Prospect Profile: John Negrin
Breaking into the AHL in 2009, the 22 year-old defenceman had high hopes of shining with Abbotsford Heat. Instead, he has played in just 69 contests over the last two seasons thanks to knee injuries.
He did admit it was a bit discouraging at times, sitting on the sidelines and watching his teammates battle away, but chose to use his downtime in a positive manner.
"I haven't been on the ice much in the last two years because of injuries," he said. "Those things happen in this sport. It's a very physical sport. You've just got to stay positive and move through it.
"For me, I look at it as a learning process. I learned a lot about my game. I watched a lot of hockey."
"I feel really good," he said. "I had surgery before last summer's (development camp) and I got an opportunity to work but this summer is really nice. I've got a full summer to work at it and I've already been working for about four months on my legs.
"I feel really good on the ice and I'm just excited. I'm excited to have two more months before training camp and go out there and prove myself."
Watching him run through drills at camp, it is hard to tell the blueliner has been hampered by injuries. He, T.J. Brodie and Chris Breen all look like they have a legitimate shot of pushing for a roster spot this fall thanks to their steady performance at the Don Hartman Northeast Sportsplex last week.
"I feel pretty good ... The fitness testing was obviously hard, it's a grind, but it's good to get on the ice.
"It's mid-summer and guys are working into it but we all feeling pretty good."
He also took on a leadership role within the locker room. Last week marked Negrin's fifth development camp with the club and with an adundance of new young faces, the older players made sure everyone felt comfortable.
"I've been here a few times now so being one of the older guys is good," he smiled. "Help them out and if there's any issues or anything, just be there for them."
While many of his fellow prospects may take some off from training during the summer, Negrin has chosen to go full-tilt now that he is healthy and has no plans to slow down now that development camp has wrapped up.
"Right at the start of summer I started skating. Working on my power skating. Working on my stride. Also, physically just working out. I'm going to go back to Vancouver probably and I've got a good set-up there with my trainer and a power skater and just work at it."
Adding to Negrin's motivation is general manager Jay Feaster's speech before the prospects hit the ice last week. He made sure every player knew the club wants to inject youth into the roster and that the team will give every guy a chance to make it.
"It's cool when they're going in there with that mindset so it gives everyone here an opportunity to step up and show their skills. For those young guys, it gives them that confidence to know that there is a chance and just work hard and go for it."
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