CampDay 1 Recap

The Ducks officially kicked off the 2023-24 season this morning at Great Park Ice, hosting the club's first day of training camp in front of Ducks fans and staff.

With 63 players on the training camp roster, the Ducks broke the day up into three skating groups, spreading out veterans and prospects, with a focus on establishing competition within the team and dedication to learning the systems to be implemented under new head coach Greg Cronin.

Ducks training camp will continue Friday at Great Park Ice before the club invites fans to Saturday's #FlyTogether Fan Camp, featuring outside warmups open to the public for viewing, live music and appearances from Ducks Power Plays and Wild Wing, as well as discounted merchandise in the Anaheim Ducks Team Store inside the rink.

For more info on #FlyTogether Fan Camp, click here.

Thursday's Skating Groups

Group 1

Alex Killorn - Leo Carlsson - Troy Terry
Nikita Nesterenko - Benoit-Olivier Groulx - Jacob Perreault
Coulson Pitre - Glenn Gawdin - Judd Caulfield
Nico Myatovic - Jaxsen Wiebe

Cam Fowler - Drew Helleson
Scott Harrington - Tristan Luneau
Jackson LaCombe - Trevor Carrick
Konnor Smith

John Gibson
Calle Clang

Group 2

Jakob Silfverberg - Andrew Agozzino - Ryan Strome
Zack Kassian - Brayden Tracey - Frank Vatrano
Pavol Regenda - Josh Lopina - Blake McLaughlin
Ben King - Davis Codd

Robert Hagg - Noah Warren
Olen Zellweger - Radko Gudas
Nick Wolff - Luka Profaca
Rodwin Dionicio

Lukas Dostal
Gage Alexander

Group 3

Max Jones - Adam Henrique - Chase De Leo
Brett Leason - Sam Carrick - Brock McGinn
Sasha Pastujov - Nathan Gaucher - Yegor Sidorov
Connor Hvidston - Carey Terrance

Urho Vaakanainen - Colton White
Pavel Mintyukov - Ilya Lyubushkin
Tyson Hinds - Vojtech Port

Alex Stalock
Thomas Suchanek

Ducks General Manager Pat Verbeek, head coach Greg Cronin and forwards Troy Terry and Alex Killorn each met with the media following the season's first practice to share their thoughts on the season ahead.

GM Pat Verbeek

On contract negotiations with restricted free agents Trevor Zegras and Jamie Drysdale

Well, obviously those two guys are a big part of our future and a big part of our team right now. I don't talk about contracts. That's our policy. So I really can't give you anything as far as what's going on in that arena.

Unfortunately, this is part of the business that is a necessary evil, so to speak. We have to go through this process and I believe it's a process, sometimes we like to have it happen quicker, but right now it is where it's at.

I've gone through it myself [as a player]. I went into camp unsigned. I understand what these players are going through. I understand what management is going through, so it's a process. It just has to work itself through. There are constant talks and so you just work through it.

On adding Alex Killorn and Radko Gudas

I think it's really an exciting time. I think for not only those guys, but for our young players, bringing in some of the guys that we brought in with a wealth of experience in winning and championships. There's great experience in how to be a professional, what the preparation is every single day to become a champion. That's all great experience and great exposure for our younger guys to see on a daily basis. They're being inserted into part of our leadership group as well, and so it's going to be every day they're going to see that.

On Greg Cronin

I think he's excited. It's his first opportunity to be here. I can't put words in his mouth, I mean, you'll be able to ask him later, but I think he's excited. I'm actually really excited for the players because they're going to get to learn stuff. There's a detail and an organization that Greg brings, a passion, just an exuberance for the game, and I think that's going to rub off. I think it's going to be contagious for them, and I'm excited for the players.

On the prospect pool and Rookie Faceoff tournament

We've got a couple drafts under us now and those players are now starting to arrive in pro hockey. They're starting to compete for jobs on a meaningful basis, and that's exciting. I think that's exciting for our fans to be able to see that process in transition right now. It's exciting for us. I think that we have a deep pool of talent coming and I think the one thing that we always have to kind of preach again and myself included, I have to talk to myself and tell myself - patience - because these players will develop on different timelines. Development is really crucial for us, so I mean, I've focused a lot with Greg as a really development coach. Matt McIlvane is a developmental coach in the sense of where he was coaching in Salzburg. His whole process was about development. Now, with Jimmy Johnson and we've added Julian Tremblay, there are guys that we're really focusing in on development. So every player in our organization is going to get a lot of attention. I'd like to be able to speed this process up, but I can't, and everybody is going to develop at different timelines. It's exciting.

On the club's captaincy

I think it's going to be status quo based on last year for me. We're still in a transition stage. Being able to see who's going to emerge and Greg is going to go through this process of figuring out who the leaders are from that aspect. So I don't see any change in that aspect. I think we're going to do it by committee again and then at some point we'll see.

GM Pat Verbeek meets with media on first day of camp

Head Coach Greg Cronin

On his initial impressions of the organization

Well, I've never heard anything but positive things about the Samuelis and their commitment to the team and to the community. That's been reflected everywhere I've been, whether it's to the draft or dinners and things like that. 

Obviously Paul [Kariya] is a big part of the organization. His jersey's up in the rafters and I've known him a long time. He's a big promoter of the Ducks. 

I think they all genuinely want us to do well individually. I watched tape when I was going through the interview process, so I was able to get a sense of the guys that are coming back now and who does what. I thought today on the ice was interesting, trying to take the image I had, watching the games on TV in the regular season and then seeing things that I saw in that environment and trying to put a game plan together for the individuals that'll, I think, have an impact on the way we play as a group. That's going to be a process. It's our first introduction to it, so we're kind of getting a sense of where we're starting from.

On Leo Carlsson

I think when he was here at development camp, he was a little fatigued. It was kind of a long journey for him going from the Swedish League to the World Championships to the combine. Then he comes here and I think psychologically and probably physically, he was a little fatigued. Then I thought he had some pop to him in the rookie tournament. I heard he was a little bit sick, but I thought he played well there and I noticed him.

When you're coaching on the ice, as a head coach, you try to make sure that drills go properly and you're also trying to coach individually. When you're on one half of the ice and he may be  on the other side of the ice, but I did notice him multiple times make big time plays, and that's one of the things that we've had conversations about. 

Some young guys come in and they kind of get nervous and they get fearful in an environment with these NHL players. It kind of stalls their impact in practice...I had Matt Barzal in New York and he felt like he belonged as an 18-year-old. He was actually a year younger than Leo, and he's a totally different player, but he got better with the better players. I think, just in a small snapshot, I thought Leo looked better today than I've seen them in the other views I've had.

On the impact of Radko Gudas and Alex Killorn

Well, it's amazing. They're good people. So number one, they're good people and they came here because they want to participate in a rebuild. When you take on that responsibility, it really speaks about your maturity and that you're investing in the organization, not just trying to worry about yourself. We talked about that before they came. There's a different dynamic going from here or from Tampa Bay to here or Florida to here where they've been cup finalists or whatever...So the space they're going to occupy here is much broader and I think that speaks volumes about them as people and their character. You can see on the ice just the little things they do and they're humble guys. 

I've been around a long time. Some of the stuff I teach is different, and I just think in my years of coaching, these are foundational pieces that if guys can get comfortable doing them, we can get really better quickly as a team. They went through some drills today that I know they were like kind of, 'what is this?' But by doing things and being uncomfortable, you find out ways to improve. Even if you're 34 years old like Gudas and Killorn, they're the first ones that come up to you and say, 'Crow, I've never done this. I didn't realize these things are weapons you can use in defending.' 

Then we're going to share those with the guys and have them go over [it], feel that and then be able to talk to one of their teammates about it. I think it's just the start of that process of the mentorship they're going to build here.

On instilling a sense of discomfort within the team

Well, there are certain levels of discomfort. One of which is, I don't know their conditioning level. I don't know what they did in the summer. I kind of know from the test results we got, but when you go out and you practice and you've got resistance in the practice, it's not like summer hockey where there's 50% resistance. So there's a level of discomfort there that they deal with that's natural for everybody. 

But I think the discomfort they might deal with that we're teaching in terms of those foundational pieces is what I'm really drawn into because they'll eventually acclimate and they'll get to game condition. When you drill into those areas where we can be instantly better in how we defend and then how we respond to that away from that battle, that's what we're trying to get into. Troy had some moments on the ice where I said, 'you understand why you get beat there?' And he didn't. So then we go to the second half and we're doing more controlled teaching, the light goes on. He said, 'now I get it.' 

That's why I just say, as a staff, we've just got to constantly keep preaching a consistent value system on how we're going to defend and how we're going to attack.

On Killorn and Gudas helping the coaching staff

Honestly, they got to be a combination of player and coach. They've got to help us coach. They do. I mean, Alex Killorn has won two Stanley Cups and been in three finals in five years. If you don't listen to him, then you got to screw loose, right? 

So, obviously, we're trying to bring these guys in and we're trying to feed them the ideology and the standards that we're creating, the goals we're creating and the process, how we're going to do it. And they're good people. I mean, I've been around a long time. I watched Tampa from the Islanders bench, the Toronto bench. I saw [John] Cooper's teams play in the American League and the USHL, and he does things that obviously win championships. So if Alex wants to share something with me that's going to strengthen what we're doing, I'm going to listen. 

I tell the guys when they're playing hockey, we're just trying to give them, when you arrive at battles, there's certain weapons where you're going to use to try and get the puck back. We try to give them a small menu of weapons to use. You can't overload players. I just try, when we talk to the players, we say, 'Hey, have you thought about this?'

Greg Cronin discusses his first practice as a Duck

Alex Killorn

On his first day at Ducks camp

We've been skating together and I've been down here for three weeks, two and a half weeks, but to get on the ice with the head coach and when drills are kind of firing and it's a different pace, it feels good. It's nice to kind of see some of these younger guys that we haven't seen skate and kind of see the systems that we're going to be playing. 

On Leo Carlsson

This year, I just turned 34 and I'm skating with him and he's 18. I kind of have to check myself just to realize how young [he is] and put myself in his position at times, but really impressed with him the way he played. 

Being a center at 18, playing the NHL is very difficult, and I think he's more than capable of doing so. 

On taking on a leadership role

For me, it doesn't change a ton. I had a leadership role in Tampa. It's a little different in the sense that I'm the oldest guy now. In Tampa, we had a couple of older guys that helped out. There's plenty of leadership in this room. I'm just going to be one of the guys that's going to be helping out. 

On the importance of training camp

Just compete and playing the right way. I think if you compete and play the right way, you may not win every night, but you'll build. No matter how long it takes, you're building in the right direction.

Alex Killorn speaks about his first camp as a Duck

Troy Terry

On the first day of camp

You can skate all summer, even being back here with all the guys skating, it's just different when it's official. The season is back, there's coaches, people watching and it's just a different atmosphere. It's a different speed. So it's nice to just get back in the groove of that and be on the ice with Greg for the first time. He's going to bring a lot of new stuff here and a lot of it was working on things that were probably uncomfortable to a lot of us. We were able to work on that stuff today and it's just nice to be around Leo and some of the young guys. 

On Greg Cronin

I think he's exactly what we needed. He's going to be honest with guys and accountable, but he's very fair. The thing that sticks out to me is just his overall intelligence, as a person and as a hockey brain, I think that has been one of the most impressive things to me. The little details that he talks about on the ice that we are working on today, he's very detail oriented and I think he can bring a lot of stuff to this team that is new to us and can make us a better team.

On Alex Killorn

Him being a veteran, winning two Stanley Cups and just who he is as a person is crucial to us. I think almost most importantly right now, we're building this culture and who we want to be as a team moving forward. That's why you bring in a guy like that, but also, he had a career year last year. He is an incredible hockey player that plays both ways, is incredibly smart, shoots the puck and is able to play on his line. Anytime you get to play with new guys that are that smart, it's just fun to see the way that they think and just get used to reading off them. It's been awesome. 

On Leo Carlsson

He's really good. I was surprised by how big he was. I knew he was a big body, but when you get out on the ice with him, you can see it. He's big, he can skate and can really shoot. His skating, his hands and his shot are all very elite. Then when you pair that with his size, and I know it's been one skate, but he seems he's pretty intelligent, too. 

I think his potential is huge and I think you're seeing it already. I mean, that was day one and I know some of the guys got to play in the rookie tournament and are a little more up to speed, but for being the first day of camp and kind of a first impression, I was pretty blown away.

Terry recaps the first day of Ducks Training Camp