SCOTTSDALE – Twenty-eight prospects, including recent first-round draft picks Max Domi (2013), Brendan Perlini (2014) and Dylan Strome (2015), took the ice on Tuesday for the first skate of the Coyotes’ annual Prospect Development Camp at the Ice Den.
|Photo by Norm Hall. |
"The plan was to make them tired," Head Coach Dave Tippett said after the 90-minute on-ice session in front of a standing-room only crowd. "I think we accomplished that. We had lots of tempo."
Unlike past years, Tippett is running the on-ice sessions at this year’s camp, which features on-ice sessions again on Wednesday (at 1:50 pm) and Thursday (at 2:15 p.m.).
Past camps have featured 40-plus prospects, but only 29 were invited to this year’s event so there could be more intimate coaching.
"It’s a camp where we want our young players to grow and to grow as quick as possible," Tippett said. "We’re trying to fast track some people to the NHL. So, we’ve got to get them as much attention as possible."
Domi, who is attending his third prospect camp, liked the pared down roster.
"I think it's good there's a smaller group," Domi said. "We can focus on the little details and it's really intense."
"It was really up-tempo out there," Perlini said. "This year they’re doing more skill development and the first session was good."
|Dylan Strome. Photo by Norm Hall. |
As for Strome, whom Arizona selected with the third overall pick at last month’s draft, he is eager to show his skills to his new team/fans.
"I'm going to go out there and do what I do best – handle the puck," Strome said. "I’m going to try to impress the staff and everyone else that's watching."
General Manager Don Maloney, who along with other team executives watched the skate from a perch above the playing surface, said Strome’s hockey IQ is impressive.
"He’s a very articulate and intelligent person," Maloney said. "We just have to get him physically at an NHL level, but from an intelligence standpoint he’s just as good as anyone else in the draft."
Forward Anthony Duclair is another newcomer at the camp. Duclair, who came to the team in the trade that sent defenseman Keith Yandle to the New York Rangers last March, is focused on absorbing all of the on-the-ice and off-the-ice knowledge being presented.
"I'm just trying to soak it all in and trying to learn," Duclair said. "We have a great staff here. I’m trying to learn about fitness and nutrition, stuff like that. I'm just going to listen to what they have to say and go back and apply it during the summer."
|Max Domi. Photo by Norm Hall. |
Tippett said he and his coaches were impressed by what they saw on the ice on Tuesday.
"The skill level out there on the ice today gives all of us hope that we’re going in the right direction," Tippett said. "There is certainly hope for the future... The morale of our coaches has already started to improve just by one practice with a bunch of young, energetic kids with a high grade of skill."
Domi, whom many expect will earn a spot on the Coyotes roster in September, stood out.
"Where Max Domi is today from two years ago is phenomenal," Tippett said. "He's ready to step into the NHL."
NOTE: The skates on Wednesday and Thursday are open to the public and free.