After four days of working hard and bonding, 20 prospects capped the Coyotes 2009 Development Camp by signing autographs for nearly two hours at the team’s Open House on Saturday.
• Click here to see a photo gallery of the Development Camp
“The camp was a lot of fun this year,” said forward Colin Long
, who also attended last year’s camp. “There were a lot less guys than last year so it seemed like the group was a little tighter. Everyone kind of got to know each other or get reacquainted, and I think it’s really important to become buddies with your future teammates so you can battle together with them on the ice.”
|The prospects hiked to the top of Camelback Mountain. |
The prospects took the ice three times, hiked Camelback Mountain, and worked off the ice with Strength and Conditioning Coach Mike Bahn in the exercise room. They also participated in off-the-ice workshops designed to educate them on what it takes to become an NHL player and how to conduct themselves as professionals.
“This was a good experience for me,” said Oliver Ekman-Larsson
, the team’s top pick at last month’s NHL Entry Draft. “It was good to meet the guys and be around the team and the general manager and the coaches. It was fun.”
Ekman-Larsson, a Swedish defenseman, was one of the prospects who impressed General Manager Don Maloney the most.
“He really looks like he could be something special,” Maloney said. “He makes the game look easy. His skating and his fluidity and his puck game are just a step above everybody on the ice. He’s still the lightest player we have on the ice, which is surprising, but if there’s ever a lock to be a good player in the league, yeah, he’s as good as what we have in our organization, as far as prospects are concerned.”
Maloney said he thinks at least six of the defensemen at the camp will reach the NHL some day, including Chris Summers
, who will return to the University of Michigan for his senior season in the fall.
“He may be the best skating defenseman in college hockey and he plays with an edge,” Maloney said. “He’ll be with us at the end of this year for sure. He’s a guy that we’ll be excited to add.”
Regarding the forwards, Brett MacLean
“MacLean was far and away the most impressive forward,” Maloney said. “He looks like a different person out there. He looks quick, his balance looks better and he looks hungry. He may be that surprise that comes into (training) camp this year.”