Today is a day to forget the present and think of the future. It’s time to focus on the new prospects.
Development camp is fully underway, and there should be a scrimmage on Saturday to give us some fun highlights. Leading up to that, the players have been working and having some fun on and off the ice.
New guy first:
He’s a lot of fun, and his story is making the rounds now. He was born prematurely, had a struggle to survive, and his parents moved around a lot for his and his brother’s hockey career.
“I’d rather be a 53rd pick than a late first round because Toronto is the best spot.”
Listen to him talk about his path to the draft, but in particular the Babcock Halloween story. “My goal one day is for him to not give me candy, but give me shifts.”
With a 1999 birthdate, this Nick is older than most in the draft, but you can see what John Lilley was talking about. He doesn’t look fully bulked up yet. He’s going to the NCAA, so we might not see much of him for a while.
I think Hollowell disappeared in Sean Durzi’s shadow last summer, but now, after just walking onto the Marlies and acting like pro hockey was right where he belonged, we need to get to know him.
You can’t watch him and not picture him running around Peterborough with Robertson charming everyone they meet.
He seems to have really loved his short time on the Growlers, and he talks about his experience last year at training camp. Will he get in any preseason games this year? He says it’s not up to him, but he’ll just work hard and see what happens.
Someone in this scrum knows his stuff about Jukerit, Kokkonen’s club team. Stick tap to that fellow, and I bet Kokkonen was a little shocked to be talking about his Liiga team’s makeup to Toronto media.
And now it’s goalie time.
Scott and Joseph Woll are so different, they need to be in a buddy comedy. Scott is fairly serious, and talks about using a sports psychologist to improve his game and his life in junior hockey.
Woll is a treat for me. I love listening to him. He’s funny and sensible and very good at handling the media. It’s hard to believe this guy hasn’t had his 21st birthday yet.
The highlight is him telling the story of one Auston Matthews coming and schooling the goalies in the younger age group at the USDTP. Second best is him describing his first Leafs practice this spring.
Okay, maybe the highlight is him talking about his hometown team (not his first favourite NHL team, though) winning the Stanley Cup.
Oh, and he’s three classes away from being a college graduate, and wow, do I see this guy in the Leafs (or the Blues) front office someday.
And now the big finish, the woman working to make these guys great, in her free time from medical school and being named to the HHOF. Great interview with Hayley Wickenheiser.