I need to show something to the coaches that I can join this team and that I can help them. - Pavlo Padakin
CALGARY, AB -- Pavlo Padakin knows he’s only got a short time to make an impression at the Calgary Flames development camp, being held this week at the Winsport Arenas at Canadian Olympic Park.
Invited to camp on an amateur tryout agreement, the Calgary Hitmen forward admits he has to give “double extra effort” to catch the coaching staff’s attention.
“I need to show something to the coaches that I can join this team and that I can help them,” Padakin told CalgaryFlames.com after his first morning session. “I need to be the best in something.”
That moment came at the end of the practice.
The coaching staff, led by assistant coach Martin Gelinas, put 10 players on the red line, including Padakin and noted-speedster Johnny Gaudreau.
They were told to skate lines, and not only did Padakin show never-before-seen level of speed, he beat everyone else by at least three seconds.
Easy, Padakin said.
“Everybody is asking what just happened, but I just say I played in Russia for three years and our pre-season camp, we are just skating a lot and it’s all legs,” said the 19-year-old native Kiev, Ukraine.
In his first season with the Hitmen, Padakin played with an edge, throwing hits, killing penalties and showed a penchant for scoring goals, finishing the year with 22 goals, 16 assists, 38 points and 85 penalty minutes in 70 games.
Following the year, he decided to stay in Calgary, training for his second campaign with the Hitmen while also being an ambassador for the team at a number of public events, including the Calgary Stampede Parade and Celebrity Blacksmithing Event.
Recently, he was informed he’d been invited to join the Flames at development camp.
“For me, it’s huge because this was my dream to play in the NHL and when I got invited, I didn’t believe it until the next day,” Padakin said. “When I came here for the Hitmen, it was my dream to play for the Flames and I can’t wait for the chance to join this organization.”
After his first session, he admits it’ll take some time to get his feet back under him.
“It was hard because I wasn’t skating a lot before, but this is the NHL and you have to show you’re the best,” he said. “There are a lot of players here and you need to be something better.”