While players are away, others will play. That's been the case throughout training camp here at Anaheim ICE, where all players - young and older - are getting extended looks from head coach Randy Carlyle and his staff. Some of Anaheim's biggest names are still playing in the World Cup of Hockey tournament, including captain Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, which has given prospects such as Max Jones and Sam Steel even more time to gain valuable experience in their first professional training camp.
"It's been a great experience," said Jones, selected 24th overall in the 2016 NHL Draft. "It's cool to be out there with guys like Cogliano, Bieksa, Fowler, Boll, and guys like that. It's cool to share an experience like that."
Jones says he's learned a lot over the past three days at training camp, acting like a sponge to soak in as much information as he can while he's here. Jones, of course, is coming off an impressive rookie season with the London Knights that culminated in a Memorial Cup championship.
"I'm trying to fit in with everyone and see where I place," Jones said. "It's been a good couple of days. It'll be exciting to play against other guys in a building like Honda Center."
Like his draftmate, Steel says the experience he's gaining being on the ice with bonafide NHL players is invaluable.
"It's cool being out there with those guys, and they're here for a reason," said Steel, selected 30th overall in the 2016 draft. "This is a whole new experience for me, so I'm trying to take in all the information I can. It's an opportunity for us young guys to go further in camp than the young guys usually would."
And while the preseason gives Jones and Steel a first glimpse into the speed and intensity of the NHL, a player such as Shea Theodore will use the games to further prove why he deserves a roster spot.
"I feel like I'm fighting for a spot more than I have in the past years," said Theodore, who registered eight points (3g/5a) with a +7 rating in 19 games with the Ducks as a rookie last season. "With my play last year, I'm looking forward to getting into preseason."
And depending how long the contract stalemate with Hampus Lindholm goes, Theodore could find himself with the big club even longer, if that's the case.
"Knowing I can play at this level, I'm just more confident coming into the year," Theodore said. "I need to take advantage of the situations I've been put in here coming into preseason. I want to show that I want a spot this year."
Tomorrow, the Ducks will host a scrimmage at Anaheim ICE beginning at 10 a.m. PT. The scrimmage will be open to the public and free of charge.
Anaheim will open its 2016 preseason slate on Tuesday night against the Arizona Coyotes at Honda Center (7 p.m.), and then travel up to Staples Center to take on the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday (7:30 p.m.).