After earning three appearances in the national championship and two titles, forward Scott Bartlett
is now one step closer to his dream.
A phenomenal four-year run at Middlebury College has led the 5-foot-9, 165-pounder to the Trenton Devils, who signed the Pittsford, N.Y., native to a contract earlier this month. Now, it's Bartlett's turn to turn some heads in training camp, which is just around the corner.
"It's exciting to get started," Bartlett told NHL.com. "It's been kind of a long summer just training and being in the gym. It's always fun to get where you're going and meet your teammates and kind of start working towards a common goal."
Bartlett will be one of several young players in Trenton this season, as the T-Devils look to bounce back from the 65-point season they endured in 2007-08. Trenton coach Rick Kowalsky is confident that things will be different this time around.
"I think we've addressed some needs," Kowalsky said. "We've been up in Newark the last couple of days, and I think they're going to have some decisions in Jersey this year. I think they've been pretty aggressive in signing some guys to American League deals in Lowell. I think whatever we get, aside from the obvious, I think after that is going to be some pretty good players."
With camp just days away, Kowalsky is eager to see what Bartlett can provide. One thing is certain, though – in Bartlett, the T-Devils are receiving a player who knows how to win.
"He sounded like a good kid on the phone," Kowalsky said. "I've had a few conversations with him. He's won two national championships, and he's been to three in four years."
Bartlett was one of Middlebury's keys to success over the past four years. In his senior year, he finished four on the team in scoring with 19 points (8 goals, 19 assists) in 27 games. His ability to play in his own end also paid huge dividends for the club.
"I'd say I'm a good two-way player," Bartlett said. "I like to play both ends of the ice. I love to compete every night. I will sacrifice my body and get in positions where I can maybe try to score the ugly goal. I have a decent bit of skill in the front end, but I like to play both ways and do all the little things that it takes to win."
"I know just a little bit about the league, and what I hear from all accounts is that it's an up-and-coming league, and that Trenton is the place to play in terms of professionalism and development, which are two of the big things that I'm really looking forward to." -- Scott Bartlett
Those phenomenal experiences at Middlebury should only benefit Bartlett as he enters his first professional camp. Sure, there will be tough times, but those college memories will be invaluable as he moves forward.
"It can't do anything but help," Bartlett said. "Just to have the confidence of expecting to win every night, that helps you demand more of yourself and hopefully of the team. Expecting to win every night is the first step to actually winning every night. It's kind of a mental toughness, just to know that if something's not going well, there's always a way to fight through it. In those years that we were successful, there was a fair share of tough times. But we were able to get through that and still come out on top."
With two national championships under his belt, there's little doubt that Bartlett will have stories to share with his grandchildren some day. Some players don't even have the opportunity to play for a title. Middlebury reached the finals three times during Bartlett's collegiate career.
"It was a great experience … I wouldn't trade it for anything," Bartlett said. "Even though it's D-III, it's run like a D-I program. There's a ton of pride in the program and how we do things up there. I just think the quality of guys that we had up there and the character of my teammates for four years, it really just made the whole experience awesome. We had a lot of great success. We won two national championships and lost in the finals one time. It was good."
Bartlett admitted he's not all that familiar with the ECHL, but he's fully aware what Trenton can provide. Considering the team is owned and operated by the New Jersey Devils
, Bartlett realizes he's going to receive a nice, long look from Devils' brass. It's up to him to make the most of this chance.
"I have a few friends that have played there," Bartlett said of the ECHL. "My dad is actually a hockey agent, so I have quite a bit of background with professional hockey. I know just a little bit about the league, and what I hear from all accounts is that it's an up-and-coming league, and that Trenton is the place to play in terms of professionalism and development, which are two of the big things that I'm really looking forward to."
Around the ECHL
– The ECHL will hold its annual on-ice officials training camp from Oct. 3-5 in Gwinnett. In addition to returning and newly hired referees, attendees include new full-time linesmen as well as selected referees from USA Hockey, the Western Hockey League, the Ontario Hockey League and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. … The Phoenix Roadrunners signed defensemen Andrew Andricopoulos
and Brett Thurston and forward Dan DaSilva
. … The Elmira Jackals agreed to terms with forward Ryan Gibbons
and defensemen Gord Burnett, Ryan Palmer and Slavomir Tomko. … The Dayton Bombers signed defenseman Nathan Schwartzbauer. … Florida Everblades coach Malcolm Cameron delivered another former Texas Wildcatter this week, as defenseman A.J. Thelen
signed with the club. … Rookie defenseman Mark Lutz agreed to terms with the Las Vegas Wranglers. … The Alaska Aces re-signed defenseman Matt Shasby
and inked goalie Alexandre Vincent
. … Veteran defenseman Chris Cava
signed with Gwinnett.