It’s rarely productive to look at a 21-year-old prospect and attempt to predict how his future might turn out. At that age, particularly for a player with no NHL experience, it’s all about potential. Player A and Player B might have near-identical backgrounds and skill sets, but one could develop into an NHL player while the other falls off. Some players, though, seem to project a clearer picture of their future, and Andy Andreoff is one of those. It’s doubtful that Andreoff will become a top-line winger and a 30-goal scorer in the NHL, but it’s much easier to see how he could develop into a valuable third-line winger, one who brings a ton of energy, a willingness to play with a physical edge, and also brings a bit of a scoring touch.
Andreoff isn’t the biggest player — he’s listed at 6-foot-1, 201 pounds — but he’s well-regarded for his aggressiveness, and he did have 58 points in 57 games last season for Oshawa of the junior-level OHL. After his season ended in Oshawa, Andreoff also got a brief taste of pro hockey with the Manchester Monarchs, and it’s likely he will start next season in the AHL. Here’s what Andreoff had to say about his experience at development camp and about his game going forward…
Question: You’ve been through a couple of these camps now. Does the comfort level just get higher each time?
ANDREOFF: “It was my first year of NHL camp last year, so I got a little bit of experience there, and I was pretty comfortable seeing the guys again. I played with some of them on the Monarchs, so I felt pretty comfortable out there throughout the week.’’
Question: In terms of your game, and the way you play, do you see a specific type of role that you think you might be able to fill, long-term?
ANDREOFF: “Doing all this development stuff, it helps a lot with your skill and your range and foot speed, working with Daryl (Evans) out there. You get better, after all the times you do it. I look at myself as like a third-line guy, a hard-working forechecking guy who can battle in the corners, maybe get in the odd fight and get the odd goal. I’m an all-around kind of player, I think.’’
Question: If you end up on that Monarchs team, they might be lacking some size this season. You’re not the biggest guy out there, but you probably play bigger than your size. Is that a good way of putting it?
ANDREOFF: “Yeah, I play with a little bit of an edge. I finish every check and I love battling in the corners. I think that’s the type of player I have become, so I’m just going to improve on that and get stronger and bigger for when I become a pro.’’
Question: Having that experience with Manchester last season, will that help going into next season?
ANDREOFF: “Absolutely. I got a couple games in and I got my first goal, so I won’t be nervous next year, with getting that first one out of the way. I got a little confidence after that and a little bit of experience, so I’ll be a little bit more comfortable for the start of the year next year.’’
Question: It’s so competitive now, in this organization, for roster spots. For you guys, does that make things a little tougher but also maybe a little more exciting?
ANDREOFF: “This is a great organization. There are a lot of skilled guys out here, so you’ve got to battle for your spot, every shift and every practice. You’ve just got to keep working at it and doing better, and doing these development camps help a lot.’’