Philadelphia Flyers Director of Player Development Don Luce recently sat down with philadelphiaflyers.com for a brief Q and A regarding the team’s mini-camp taking place this week. Luce is in charge of overseeing the Flyers’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Philadelphia Phantoms, and the development of the Flyers’ draft picks.Q: What are your overall thoughts on camp so far?
A: “I think it’s been a good camp, the players have really come with the idea of learning, working hard and listening to what the coaches have to say. I think it’s been a very good experience for them.”Q: How do you think Claude Giroux has done in camp, and talk about his overall progression.
A: “Giroux has done extremely well. He is a very talented player. He is not a very big player, but he brings a lot of intensity with his game. I think that he has improved his game. Most of these kids have to really learn how to work at the professional level and I think this camp is helping them learn that level.”Q: What are your thoughts on defenseman Ryan Parent?
A: “Ryan Parent has played a little bit with the Phantoms and the Flyers last year. He is an intense kid, a good skater. Again it’s a thing when they are just turning pro, upping the level of commitment to be in proper condition because these kids are coming from a group where they are in good shape for that level. But when they get here, it’s a different level.”Q: What about James van Riemsdyk?
A: “He is an excellent player. He is a big kid who can really skate. He has very good hands, sees the ice well but also is exceptionally young. He is really young being just drafted, but again he is someone who has a good attitude. He wants to learn and he has done a good job.”Q: What are your thoughts on Steve Downie?
A: “Steve Downie has done well. He is willing to compete hard. He is just coming off some surgery, so he is not able to show all he can do here, but again he is a kid who brings intensity to his game and is very eager to learn.”Q: There is talk that Steve Downie has a good shot to play for the Flyers next year. What are your thoughts on that?
A: “Well, I think that’s putting a little too much pressure on Steve. I think that all these kids would like to play in the National Hockey League, but it is a bigger jump than they realize. If you spend a year or two in the minors, it will put four or five years in the National Hockey League on your career. I personally think every player should play in the minors for at least a bit.”Q: Have any other players stood out and/or caught you by surprise?
A: “Andreas Nodl has showed that he is a very skillful player. Oskars Bartulis has played well. Some of the guys that played with the Phantoms, like Ryan Potulny and Nate Guenin have played well, same for Lars Jonsson. For this camp, I really think everyone has showed up and come here to be serious about learning and getting better.”Q: How is it determined which of these players will come back for training camp in September?
A: “It’s partially determined now, but it’s partially determined also that some of these players are college players that will have to go back to college. So, that is decided by the players that have to go back to college, and as for the juniors, we will decide if we want to bring them back.”