and is more than hopeful to crack the Blue Jackets' roster this season.
"It has been very difficult, but if you want to be an NHL player, it's worth it." - Blue Jackets Forward Jakub Voracek
Displaying the smooth skating and deft playmaking skills that were so revered by hockey pundits across North America, Voracek has stood out among the other young prospects gathered in Columbus this week for the development camp.
"When you have skill level like he does, it's really impressive," Blue Jackets head coach Ken Hitchcock said. "He does things at top speed for a big guy who's growing into his body."
What has been most impressive for Hitchcock and the coaching staff is Voracek's willingness to move to Columbus for the summer and train. Since training camp last September, Voracek has added 20 pounds of muscle and is noticeably stronger on the ice.
"It's a different style of life, for sure," Voracek said. “I like living by myself, but I have to get used to it. I like the city, I like living here. It's only been a month, and I love it."
"It has been very difficult, but if you want to be an NHL player, it's worth it."
And the goal is just that. Voracek said he arrived at this camp with the desire to improve, and work toward earning a roster spot in training camp this fall.
"I've changed a little (as a player) – I'm trying to be faster on the ice and shoot the puck on net more," Voracek said.
"My weight is ok right now; I could do better with body fat. There's two full months until camp, and I'm going to do everything I can."
The Blue Jackets' second pick (37th overall) at last year's draft, winger Stefan Legein has carved a niche as one of junior hockey's most agitating players. At 5-foot-9, 170 pounds, Legein also has a knack for scoring, registering 37 points (24g-13a) in 30 games with Niagara of the Ontario Hockey League this season. He also added 18 points (7-11) in 10 playoff games for the IceDogs.
"People get mad when I tell them I model myself after (Dallas Stars winger) Sean Avery," - Blue Jackets Prospect Stefan Legein
Legein has also been impressive in development camp this week, and isn't shy about bringing his style of game wherever he goes.
He might not model himself after the game's most popular player, but Legein's defensive responsibility and aggressiveness make him a natural fit in the Blue Jackets' system.
"People get mad when I tell them I model myself after (Dallas Stars winger) Sean Avery," Legein joked. "But I like being that agitator, a second or third-line guy who shuts down the other team."
Legein has also enjoyed the most recent chapter of his professional career: this week’s development camp at the Dispatch Ice Haus.
"There are a lot of young guys here, so it shows a promising future for the Blue Jackets," Legein said. "These are the guys we're going to grow with, and hopefully play our professional careers with, so it's nice to have them all here."
A key member of gold-medal winning Team Canada at last year’s World Junior Championships, Legein admitted to getting a boost of confidence from playing in meaningful games on the international level.
"It was great, I've never really played in big games before," Legein said. "Being Canadian, I was fortunate enough to make the team and win the gold medal. I learned so much about big games and pressure.
"That's what the NHL is all about."