The number one goal for prospects at the Tampa Bay Lightning’s annual development camp is education, but director of player development Stacy Roest knows it is important to mix-in some fun too.
That’s why the Bolts close camp with an annual 3-on-3 tournament where the winning team walks away with a trophy and camp bragging rights.
“You want prospects to want to come to these camps,” Roest said. “If you gruel them and grind them I think it sets them back for the summer.”
For first-timer Anthony DeAngelo, he thought the entire camp was a great experience, but did not mind ending it by defeating the defending champions, Team Stamkos, from the two-day tourney.
“It was a fun way to finish off the week,” DeAngelo said. “The first four days were pretty tough with two-a-days, so I think the plan was to have the 3-on-3 to have a little fun.”
DeAngelo also tied Jeff Costello for the tournament lead for points with 13 (six goals, seven assists).
KOEKKOEK NOT CLEARED
Lightning prospect Slater Koekkoek did not participate in the 3-on-3 tournament Saturday and Sunday, but the blueliner said he is on track to participate fully in training camp in September.
The 20-year-old underwent shoulder surgery on his right shoulder after a fight in a game with his junior team, the Windsor Spitfires, last March. He previously had two surgeries on his left shoulder.
“Maybe now that I’m fixed I’ll be good for 20 years or something,” Koekkoek joked.
It has been a frustrating road for Koekkoek, who has seen his past three seasons end prematurely.
In 2011-12, Koekkoek appeared in just 26 games before his left shoulder required surgery. Then midway through 2012-13 he had a second surgery on the same shoulder to correct complications from the initial surgery.
Koekkoek was amidst a career-year when he hurt his shoulder last year and despite missing the playoffs for Windsor, continued to make strides in his development.
“He made huge steps, his defending was better, his timing to jump into plays was better, his skating has never been an issue,” Roest said.
One learning tool that many prospects took away from camp surprisingly was not on the ice, but instead off-ice workouts.
“I learned a lot in the gym,” 2014 draft pick Brayden Point said. “It’s good to learn those things early."
DeAngelo agreed how important the off-ice habits are to the on-ice ones.
“The training with the eating and workout regiments,” DeAngelo said. “How hard you have to train, I think that was the biggest thing for everybody. I learned a lot about specific muscles you need to work on to get bigger legs or bigger upper body.”
Even Jonathan Drouin, who is in his second camp, said he is continuing to learn a lot about adding strength and muscle from Lightning strength and conditioning coach Mark Lambert.
“I’m going to work on off ice stuff this summer and talk to Mark a lot this summer,” Drouin said.
Bolts prospects also worked heavily on power skating with Barb Underhill and took a lot away from the experience.
OTHER ODDS ‘N ENDS
In addition to Koekkoek, Adam Erne, Jake Dotchin, Johnathan MacLeod, Matthew Peca and Eric Robinson were all scratched from 3-on-3 tournament play and Cedric Paquette did not attend development camp due to illness.
Team Filppula (Costello, DeAngelo, Point, Dylan Blujus and Brendan O'Donnell) were undefeated in tournament play, going 6-0-0.
Andrei Vasilevskiy led all netminding prospects with a .806 save percentage and only 19 goals against on 98 shot attempts during the 3-on-3 tournament.