Scott, Stal­lard add ex­pe­ri­ence, lead­er­ship from NHL camps

Prince Albert Daily Herald - - SPORTS - EVAN RAD­FORD

Prince Al­bert Raiders goalie Ian Scott al­ways knew that team­mate Parker Kelly plays like a pest.

But he only ex­pe­ri­enced it first­hand over the sum­mer with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Drafted in the fourth round (110th over­all) by the Leafs, Scott played against Kelly and the Ot­tawa Sen­a­tors in a game for each re­spec­tive team’s rookie camp show­case.

The tena­cious for­ward didn’t score any goals, and though he came close to it, Scott says an­other mem­ory sticks out for him about Kelly.

“I re­mem­ber him break­ing my stick be­hind the net one time,” Scott said with a chuckle.

That, plus try­ing to see pucks around Kelly, who’d park right in front of his net, made Scott ap­pre­ci­ate hav­ing the Sen­a­tors’ signee as a team­mate rather than an op­po­nent in the WHL, he said.

Scott and fel­low team­mate Jordy Stal­lard en­ter the 201718 season as two of the Raiders’ four re­turnees from NHL train­ing camps over the late sum­mer and early fall. (Kelly and de­fence­man Vo­jtech Budik are the other two play­ers.)

The 18-year-old net­min­der says that the speed of the NHL was one of the first things that struck him.

“I picked up my pace. Plays hap­pen a lot quicker. You gotta be al­most one step ahead,” he said.

To that end, Leafs’ starter Fred­erik An­der­sen was help­ful in teach­ing him that at the rink – on or off the ice – it’s al­ways busi­ness; re­lax­ing and un­wind­ing only hap­pens away from the rink.

Scott wouldn’t say whether for­wards Aus­ton Matthews and Wil­liam Ny­lan­der sniped any shots past him, but he did say that play­ing along­side them put the game in per­spec­tive.

“Those big-name guys dur­ing main camp and prac­tices: It was the skill they have and the hockey sense they have; their shots and ac­cu­racy, it was a real eye-opener,” he said.

Scott said he hopes his ex­pe­ri­ences with the Leafs are some­thing he can con­trib­ute to help team­mates Ni­cholas San­ders and Cur­tis Meger, es­pe­cially as the lat­ter two shoul­der the load for Scott while he’s out with a lower-body in­jury.

“We all lean on each other in the room. There are things I can learn from them, and there are things they can ask me about. So I think it’s just a good cir­cle.”

Stal­lard was drafted by the Win­nipeg Jets in 2016 in the fifth round of the NHL draft (127th over­all), and he fin­ished his sec­ond camp with the prairie hockey team this year.

“It’s a dream come true to be able to get drafted,” he said. “But you get there and you get your eyes opened to what it’s like to be a pro player and what level you have to be at,” he said.

“As far as game­play, it’s the speed and the level of how pro­fes­sional ev­ery­one is on and off the ice,” Stal­lard said.

Skat­ing and play­ing with Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele helped ac­cli­ma­tize him to the pro-level de­mands that he’ll be ex­pected to meet, he said.

Now en­ter­ing his fourth year in the WHL and des­ig­nated as one of the team’s al­ter­nate cap­tains, the 20-year-old cen­tre said that also deal­ing with a shoul­der in­jury gave him an added bit of men­tal tough­ness.

The in­jury in­cluded surgery and six months of re­hab­bing his shoul­der, ef­fec­tively end­ing his 2016-17 season eight games af­ter the Raiders traded for him from Cal­gary.

“(It) tested my men­tal strength at times, but in the end I think it was good for me, be­cause I know what I have to do to get to the next level now.”

He’s also look­ing for­ward to im­prov­ing his de­fen­sive zone game, which the Jets as­signed him to work on through­out the season, along with get­ting big­ger and stronger, he said.

Head coach Marc Hab­scheid says he’s seen the change his vet­eran cen­tre­man.

“Go­ing to camps, your con­fi­dence al­ways im­proves. But it seems like he wants to make a dif­fer­ence, he wants to take charge, he wants to be the guy,” Hab­scheid said.

That means Hab­scheid and the team’s coaches are ex­pect­ing to see re­sults from the Jets’ draftee.

“He’s put in of­fen­sive sit­u­a­tions, so to whom much is given, much is ex­pected. He’s gotta pro­duce for us of­fen­sively and as a leader as well. At the same time, he’s gotta play well de­fen­sively,” he said.


Prince Al­bert Raiders cen­tre Jordy Stal­lard fol­lows the puck dur­ing a drill at prac­tice on Tues­day at the Art Hauser Cen­tre.

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