By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express
With NHL training camp on the go, a few stalwarts from the Generals are missing from their own team’s camp.
The Gens have seven players working out with NHL teams this preseason.
This includes Serron Noel (Florida Panthers), Brett Neumann (New York Islanders), Mitchell Brewer (San Jose Sharks), Giovanni Vallati (Winnipeg Jets), Allan McShane (Montreal Canadiens), Nico Gross (New York Rangers), and Kyle MacLean (New York Islanders).
If a player makes their NHL roster, Generals vice president and general manager Roger Hunt says it’s difficult to know how to react.
“I think it’s always a bittersweet time [if they make the NHL],” says Hunt. “Devastating for the junior teams, but in another way it’s fantastic if you can develop a player to be ready to play in the greatest league in the world earlier than expected.”
Hunt explains it’s not only a credit to the Generals development program, but a credit to the player if they make the NHL.
“As much as it would be devastating, you would deal with it and be proud of what you’ve accomplished,” says Hunt.
Hunt can’t be sure if any of the players at NHL camps will start the season with their respective professional teams.
“These are capable hockey players, and depending on their depth at various positions from the NHL club, there’s always a risk that a player could leave here, especially the calibre of the guys that are attending camps from our team,” he says.
MacLean, the captain of the Generals as they made their deep playoff run, is a prime example, Hunt says.
“It’s a big loss for us to have MacLean away at this time of year, especially when teams are developing chemistry and developing their core, but I will say the guys that are left here, and have been left behind here, have learned an awful lot from Kyle,” says Hunt.
He says he can see some of the work MacLean has done as a leader translating over to the younger players from last season.
Hunt hopes the players who come back from NHL camp hit the ground running after playing against veteran players who have years of experience.
“[These players] are highly talented players,” says Hunt. “I expect that if they were to be back, I’m hoping they come back and hit the ground running and flying because they’ve been playing at that pace for a while.”
For Hunt, he hope these players played their best at their respective camps, and showed everyone what they’re capable of.