The Heat opened up training camp on Monday morning at Stockton Arena but were short on numbers as the players that were released from Flames camp on Sunday afternoon had not made it to Stockton in time for the session.
Instead, the team rolled out two goaltenders, four defensemen and eight forwards for a total of 14 skaters. However, that certainly doesn’t mean the 14 in attendance weren’t in tip-top shape or hadn’t been skating, as the vast majority were with the Calgary Flames during their rookie or training camps. One such player is 25-year-old Jamie Devane, who found himself as one of the “old” guys on the ice today.
“The first day of camp was good,” Devane (pronounced Duh-VAN) said. “We were a little short on numbers, but I think the intensity was really good, we just have to work on execution now.”
Devane, a third round draft pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2009, is entering his fifth season of pro hockey and looks to be a quality guy to have around the younger guys. Having made it to “the show” with the Maple Leafs in 2013-14 and playing 180 AHL games, the big left winger is prepared for what Heat coaches ask of him.
“I want to be one of the guys that is a consistent hard worker and someone that the coaches can rely upon and trust; but I also want to be a leader for the young guys,” Devane said. “All of these guys are really skilled and very fast now-a-days, but the biggest thing I say to them is to come to camp and be consistent. Every day – work hard, and never take a day off. Come in with the intent to get better and you will.”
For a 6’5”, 231 lb. forward, you’d like to see guys like a Hunter Smith, who will naturally grab comparisons to Devane due to size and similar strengths to their games, align themselves with Devane and learn more about being a professional while also taking bits and pieces of his game and preparation to better theirs.
There’s no doubting that is exactly what the Calgary Flames brass hope happens. Certainly another reason why players like Devane, Matt Frattin, Mike Angelidis and Matt Bailey all found themselves up at Calgary camp. To acquaint themselves to new teammates and to begin the process of sharing information, tactics, behaviors and more with impressionable young men.
Much easier to make an impression too when you have NHL games on your resume. After all, no kid grows up wanting to play in the American Hockey League. So the young kids better work hard as taking a shift off just won’t be tolerated.
There certainly wasn’t any of that on day one of Heat camp, highlighted by a number of Devane – Keegan Kanzig battles along the boards.
Nothing like 6’5” colliding with an excited, impressionable, and ready to make an impact 6’7” defenseman to get AHL camp rolling! Devane could be seen smiling after a number of the battles on the ice and admitted after practice, that Kanzig was “a big boy” who was tough to move.
The same can be said about one of the Heat’s newest forwards and certainly, one of the youngest “old guys” on the ice in Stockton on Monday. Devane may be modest about being a resource for young guys, but according to HockeyFights.com, 32 AHL scraps to go along with 2 in the NHL and 3 with the ECHL’s San Francisco Bulls shows that Devane is more than just an encyclopedia of being a professional. He’s a protector, a team first guy, and an energy provider.
So Jamie…will there be a few fights this year to add to your total?
“Yeah,” Devane said with a smile, “I’m sure those will come along the way!”