Kameron Kielly is looking forward to showcasing his skills against some top young hockey players.
The 22-year-old Charlottetown native will attend the NHL prospects showcase, Sept. 7-10, in Nashville, Tenn., with the Carolina Hurricanes. He had 42 and 43 points, respectively, in his first two seasons with the UPEI Panthers during the Atlantic University Sport’s (AUS) 30-game seasons.
“I think I developed a lot offensively over the last couple of years . . . but I think I’m (still) the same two-way forward,” said Kielly, who played four seasons with the Charlottetown Islanders major junior squad. “I think I can produce at the next level as well, so I think I can be an offensive guy but reliable in his own end.”
The six-foot, 185-pound forward is versatile enough to play both wing and centre and brings intangibles to his squad.
He has attended camps with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Los Angeles Kings and the Winnipeg Jets in the past and went to Hurricanes’ development camp earlier this summer. He received some good feedback and was excited when they invited him to September’s showcase.
He hasn’t set any goals for the upcoming camp and tournament against prospects from the Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals and Nashville Predators.
“This time of the year the anxiety kind of builds up. Everyone is nervous. We’re in the same boat, so once you get there (you just want to) settle in,” he said. “I just want to play my game, feel comfortable with my game at the end of the rookie tournament and let things play out and see what happens.”
Kielly, who has a semester left to finish his business degree, said he had a big summer working with Dave (Eli) MacEachern on adding strength and improving his speed.
“I’m not a huge guy so that was big for me,” he said. “I think, more importantly, was my skating. I worked a lot of my stride – my first three steps to be specific – just trying to optimize my skating to get to the next level.”
He also trained with the Island pros on and off the ice. The list includes Ryan MacKinnon, Ross Johnston, Ryan Graves, Josh Currie and more.
“We have a lot of pro guys who know their stuff. And I worked a handful of (skating) sessions with Jill Plandowski.”
Kielly rejoined the Panthers for the team’s first practice on Saturday morning and liked what he saw.
“I think our recruits are top end, second to none,” he said Tuesday. “I think everyone is optimistic and I’m just excited to get it rolling. It’s a pretty long off-season for us.”
Kielly leaves today for Carolina but he’s also watching hurricane Dorian to see if it leads to changes in his itinerary. Kielly is one of four Panthers attending camps. Rookies Kyle Maksimovich (Columbus) and twin brothers Drake and Darian Pilon (Minnesota) are the others.