The Columbus Blue Jackets welcomed their prospects to the city with a full day on Tuesday for the start of the team’s development camp.
The day began very early for them – 6:45 a.m. – with official headshots in the locker room at Nationwide Arena. Once that was accomplished, the prospects took to some grueling off-ice fitness testing with the team’s strength and conditioning coach, Kevin Collins and his staff. The workouts weren’t limited to the facilities at Nationwide Arena; the young men were bussed to Upper Arlington High School to use the school’s track for some running drills. After a team lunch at Nationwide and some rest at their hotel, the prospects were ready for the camp’s first on-ice practice at the OhioHealth Ice Haus.
With General Manager Scott Howson and head coach Todd Richards and his staff looking on from the stands, Springfield Falcons coach Brad Larsen led the young men through a very intense practice, making them run drills until they were done perfectly. Standing out in practice were Joonas Korpisalo, one of four goaltenders at the camp, and the 2012 NHL Draft‘s second overall pick, Ryan Murray. Korpisalo was compared to Nashville Predators netminder Pekka Rinne with regards to size and net presence, while Murray impressed everyone with his puck skills and his wrist shot. Other notable prospects were Ryan Johansen, who had bulked up since the end of the season, and Daniel Zaar, who was fast on the ice and a crack shot with the puck.
Two of the prospects ended the day by participating in the city’s Fourth of July festivities. Murray and fellow 2012 draftee Oscar Dansk were part of the annual Red, White and BOOM! parade, which also featured the Blue Jackets Ice Crew, the team’s signature cannon and team mascot Stinger.
Day two of development camp will be held at the Ice Haus with a 10:30 a.m. on-ice practice.