Final day of Prospect Camp is upon us
Today the Toronto Maple Leafs will wrap up a week long Prospects Camp in the wonderful town of Collingwood, Ontario.
Throughout the week the Baby Leafs have worked on nutrition, team bonding, and on-ice skill sessions. The highlights of the week must have been paintball and the games of ball hockey that were played outside.
When asked by Chris Lund of MapleLeafs.com, this is what Scott Pellerin had to say about those types of events…
“We want to create — what I see is paintball is a time for the guys to get away. You start creating relationships. They’re going to be teammates down the road and they’re going to sit back hopefully at some point as a Maple Leaf in their locker at the Air Canada Centre and say, ‘Hey remember that time we were in Collingwood playing paintball and you shot me in the backside?’ Those are the things. You create those relationships to be together. We want them to feel they’re able to do all of these things as a team”
An interesting and new part towards player development in Leafs Land is to ask where players feel they are best suited, positionally, as they move towards the NHL. This is what Coach Mike Babcock had to say after meeting with William Nylander in Collingwood…
“I just talked to him here obviously. He’s a kid with upside skill. I was just talking to him, asking him who he plays like and what he wants to be. He’s very clear that he feels he should play in the middle and he likes to have puck a lot. That’s a great thing. Now he has to work hard enough to have the puck a lot. He’s got developmental work to do obviously, he’s a kid, and it takes you a long time in this league to be an impact player for most of these kids. We’ve just got to keep helping him to be the player he’s capable of being. I just said to him that when he takes a job he’ll have a job. Real simple. Jobs aren’t given to anybody, you’ve got to take one and we now have I think 13 NHL forwards signed, if I’m not mistaken. If you’re one of these other guys you’ve got to take somebody’s job.”
Without question the Prospects Camp has enjoyed great weather, great team building and a very positive response from all of those involved. This is merely the first step, for many players such as newly drafted Mitch Marner, in their development towards becoming a NHL regular. Memories that were created this week are building blocks in generating a Blue and White bond that can, hopefully, last the greater part of decade.
Bring on Rookie Camp !!