GLENDALE – The third and final on-ice session of the Coyotes 2013 Prospect Development Camp began with some brisk drills and was capped off with sticks raised at center ice and a loud howl from another full house at the Ice Den in Scottsdale.
With 36 prospects trying hard to impress them, General Manager Don Maloney, Head Coach Dave Tippett and Assistant General Manager Brad Treliving watched from above the ice, perched in the southwest corner of the rink.
“I thought it was good,” Treliving said after being asked to report on the three-day camp. “Any time you get into these camps in this time of the year there’s a lot of kids who are nervous, a lot of kids are coming here for the first time and all the kids, for the most part, haven’t spent a lot of time on the ice. So, a lot of it is an orientation in terms of introducing the new players to the organization, making them familiar with the surroundings, the staff, and really just outlining the expectations for the rest of this summer.”
All of the prospects received one last chance to display their skills for the fans in attendance on Thursday when they were split into a red team and a white team for an up-tempo scrimmage. Brandon Gormley, Darian Dziurzynski and Zac Larraza scored goals for the red team and Lucas Lessio, Philip Lane and Connor Murphy scored goals for the white team.
Afterward, Gormley talked about Thursday’s on-ice session and explained his experience at his fourth prospect development camp.
“It was a good camp,” Gormley said. “We worked real hard on and off the ice, and it’s always a good experience meeting the new draft picks and the new free agents... It was a lot of fun.”
Forward Tobias Rieder, who finished up his first camp, shared many of Gormley’s sentiments.
“It was great,” said Rieder, who was acquired by the Coyotes in a trade on March 29 with the Edmonton Oilers. “We grew together as a group as the day went on and it was a great experience."
All eyes were on forward Max Domi, the team’s most recent first-round draft pick, and Domi stood out among his peers by displaying strong skating and puck management skills.
Photo by Norm Hall.
“Obviously there is a high skill level there,” Treliving said. “He’s a strong kid with lots of speed… I thought he was impressive. The skill stands out. Now it’s a matter of Max going back (home) and putting in a couple more months of work (before training camp).”
Defenseman Connor Murphy, who has been challenged by various injuries since being drafted in 2011, also had a good camp.
“I thought Murphy was excellent,” Maloney said. “He was just poised and smooth. We haven’t seen him much because of his recent injuries but he really impressed me.”
"He's a big strong guy and he's going to be a very interesting guy to watch at training camp just to see how far he can get," Tippett said.
Other players who turned heads included Gormley, Henrik Samuelsson and Laurent Dauphin, the center the Coyotes traded up three spots in this year’s draft to select in the second round.
“He’s real smart,” Treliving said. “There’s a high hockey intelligence there and a good skill set.”
In addition to the three on-ice workouts at the Ice Den, the prospects also participated in off-ice workouts with Strength and Conditioning Coordinator Tommy Powers at Jobing.com Arena each day of the camp. Plus, they signed autographs for full season-ticket holders, went to a team dinner at a local steakhouse, and attended an Arizona Diamondbacks game at Chase Field.
Once at the ballpark, the prospects formed a line along the third-base line for a pre-game introduction.
Photo by L.M. Parr/Arizona Diamondbacks
Domi was given a Diamondbacks jersey and asked to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. He did it flawlessly thanks to an impromptu warm-up session with Diamondbacks catcher Wil Nieves in the hallway outside the clubhouse a few minutes before taking the field.
“It was amazing,” Domi said. “It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience there. The boys were giving it to me for a little bit there but I had some fun with it, for sure. It was very cool.”
One of the more impressive story lines though about this year’s camp didn’t take place on the ice or in the weight room; it was the standing-room only attendance by the fans at the Ice Den - which wasn’t lost on Treliving or the players.
“It was awesome,” Treliving said. “We’ve always said our fans are tremendous and we’ve seen it. We’ve seen it a couple years ago in the playoffs (and) we saw it this year. There’s a buzz about our team right now.”
“It was unbelievable,” Gormley said. “This is my fourth year here (at camp) and I’ve never seen it like that. We’re happy to be here and they were happy to have us here. It was great to have their support."