This is the third year that you have participated in the Sabres development camp. Do you find yourself taking more of a leadership role?
"I think I have but it’s nothing that I pay too much attention to. I think as you get older you try to help out, naturally, and the coaching staff has even put us in front of the lines this year to show the guys how to do the drills right. At the same time- I can’t really call myself old, I’m 20 years old- but I guess it’s a push for some of us ‘older’ guys because these young guys are going to be the ones coming after our jobs next."
What was your first development camp like?
"You remember your first camp when you were 18 years old and being kind of awestruck. But you figure it out by the end of the week. I remember I was scared to death. I didn’t know what to expect and it was kind of all thrown at me all at once. But this is my third year now so I kind of know better now and can prepare myself accordingly to make sure I’m up to standards."
Who was one person who helped you along in your first camp?
"Daniel Paille was probably the biggest one. He was there my first year. He was a guy coming around making sure everyone knew how to get back to the hotel and knew where they were going to eat. He was the guy I looked up to then. Hopefully I am as good as he was. He was an excellent leader for us."
What kind of advice did he give you?
"He was just extremely helpful with anything that guys needed. If they didn’t know where to go to dinner, if they didn’t know how to get somewhere he would help them or take them out to dinner. Just that and with little things on the ice, he was working hard and showing guys what it takes to get to the NHL."
What do you have to do to attain a permanent job in the NHL?
"A lot of work. Early mornings in the gym and on the ice. We still have a couple months here until main camp starts so there is still a lot of room for improvement. Hopefully I can come in this camp and make the team.
"You always have to improve on the things you are already good at and obviously there are some areas I need to get better at - my feet in the corners and my timing aspect in the game, slowing things down in my head. I just want to work on those things in the offseason here."
What can you get out of participating in this camp?
"For a player like me it helps me with the skills I might not use all the time and give me a little bit more of an edge with my stick-handling, skating... this morning we worked on power skating which you don’t get a lot of chances to do in the regular season. In the summer time it’s a great chance to improve on those skills."