After a brief stint in the NHL last season, Calvin de Haan is now working for a full-time roster spot, beginning with this week’s prospect camp.
The 21-year old defenseman spent the 2011-2012 season with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and made his NHL debut December 15 against the Dallas Stars, describing the experience as overwhelming.
“It was a dream come true,” de Haan said. “I really enjoyed it and the guys were great. You can’t put that feeling into words.”
De Haan is attempting to impress Islanders coaches this week and eventually earn a full-time roster spot in training camp. The battle to make the roster on defense has heated up with the recent additions of seven defensemen chosen in the 2012 NHL Draft and the acquisition of veteran defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky from the Anaheim Ducks. With the recent moves, de Haan knows the importance of this week’s camp.
“Every time we’re down here, whether we’re working out or on the ice with the other prospects, it’s time to shine,” de Haan said. “You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do and always work hard. Even though that’s a cliché answer, it’s the case.”
After being selected 12th overall by the Islanders in the 2009 NHL Draft, de Haan played three seasons with the Ontario Hockey League’s Oshawa Generals before making the jump to Bridgeport last season. In 56 games, de Haan scored two goals and added 14 assists.
“I thought I had a great year,” de Haan said. “It was a lot of fun. We had a very tight group of guys down there. I got injured once but that’s bad luck more than anything.”
The 187-pound, Carp, ON native has targeted strength as a key area for his continued development.
“I have to keep working hard off the ice,” de Haan said. “The stronger you are off the ice, the stronger you are on the ice. I have to really focus on the gym and also make sure to get on the ice everyday.”
After playing one NHL game last season, there is no question what de Haan’s ultimate goal is.
“A full season in the NHL,” de Haan said. “I also want to make an immediate impact. If not, I just want to be the best player I can be and enjoy it.”
De Haan will have the rest of this week, including Thursday’s Orange & Blue Scrimmage, as well as training camp in September, to leave a mark on the coaching staff.