After a busy week in Nashville hosting the NHL Awards and the 2023 draft, the Predators have not had too much time to themselves lately.
“This week is going to go well,” forward Kalan Lind said after Day 1 of camp. “I can already tell we have a great staff out there and all the guys have been great since I’ve been here.”
It’s an adjustment for the new faces in the Predators organization, but for Lind he was already working well with a skater picked three spots ahead him just days ago. They were picked minutes apart in Nashville during Round 2 and immediately hit it off.
“Yeah, it was pretty cool,”Lind said of playing with fellow second rounder Felix Nilsson. “I think we found a little bit of chemistry earlier even though we’re not playing games — finding the backdoor passes or the seam passes.”
During 2-on-1 drills, the duo was quick with their decisions and precise on their shots — something NHL skaters hone in on more often with line-mates as the regular season gets going. In this case, the rookies were making the most of their first development camp.
“I just try to enjoy it,” Nilsson told 102.5 The Game during the draft. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity — I just try to enjoy this with my family.”
The pair had never met prior to the draft and now have developed some chemistry on and off the ice.
“I’m from a small town back in Saskatchewan, so it’s pretty country vibes down there,” Lind said. “I get to come here and it’s country all over the main strip so It’s pretty cool and I’m excited to be part of this organization.”
There is varying levels of professional hockey experience from top to bottom at camp. Recently retired Predators defenseman Mark Borowiekci has moved from third-pairing blue-liner to professional development coach. He joined Rob Scuderi, Nathan Gerbe, Scott Ford, Greg Rallo and Sebastien Bordeleau on the coaching staff for the week.
There’s a combined 1,938 games of NHL experience and 1,983 games of AHL experience between all of the coaches. Having nearly 4,000 games of pro experience will come in handy in helping top prospects with their development.
“They’ve been through the whole game — they’ve been through the [AHL] level, most of them and been to the NHL,” Lind said. “They know the way of the game and you’re going to listen to them and what they tell you and take their advice and roll it into your game and try to figure out thing they can help you with.”
Throughout camp, the focus has been to work on situational drills. For example, the defensemen have worked on moving and shooting the puck from the blue-line.
— Nick Kieser 🏒 (@KieserNick) July 3, 2023
Gerbe’s specialty at development camp has been working with the forwards, whether it’s shooting for accuracy or knocking the rust off their shot, getting crisp passes from a former NHLer will surely help the 29 skaters present at camp.
Nathan Gerbe working with forwards. pic.twitter.com/tbFB6D0CTi
— Nick Kieser 🏒 (@KieserNick) July 2, 2023
Prospects will have a yoga session and a guest speaker on July 4 and then head over to Top Golf for the afternoon.
The next on-ice sessions will be Wednesday at 10:15 a.m. at Centennial Sportsplex. The Future Stars will be held on Thursday at 10:30 a.m.
Follow Nick Kieser on Twitter: @KieserNick
(Photo of Kalan Lind via Nashville Predators)