The New York Islanders opened up their 2016 Mini Camp on Tuesday, with over 50 prospects and invitees hitting the ice at Northwell Health Ice Center for a week of on-ice and off-ice work.
It’s a week for Islanders coaches to evaluate players and their game, a midsummer check-in to help guide training and preparation for training camp in September.
“This camp is just preparation for [training camp],” said Michael Dal Colle, the Islanders 2014 first-rounder. “It’s my third camp now, so I know what it’s all about now. It’s my first year pro this year… and it’s just preparation for main camp.”
Getting bigger, faster and stronger is the goal for almost every prospect at mini camp, though for the 2016 draft class, it’s also about getting to know the coaches, other prospects and the area itself.
“On a scale of 1-10 I put it at a 10,” Kieffer Bellows, the Islanders 2016 first-rounder, said of the first day. “It was pretty exciting, going out there and wearing Islanders gear and having that Islanders crest across your sweater was pretty cool. Just getting to skate around with the guys was pretty cool; it’s a great facility, I’m very happy to be here.”
Four of the Islanders’ six draft picks are in attendance. Nick Pastujov is recovering from a shoulder injury, while Anatoli Golyshev is in Russia, the tight turnaround not providing enough time to secure a visa.
In total, five first-round picks (Mathew Barzal, Anthony Beauvillier, Joshua Ho-Sang, Bellows and Dal Colle) are at camp. Ilya Sorokin – the reigning KHL goaltender of the year – is also at camp, as he makes his first visit to the Islanders organization and the United States. Andong Song, the first Chinese-born NHL draft pick – is also at camp this week.
The prospects will play in the annual Blue and White Scrimmage on Wednesday, June 29th at 7 p.m. at Northwell and again in a second scrimmage on Friday July 1, the last day of camp.
The Blue and White Scrimmage will have a different look this camp, becoming a three-team tournament. Rosters will become available on Wednesday.