We spoke with Ottawa Senators conditioning coach Chris Schwarz about the current group of prospects he's working with at the 2015 Sens Development Camp.
On being satisfied with the shape everyone came to camp in:
I've been doing this for awhile and maybe 10 years ago you'd get 3 or 4 outliers who wouldn't show up in shape. Now, most of the guys are in shape. Our message to them is simple: "know what you need to know". We're here to help them find out what can make them better.
On the conditioning of the 2015 Sens draft class:
We've been talking with Pierre and the scouting staff who have been trying to find athletes. We want guys that can play hockey but are also athletes who understand the way that the game is going: faster. We're also looking for players that are receptive of the information we're giving them, players that can self-assess themselves and the guys that we have this year have been nothing but great. The format of Development Camp should really benefit them as well since they can follow the progression of the players that have been here 3 or 4 years and are a bit more comfortable with the process.
On which return players are standing out physically:
Guys like Ryan Dzingel, Max McCormick, Buddy Robinson...these are guys that really push the limit and are getting better and better every year. They're starting to figure out what they need to know to be a pro. They're right on the edge of making the team and are constantly looking for ways to develop.
On being able to spot which prospects are putting in the work away from Dev Camp:
It doesn't take long. You've got to remember that a lot of these guys got to where they are by doing things a certain way. The messaging now is: "it's great that you're at where you are right now but in order to play at the highest level you need to do that through development". They're not going to take everything in right away, it's a lot of information in their first year.
On using NHL players as motivation:
We talk to them about it all the time: better players are always trying to get better. Daniel Alfredsson is an athlete just like Erik Karlsson...they're guys that are driven by figuring out ways to get better. Maybe it's changing their skates or sticks or training in a different way, they're always trying to find the edge and that's what we're trying to teach these younger guys. To be a pro, you've got to act like a pro and you've got to train like a pro.