Florida Panthers’ Development Camp enters its third day on Wednesday with a beach workout and some community service scheduled for the only day without an on-ice component.
Monday’s sessions consisted of mostly skating and passing drills, and the players underwent medical screening and a physical test at the practice facility’s gym.
Tuesday’s sessions again included skating and passing, but added some full-ice shooting drills and 3-on-3’s near the end. Following the on-ice session, the players were taken to Whole Foods to learn about nutrition and healthy eating habits.
“Trocheck is sitting next to me in the room giving me little pointers about how to make the coach happy and stuff like that. I received text messages from Gudbranson. All great guys. You can tell it’s a classy organization.”
-- Aaron Ekblad
“Vinnie [Trocheck], he’s been great. You can tell why he’s played in the NHL already. He works hard. He’s skilled, he’s a good player to watch.”
-- Jayce Hawryluk, Florida’s 2nd round (32nd overall) pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, on who he has liked watching at Development Camp
“Our future is very bright in this organization, so to have this opportunity to be able to work with first-rounders, second-rounders that are elite players, even our sixth, seventh-rounders they are not only great hockey players but they are fabulous people.”
-- Director of Player Development, Brian Skrudland
THOUGHTS FROM FORWARD ROCCO GRIMALDI
How is camp going so far?
It’s been good. It’s been good to see everyone again that you know and just to meet some new guys and kind of see how they are off the ice, you know them a little bit on the ice so it’s been good to meet some new guys.
You’ve been to camp before – does that help you step into more of a leadership role?
Yeah, I think so for sure. When I was a first year guy here, I had great guys that had been here two, three, four years that really showed me around, and showed me the ropes and everything. So I just want to do that for the guys that are here, make them more comfortable, hopefully help them so they can have some more fun on the ice, and not squeeze the stick too tight.
Do you have a different approach after signing with the Panthers?
Yeah, I am definitely here for a reason. Last year was kind of more just come to camp, learn as much as I can and then go back to school, focusing on that year. Now, it’s kind of part one of a three-part phase. Hopefully making the team at the end of the year so it’s definitely a little added motivation and different mindset but fairly similar in some ways too.
What’s next, how do you make the team?
I just think by working hard, getting better at everything that I can: skating, stickhandling, shooting, just everything that I can. Just doing everything a little faster because the next level is a little faster. I think my speed is good but I can always get faster, and I keep working on it with my coach back home. My biggest thing is my confidence, I think that if I am confident, I can do anything I put my mind to. I am just going to work on being confident and believing and trusting in myself.
Have you thought about the possibility of being in San Antonio?
I have always been told to focus on the big picture and obviously that is definitely something that could happen but I’m not focused on that, I am focused on making the team right now, but I won’t be shocked or upset if it does happen. I’m just going to go back to work and keep getting in the gym, keep getting on the ice and keep getting better and hopefully make that team [the Panthers] eventually.
THOUGHTS FROM DEFENSEMAN MACKENZIE WEEGAR
How is camp going?
It’s going well, just as I expected, a lot of top notch guys here, a lot of good D, great D actually. It’s been a good pace has been great and everyone here has been playing well so it’s a good competition.
What are you looking forward to as you make transition from juniors to pros?
Looking forward to everything, being a pro hockey player, playing in San Antonio, getting to know everybody, developing as a player and getting better. My ultimate goal is to get better every day and hopefully make it to Florida one day.
What’s your biggest surprise been?
It’s always been speed. The speed here is just on another level. You got guys like Matheson, McCoshen, Ekblad, Barkov, they’re all great skaters and have that pro ability.
What’s it like getting out there with all the talented young defensemen coming through the system?
It’s good – you learn from them, see what they’re like and what their strengths are and what I can improve on to be like them. Even though you’re their age, you learn from them. Their speeds great and the competitions great so it makes you a better player.
Who has impressed you?
Obviously, Ekblad is pretty good. He’s got everything you want in a defenseman. He’s younger than me, but I’m still learning from watching him skate and move the puck.