As they do every summer, the Sharks are in the midst of their Development Camp for prospects in the organization. The Camp, which is closed to the public, will continue through Friday. The scope of players at the camp varies, but one thing is clear – everything is based on the premise of individual improvement instead of competition. There will be plenty of time for competition this fall at Training Camp.
“Our Development Camp is very important to our organization as a whole and the future success of the Sharks,” said Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan. “It is extremely important to the development of each individual’s career. It’s not a pressure type of environment. They are not being evaluated, they are not earning contracts. They are not making the team or being released from the team. There are a couple of ways of doing it, through repetition and through failure. Each of the kids will experience those while they are here.”
That makes is a much more relaxed atmosphere for the prospects trying new things.
“They definitely focus more on individual skill,” said Frazer McLaren. “There is also a focus on the same kind of stuff the Sharks are doing all year. It’s good and it helps out coming into Training Camp.”
From the Sharks standpoint, it is an opportunity to assist young players with their growth, whether that leads to them eventually playing games at HP Pavilion as a Shark or as a visitor with another squad.
“Not all of them will play for (us), but we feel we have a responsibility to try and make all of the individuals here better,” said McLellan. “We have a number of individuals that are at different levels. Each of them is getting some group instruction and some individual instruction which will not only help them today and tomorrow, but later in their career.”
Many such as McLaren have been to this camp before and are using the situation to tighten up a few areas in hopes of finding a roster spot as soon as this fall. Others have a pretty good idea they could return to their junior, college or European club, but will lay the groundwork to force the issue another year.
“After playing 20 some games last year, I feel I can play here,” said McLaren. “You come into camp wanting a full time spot and the Sharks have been good to the guys from Worcester. A lot of other guys are going to be pushing for those spots.”
While the players today are in great physical shape all year long, this is an early opportunity to actually be on the ice, a rarity for most professional players in July.
“It’s good to get back on skates and in the middle of summer,” said McLaren. “I don’t think too many guys skated a bunch coming into the camp. It’s good to get the rust out and have a good week of skating.”
The players are excited to get the hockey juices flowing again after a bit of rest.
“June provided a lot of down time,” said McLaren. “We can golf and all that good stuff.”
Through Friday though, it is all about improving as a hockey player.