I don't want to be labeled as just a first-round pick.
For me, it's just about the fact I was drafted by the Florida Panthers. When you look beyond that, I'm actually in the exact same starting spot as the guys that were taken in the sixth and seventh rounds. It's the same road ahead for all of us. We're all doing the same things now.
Don't get me wrong, it was really cool hearing my name called with the 13th overall selection at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, B.C. last month, but after enjoying those handful of days over the weekend you just kind of move on. Your life gets back to normal and you just get back to work.
The draft was an incredible experience, but nothing's changed.
My game's still the same.
I'm still the same person.
My goal is still the same.
Heading into the draft, you don't really know where you're going to end up, but I can already tell that Florida is going to be a great spot to be. They have a bunch of great guys and a really great coaching staff. Overall, I was a little nervous throughout the entire process, but far more excited.
I had some good talks with Panthers President of Hockey Operations & General Manager Dale Tallon around the time of the combine and a little more after that. He's a great guy. We just got to know each other a little bit. I didn't know it was going to be Florida, but I'm happy that it was.
Looking back on that night, all of my emotions were in check.
I think you've always got to pick and choose when to be really excited about things. As a goalie, you have to be even-minded all of the time. You can't get too high or too low. I approach a lot of life that way. Sure, you can let loose and have fun sometimes, but on the ice it's all about focus.
As my name started to make the news last season, it didn't really bother me. I didn't listen to projections or things like that. Honestly, I don't really care about those things, whether they're positive or negative. I'm all about sticking in the present and never getting far ahead of myself.
Right after the draft, the only thing on my mind was getting to development camp.
I was lucky. I know a few guys that went straight from the draft to the camp in Coral Springs. For me, it wasn't as hectic. I got to go home for a few days, get in a little workout and just hang out a bit. It was nice to have time to do other things and be a kid before leaving for my first D-Camp.
In the end, it was a great week. It was all about meeting the other guys and soaking up all of the information I could from the organization's coaching staff - you know, picking their brains a little bit. They've all seen what we can do on tape, so this was more about them getting to know us.
It was great to get to know some of the other guys. It was kind of like my first camp at the U.S. Developmental Program, except with the NTDP everyone is kind of the same age and in the same boat. At D-Camp, there's a lot of guys that have been around for a few years already.
The atmosphere was great and I'm looking forward to coming back next summer.
But, like I said before, I'm not getting too far ahead of myself.
I'm heading to Boston College this season, and I'm just going to play BC hockey. I'm not going to really look past that. When I'm at BC, I'm only going to worry about playing hockey at BC. I'm going to enjoy it. I really want to win a national championship. I've seen teams win before and seen how much fun they've had. Between that and the Beanpot, I have a lot to look forward to.
This is just the beginning.
*As told to FloridaPanthers.com's Jameson Olive