Sixteen Predators prospects are in town for conditioning camp this week, and nashvillepredators.com is taking the opportunity to catch up with each of them and get their thoughts on last season, the Predators camp and more. Below is final installment of a four-part series that ran this week.
Photo by John Russell
Acquired: Free Agent
Team: Plymouth (OHL)
Q. First of all, how do you think your season went?
A. I thought it went pretty well. As a whole our team did pretty well. It was a pretty successful year. Then individually it was my best season as a whole minus my injury there. Other than that I have no negative things to say about the season. It was pretty positive.
Q. How about your thoughts on the experience of coming to this camp for the first time?
A. I'm just coming to learn. Keeping my eyes open and ears open and just taking it all in so I know what to expect when I come back here for main camp or if I ever get the opportunity to play here. I'll know what it's like to be a Nashville Predator.
Q. What was your reaction to being signed by the Predators in December 2005?
A. It was unexpected. I didn't even see it coming. They offered me a contract then and I wanted to sign with them. I actually talked to Paul Fenton--one of the first guys I talked to--and he seemed like a great guy. It's working out good so far. It's been a good experience and hopefully it will take off from there.
Q. Playing in the OHL, you get to see Ryan Parent quite a bit. What do you think about him?
A. Actually we didn't get along too well because we had a playoff round. That was actually round two and we played [Parent's Guelph team]. Every shift he was on the ice I'd be on the ice or vice versa. So we got to know each other pretty well. Bitter rivals, but so far this week, he and I went to downtown Nashville the other day and looked around and we're just getting along well. Through competition that's what it takes. When you play each other of course you're not going to like the guy, I guess, but once you get into the same atmosphere, we seem to be getting along well here.
Q. What has been your favorite aspect of camp so far?
A. Out of the things that have happened so far, I really liked hearing the coaches speak, and hearing the psychologist come in and talk over different situations with you, just to get you prepared. He was teaching the difference between anxiety and fear a little bit there and he did some visualization stuff. It seemed to help me and it was really understandable what he was saying. Overall, I like how they treat you like you're a Nashville Predator already. They just seem to work with you and treat you well here.
Photo by John Russell
Acquired: Third round, 2005 Entry Draft
Team: Vancouver (WHL)
Q. What are your thoughts on your 2005-06 season and winning the Western Hockey League championship with the Vancouver Giants?
A. It was a lot of fun. We had a decent team. It was a team that not everybody gave a lot of credit to at the start. We were more of a building team this year, but we had a real good work ethic and that's what carried us through everything. I had a good season personally. I developed a lot and my coaches got a lot more confident in me. I ended up playing in a lot of the key situations so I was real happy with my game.
Q. Did being here at the facilities for training camp last year help you out coming in this time?
A. It's awesome. It's not so new, I guess you could say. You've been here before and you know where everything is and what's kind of going on. It's fun being able to come back for a second time and then again in September [for training camp]. Stuff like this is always a lot of fun.
Q. Are you getting to know the guys a little bit? Do you know fellow WHL players Jesse Deckert (Prince Albert Raiders) or Lauris Darzins (Kelowna Rockets) who are here?
A. I don't know Jesse but I played against him. I know Darzins well. We've got a rivalry with Kelowna. So I know Darzy, and [Ryan] Parent and [Cal] O'Reilly. Those [last two] are the guys who were drafted with me so I know those guys pretty good.
Photo by John Russell
Acquired: Sixth round, 2004 Entry Draft
Team: Boston University (H-East)
Q. How do you feel last season went for you both team-wise and personally?
A. First of all, the team did great. We ended up at the end of the season, before going to the playoffs, ranked the No. 1 team in the nation. I think in the second half of the year we were 21-1-2. So we really got things together and really came back strong after kind of a weak first half. So I was really excited and it was a good thing to be a part of. Personally, I thought I had an OK year. Obviously not a year I would have hoped to have had, but it's something to build off of and just get ready for next year.
Q. What are your thoughts about this experience and getting the opportunity to come here?
A. Coming down here is great. Obviously meeting a bunch of different players I could be playing with in the future. Kind of experiencing a bunch of different cultures too--we've got some guys from Europe and Canada--and finding out how things work where they play.
Q. When you were drafted in 2004, where were you and how did you find out?
A. I was actually working at a camp. I think it was a Sunday morning when I found out. It was just an honor to have your name chosen and to have someone think highly of you. I was pretty excited for it to be Nashville. I hear nothing but good things about the organization so it was really exciting.