Calvert, Brenton savour NHL camp experience last week
Atley Calvert and Lucas Brenton returning to practice this week was a welcomed sight at the Hangar.
The two 20-year-olds for the Moose Jaw Warriors returned after spending the past week at NHL rookie camps.
Calvert attended the Pittsburgh Penguins’ rookie camp, which included a trip to Buffalo, NY for the Prospects Challenge.
“It was good, I got to play all three games and at the end of the day, that’s what I wanted to do, obviously wanted to make main camp, but that didn’t happen,” Calvert said. “I’m excited to be back with the boys and ready to get the season going.”
This was Calvert’s second NHL rookie camp after he attended camp with the Buffalo Sabres last season. He also took part in the Penguins’ Development Camp over the summer.
“I showed my game pretty well throughout the three games,” Calvert said. “The one game, I got to play on a line with [Brayden Yager], so that was kind of cool.
“All three games, I played three different roles, so that was good, I got to showcase my ability and my skill to Pittsburgh.”
For Brenton last week was a first time experience as he attended his first NHL rookie camp with the Chicago Blackhawks.
“It was everything I thought it would be,” Brenton said. “It was kind of surreal, just to be around that environment and around those caliber of players, so it was a great learning experience.”
The 20-year-old defenceman suited up in one of the Blackhawks’ two rookie games, playing against the Minnesota Wild in St. Paul, MN.
“The games went great, it was a fast game and I just had to move pucks quick, the guys had lots of skill there, every player is good, but you just have to play your position well and be in the right areas,” Brenton said.
Brenton said his biggest takeaway from his first taste of the NHL level was the pace of play.
“You’ve got to make plays quicker and guys are on you quicker, so your decision making and everything happens faster,” he said.
“I felt like my game translated well and I felt like I put in a good performance, I was really happy.”
Brenton was passed over in the NHL Draft over the past couple of seasons, but he said he received some good feedback from the Chicago brass that gives him confidence heading into this season.
“They liked that I’m a big guy and I could skate well and I took up a lot of space, had a good stick, so they were really positive,” he said.
“I’m just taking my confidence and coming back here and being more of a leader this year. Just winning games and taking what I learned and translating it over to these young guys coming in, so it will be good.”
Brenton and Calvert will be two key pieces for the Warriors heading into the 2023-24 season.
The team is looking to build off back-to-back trips to the second round of the WHL Playoffs.
“It’s going to be a fun year,” Calvert said. “We’ve got a good group, we still have some guys away at pro camps, so when they get back, we’re obviously going to try and hit the ground running.”
Brenton said he’s pumped to open the season.
“Can’t wait,” he said. “The summer is long, so I’ve been thinking about getting the season underway for a while and can’t wait to get going.”
The Warriors travel to Prince Albert to open the 2023-24 regular season on Friday before returning to the Moose Jaw Events Centre for the Mad Greek Home Opener on Saturday against Brandon.