New York Islanders prospects have been skating over the last three days at Northwell Ice Center in East Meadow, NY. While most of them have not had experience at the NHL level, let alone the AHL level, they each bring more to the table than just a quick release, a strong stick, or above-average edge work.
I spoke with 27-year-old defenseman Grant Hutton, the oldest player at these development camps, about his role and what he has seen from these prospects.
“It was one of those things where they just they want to be here early and yeah it was their decision,” Hutton said. “I think it was a really good decision.”
As for being a leader at camp for these young prospects, Hutton enjoys that role, but it doesn’t change the way he is going about his business.
“I mean, you’re a leader every day, you know, that’s, that’s what you want to do. That’s, that’s the way you should go about it, and try and lead, but just kind of let things fall into place and do your job.”
Prospect Isaiah George shared that Hutton has “kept it loose”.
“He’s made it more comfortable when you’re out on the ice and in the locker room as well. Pretty nice.:
Hutton made a point to explain that while the older you are, the more experience you may have, inexperience does not mean you still cannot be a leader.
“I think the cool part about this organization is everybody’s a leader in their own right. Like, I think it’s something they look for, and, and everybody here has different leadership qualities,” Hutton said. “So, like I said, everyone kind of leads in their own way. Everyone kind of picks each other up. And we’re all in this together.”
“There’s a lot of competition at camp…but at the same time, I mean, we’re all a part of the same organization. We all have the same goals. We all have the same dreams and aspirations. So it’s more of a work-together mentality.”
While these younger New York Islanders may learn a lot from Hutton, it’s a two-way educational street.
“Absolutely. I was talking to Robin [Salo] the other day. Everyone has a different skill set. Everyone has different strengths. And you have to be able to take advantage of that,” Hutton shared. “Like me and Robin pick each other’s brains about stuff all the time. And, you know, it helps. It’s a good opportunity to learn, and as soon as you stop learning, you know, it may be the day that you don’t want to play anymore, right?”
“So every day is a learning opportunity. Every day is an opportunity to be the best version of yourself, and that’s what we’re going to try and do.”