Originally drafted by the St. Louis Blues in 2012, things didn’t work out between the Blues and overage defenceman Nick Walters, but things changed for him this summer.
On July 3rd, the veteran defenceman from Spruce Grove, AB signed an Amateur Tryout Agreement with the Columbus Blue Jackets and this week he’s headed to camp.
“I’m just going to go there with an open mind and hope to learn something. The longer I stay there it means I’m doing something right, so if it’s 5 days that awesome, if it’s 2 or 3 weeks hopefully I go there and just be like a sponge and learn some things to bring back here.”
Walters joined the hockey club in November 2013 after a trade with the Brandon Wheat Kings and in his 46 games with Lethbridge last season he registered 9 points (2G, 7A). Overall, in his 241 career WHL games, he’s registered 52 points, including 43 assists as well as 341 penalty minutes.
The 20-year old arrived at training camp ready for the season and ready to be one of the veteran leaders on the team. While he heads to camp with just a couple of pre-season games under his belt he feels ready for Columbus. “There’s a lot of guys who aren’t drafted and 20 years old this year they don’t usually come back and do camp. They stay training and wait but coming back to Lethbridge, I got my pace back in the game on the ice. It’s one thing to come to camp and say you’re in shape but once you’re actually on the ice and playing it’s different than summer skates and working out during the day. I was glad I came, I got to work with some of the coaches especially the new coach Bryan Maxwell; I learned a lot from him in the last 3 weeks or month I’ve been here… I got my game legs under me.”
Nick and the Blue Jackets will compete at the Annual NHL Prospect Tournament, which will be held from September 12-16 in Traverse City, Michigan.
Meanwhile, 2014 6th round Minnesota Wild draft pick Reid Duke is also headed back to an NHL camp.
Duke attended the Wild’s development camp the week following the NHL Draft and he feels even more prepared heading into action this week.
“I had a good development camp and obviously they saw some things in me, they said to keep it up, have a good summer and hopefully I’ll get in some exhibition games.”
Like Walters, Duke and the Wild will also participate in the Prospects Tournament in Traverse City, Michigan. The eight-team tournament also features the Detroit Red Wings, St. Louis Blues, Buffalo Sabres, Carolina Hurricanes, Dallas Stars and New York Rangers.
The Lethbridge Hurricanes wish both Nick and Reid the best of luck at camp with Columbus and Minnesota.