Barry Trotz looks forward to the day when some of the Nashville Predators’ prospects become full-time NHL players. So much so, in fact, that he wants to take an earlier look at some of them this September.
The coach on Thursday said that the Predators likely will stage a “rookie camp” in advance of their 2009 training camp.
Trotz said the most likely scenario is that first-year pros and other select prospects with little to no NHL experience will be put through several days of workouts and multiple scrimmages prior to the official start of training camp.
“We’re toying with the idea of a camp before the regular training camp, which allows us a little longer time to look at some of those players,” he said.
The Predators’ 2009 training camp will open Sept. 12, he added.
“My focus at training camp usually is on our team right now and not what it’s going to be five years from now,” Trotz said.
The team also will hold their annual prospects’ conditioning camp July 6-13, which will feature recent draft picks including those taken in this year’s selection process. Among the young players currently under contract are 2008 first-round selections Colin Wilson and Chet Pickard, and 2007 first-round choice Jonthan Blum.
In its first few seasons, Nashville participated in a prospects tournament in Traverse City, Mich., with several other franchises. Last season, two rookie games with Atlanta were held during the first week of training camp.
Trotz said any rookie camp this year would include reciprocation on those two games with the Thrashers’ prospects, this time in Atlanta.
“It will be a real good chance for us to get to know our young players even better and give them some special attention,” Trotz said.