Colorado Avalanche prospects: The Point Of Prospect Development Camps


When the Colorado Avalanche prospects stepped onto the ice for the first time during their 2015 development camp, it became instantly clear that the goal is not to get the players ready for the season. It was a lot of skating, skating, skating and — oh, did I mention skating? But can’t you do that during the season? What’s the whole point of prospect development camps and how are they really developed?

The Colorado Avalanche’s official website gave us some insight via David Oliver, director of player development.

"“To be honest with you, I’m not into scrimmaging in the beginning of July. I’m sure everybody standing up in the crowd would like to see them scrimmage. I’m all about the process of player development. That’s my job. I take a lot of pride in it, and I don’t want our guys ready to play hockey in July. I want them to play hockey in September and be at the top of their game.The emphasis on skating and training and your physical abilities that will carry over into your play in September and give you the best opportunity to be a good pro, that’s our job as a development team.”"

While it becomes clear that scrimmaging and such is purposely not part of the camp, the most important part of that quote is the last sentence. Work on skating and physical ability “will carry over into your play in September and give you the best opportunity to be a good pro.” That means two things.

Firstly, the week is all about developing players’ fundamentals. It is not about them practicing their shot, their passing or any other puck skill. It is also not about getting stronger within a week. It is about learning the fundamentals that will allow the young players to grow physically and mentally and to improve their skill, when the club can’t help.

We have to remember that most of the players coming to development camp are still teenager and live the life of one.

The majority of players at development camp will not be with the club when the season starts. Therefore, the Avalanche’s coaches only have this short time in the summer to immediately intervene if there is something they want a player to know. They only have that short time to help their players to become better and have their coaches showing them how. So it is important to show them how they can become better players with whatever team they are with during the season, spread out all over the world.

Secondly, we have to remember that most of the players coming to development camp are still teenagers who are playing or have been playing in junior leagues. While you have to be serious about a hockey career to even play junior hockey and be drafted by an NHL team, you will also still be a teenager and live the life of one.

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To turn pro, you have to step that “being serious about a hockey career” game up a notch. You should probably really stop partying, watch your nutrition and totally focus on professionalism. You don’t know how to be professional unless somebody explains to you how to be professional. That’s another big focus at development camps. Give players “the best opportunity to succeed as a pro”.

Then, of course, there is still the obvious. Using the little bit of ice time you have to work on on-ice fundamentals like skating, with coaches that know what they are talking about — namely Tracy Tutton and Adam Foote.

Furthermore, development camps are a lot about team building. The Vancouver Canucks gave fans some insight on what that can look like (here).

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From when players first realize that they have enough potential to make it to the pros to actually being drafted by a team, it is all about showing off that you are good enough. Once the players join a professional team, it is of course still somewhat about individual success, but the team should stand above all else.

Don’t try that toe-drag around the defenseman when there is a wide-open teammate beside you. Pass the puck, be a team. Win together, lose together. It sounds simple, but it’s an important part of development camps.

The Colorado Avalanche prospects did not see a lot of ice time with the puck during their development camp. Hopefully, this could give you some insight on what happens off the ice and what that whole event is really about.

Next: Winners And Losers Of Development Camp

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