Just like that, it’s over. The hockey action will now go largely dark until early September.
Fear not, though, there’s still quite a bit of content coming — including a pair of articles with some final thoughts for this week’s Development Camp.
First up, below are some parting thoughts from coach Mike Donnelly. Along with guys like Jarret Stoll, Matt Greene, Sean O’Donnell and others, the Kings staff poured into a couple dozen prospects for five days – working on both individual skills and team concepts. We’ve pulled out a few selected quotes and provided the full audio for anybody interested.
Donnelly on overall impressions and any standouts:
I think I have to start off with this – you look at the guys that have been here, like Sammy [Fagemo], I think him coming here, it’s his third year and he got better every day. He even admitted it to me today, he said, ‘I’m so glad I came.’ So I think in your organization, if you have guys like that, that are not not afraid to come back to a Development Camp thinking, ‘All these new kids are coming in…’ but he wants to get better and he wants to make the NHL, so it was awesome for him. We were able to fine tune some of the skills we believe are really important for playing in the NHL and playing every day. He bought in, he worked hard, so he stood out. Same with Arty [Kaliyev]. He’s so focused and he wants to get better. You could see, he played hard.
That’s my first takeaway. And I think that when I go over all of the whole camp, it’s probably one of the best of all the camps that I can remember, as a whole – like the talent level, the compete level, the skill level was really, really high.
On if there were any players who stood out more in the scrimmages than they did in the specific drills:
[Brandt Clarke], when the puck drops, he’s just a gamer. The other day, there was like 5 seconds left in the game and his legs were over the boards. He wants to get out here. The kid wants to play; he just loves it. We saw some of that like with Drew when he was young too, he just wants to play. When we fine tune some of his skills, and work on some of the things that we believe that he’s a little behind on – like work on his shooting and his hands – it’s gonna make a big difference in his game.
On 2022 second round pick Jack Hughes:
It’s a hard week, it’s a really hard week. You saw, right away on day one, we’re going right into the pit and we’re doing battle drills. We’re teaching them how when they go into the corner with a bigger player, ‘How are you gonna come out with the puck?’ So we have to teach these kids that. It hasn’t been important so far in their hockey career. It hasn’t been emphasized, it hasn’t been driven home. We have to drive it home.
I saw him make some plays today. Maybe he wasn’t like flying through the neutral zone, but he made some good plays offensively. That’s what he excels in – he sees it around the net, he’s a pass-first guy, and he’s trying to create offense for his linemates. He has really good vision and he has really good hockey sense. This was a great camp for him. He was so excited. He said, ‘This is awesome. I want to get better every day.’ You could see it; when we start doing some of these fundamental training things for positional play, they struggle with it. But by the end of it, they’re like, ‘Hey, you know what I’m starting to feel more comfortable. I’m starting to pick this up.’ This is the thing we want. It’s not just a one day and then it’s out of your head. You have to bank this. You have to put in your memory bank. I’m telling them, ‘Put it in your phone.’ There’s a lot of information they’re getting in four days. It’s not like we’re dropping the puck and we’re scrimmaging, then we’re saying, ‘Who’s the better player?’ It doesn’t matter what round [you were taken in]. You can see it in our organization, it doesn’t matter. No matter what pick you are, I have to make sure that you’re ready to play. Same with our defensive development guys; they have to do the same.
There are things that we believe in that we have to teach our players or they’re never going to play; or they’re never going to have a chance to play. And I think they’re buying into it. This is all different teaching for these kids. They’re not used to this, right? So it’s different for them, but I think it’s what sets us apart from other organizations, as far as how we teach and what we demand is an organization.
Comments about the prospects as a group:
Our scouts are amazing, these kids are fun. I come to the rink thinking, ‘These kids are awesome.’ I can’t wait to help them. They really are good kids. So our scouts do an unbelievable job, as far as getting kids that have good character that want to work hard. Not one time this week did we have a kids that wouldn’t make eye contact with you or they have bad body language. It’s been an amazing week. And, like I said, it’s one of the top ones I can remember.
The full 12-plus minutes of audio with Donnelly can be found at the bottom of this article. It includes comments on Sammy Helenius, Franky Pinelli, Alex Laferriere, the art of development, key fundamentals, off-ice training, culture, and so much more.
Note to webmasters/reporters: When recapping news or interviews from this site please remember to include a link to www.MayorsManor.com