RALEIGH, N.C. – Following their first practice session on Monday at PNC Arena to begin this year’s Carolina Hurricanes Prospect Camp, goaltender Daniel Altshuller and forward Brock McGinn couldn’t have felt better.
As veterans of the orientation process and itinerary that recent draft picks and invitees were trying to get an understanding of, the keeper and the young power forward already have their path laid out to follow.
Altshuller, the Hurricanes’ third round pick (69th overall) in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, signed his entry-level contract (ELC) with the Hurricanes on Dec. 20, 2013, while McGinn, Carolina’s second pick (47th overall) in that same draft, inked his ELC on Apr. 3, 2013.
Both have returned to this camp looking to prepare for being on the ice with the big club when training camp begins on Sept. 11.
“I’m really excited,” Altshuller said.
“Previous years I didn’t have really have an opportunity to be with the organization the coming year. This year I have a shot and I just wanna’ come here and work my hardest and hopefully good things will come out of it.”
After finishing an exceptional season with a 31-13-3 record with a 2.56 goals against average to go along with a .917 save percentage while tending the net for his OHL club, the Oshawa Generals, Altshuller believes he has made significant improvement since his appearance in Raleigh last summer.
“In Oshawa, I worked on my hands, tracking pucks, and playing pucks off the rush,” Altshuller continued.
“I feel like down low my game is pretty strong and I have to work on my hands, but I’ve felt like I’ve worked on that a lot.”
For McGinn, an 85-point season (43g, 42a) with 45 penalty minutes in 58 regular-season games to go along with 12 points (6g, 6a) in 12 playoff games capped off his career with the Guelph Storm as a member of an OHL-champion and Memorial Cup-finalist squad.
“After these last couple of years in Guelph, I feel like that I have established myself as more of a complete player, not just a physical player, but one that creates space for his linemates,” McGinn said.
“This year really helped me with my confidence, providing more offense for my team as well as going out there and battling every game.”
After not participating in the Hurricanes’ development camp following the 2012 draft due to a left wrist injury suffered during the 2011-2012 season with Guelph, McGinn feels that the injury has healed well and hasn’t hampered his development further.
“I know with wrist problems, there have definitely been a lot of setbacks there,” McGinn said.
“I feel I’ve just got to really focus on my upper body and get that a lot stronger. With these last four surgeries on my wrist, I lost a lot of upper body strength, and now I just gotta’ focus more on that in workouts to make my body that much stronger.”
McGinn said he had his last surgery, a minor procedure, last December.
“It’s cleaned it up a lot and I haven’t had any problems since that last one.”
Although maintaining and developing a strong and solid upper body may not be as important for Altshuller to use in the same way that McGinn will, the netminder isn’t neglecting that part of his development either.
With a six-foot-three-inch, 200-pound frame, the keeper has tried to increase his strength and size as well.
“The tape measure says half an inch, so I’ll take every little bit I can,” he said with a smile.
“My mindset is to work hard and play my best. I feel like I can make the jump to the next level, and hopefully they’ll see that too and good things will come of it.”
For McGinn, playing with and through a wrist injuty for two years didn’t slow him down from posting 31 more total points than his previous junior year.
His exceptionally strong mindset has been the key for him to keep the momentum going to push him forward and to help him keep a strict focus on becoming a pro.
“Right now, definitely my goal is to make the team,” McGinn said.
“You never want to down yourself from not making the team, so you want to come in with that confidence that you are gonna’ make the team.”