Thanks to Dan D’Uva, who set up a phone chat with myself and Trenton Devils head coach Kevin Dean today. I was in the middle of watching the Rays-Rangers ALDS — I’ll be covering the Yankees-Twins ALDS series and was studying this series since I’ll get to do the ALCS as well if the Yankees advance — so I had to switch into hockey mode pretty quickly when the phone rang.
I also had to go into scramble mode, since I didn’t have anything prepared…but here’s what I’ve got for ya:
— I asked Dean about the level of talent he’s been receiving thanks to the depth in the organization, as well the players he may still receive.
“With the depth we have now, you know there’s going to be good players coming down here,” he said, “You just didn’t know who they’re going to be.”
Dean said everything was status quo with the roster today, which is significant given the glut of forwards Albany currently has. He made a good point, saying that with New Jersey’s roster being light and Albany’s being heavy, there’s a lot in flux right now at the top two levels.
— I also asked Dean if he noticed an increased level of competition in camp given the large amount of players for so few spots, and while he said he did sense a feeling of “internal competition,” he also said he felt that given he’s a new coach, even players who have been around will be working harder.
— Dean said he is keeping track of what other teams in the league are doing, but given his unfamiliarity with a lot of the names, that he’s relying on assistant coach Vince Williams for a lot of info on the opposition.
— The first-year head coach is happy with his first training camp as a bench boss, saying he’s “pleased with the pace and energy” so far at this year’s camp.
— Dean said he got to watch Trevor Kell a lot during New Jersey’s camp and felt he had a very good camp.
“His skating keeps getting better and better,” Dean said.
— I asked Dean about the demotion of Jeff Prough, and if there was any concern about a player having a poor attitude about having to return to the ECHL when he’s clearly played his way out of the league after two straight 30-goal seasons.
“I don’t see that with Jeff,” Dean said.
“That’s something you have to be in tune with. Guys are going to be disappointed when they get sent down, and they should be. Hopefully, you can turn it into a positive.”
— Dean also commented on the release of Eric Castonguay, and his subsequent signing by Reading. You may recall that Castonguay played for Lowell last year, where Dean was an assistant.
“We felt like we made a good offer to try to bring him back, but Eric wanted to go in a different direction,” said Dean, noting that Chris Lamoriello and Castonguay had a dialogue about the matter.
“In the end, he felt like maybe he’d get a better look, a better opportunity with a different organization.”
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com