The Aberdeen Wings wrapped up their 2015 Pre-Draft Evaluation Camp in Mendota Heights, Minnesota over the weekend. The camp was well attended by players in hopes of being drafted by the Wings in the upcoming 2015 NAHL Draft on June 9th.
"We were very pleased with the skill level of many of the players,” said Wings head coach Francis Anzalone. “Particularly the younger guys who may not play for us next year, but are great prospects for down the road.”
The camp saw prospective players placed on scrimmage teams to show their skills in a team environment. The camp reached its maximum entries at the goaltender position, mainly because the Aberdeen Wings have been a hot-bed for Division I goaltenders and NHL draft picks.
Along with head coach Francis Anzalone, other team representatives that attended the camp were Wings owner Greg Odde, Director of Scouting Mike Grattan, regional scouts Dan Strot and Gordie Brown, and Director of Media & Marketing Aaron Smith, as well as some support staff.
"We were very impressed with the pace of the camp,” said Anzalone, who is entering his 2nd season as head coach. “The compete level was very high throughout the weekend and the enthusiasm of the players made the evaluation process very enjoyable for our staff."
The camp was organized into two phases and utilized two different formats. The first phase of camp on Friday allowed for shorter benches and numerous puck touches for each player. The second phase of camp was a more traditional, 4-line, three period regulation game mirroring the style of an NAHL game. Each player who attended the camp saw action in 5 games over the three days.
“The camp was well attended and provided us with an opportunity to see players in various circumstances in multiple games,” said Mike Grattan, the Wings Director of Scouting. “Based on the skill and pace of the camp we were happy to be able to extend a number of main camp invites as well as strengthen our draft board.”
Some players in attendance are not exactly being scouted for the upcoming 2015-2016 season, but rather developing a look for those who wish to play in the NAHL following their AAA/midget/high school career. Those players offered the scouting staff the opportunity to build a recruiting class which could result in mid-season tender contracts or future draft picks.
“We view the Pre-Draft Camp not just as an evaluation tool for the present, but also as a way to begin building our book on future prospects,” added Anzalone. “We always enjoy that part of the process.”
The next step for the Aberdeen Wings will be the 2015 NAHL Draft on June 9th. Wings fans can follow the draft live at www.NAHLDraft.com or view each Wings selection by following them on Facebook and Twitter. Those players drafted by the Wings, returning players, new acquisitions, and players who received an invited will report to Main Camp July 16-19.
The Wings would like to thank all the players for their efforts and would also like to thank the officials, the staff at the St. Thomas Ice Arena and our host hotel, the Hampton Inn in Eagan, for a great weekend in Mendota Heights.