It’s been a whirlwind three-week period for Tanner Pearson. On June 22, he was drafted in the first round by the Stanley Cup champion Kings, and two weeks later he flew to Los Angeles for his first NHL development camp. Pearson, it seems, has fully recovered from the broken leg that he suffered late in the season with his junior team, the Barrie Colts of the OHL. Pearson has been a full participant in the camp.
It will be an interesting September for Pearson as well. He turns 20 in August, meaning he will be eligible to play in the American Hockey League, or he could return for a final (“over-age’’) season in junior hockey. All things considered, the AHL would be better for his development, but it would seem that there will be some pretty good competition for spots on the Manchester Monarchs’ roster. Here’s what Pearson said about joining the Kings and his initial experiences at development camp…
PEARSON: “It’s been exciting. It’s been exciting to come out here after I got drafted. It’s been a hard-working camp so far, and there’s just a couple days left, so it should be fun.’’
Question: With you coming off your injury, I didn’t know how much you’d be able to do on the ice, but it looks as though you’re good to go out there…
PEARSON: “Yeah, I’m good to go. I’ll all cleared to do everything. It was tough when it happened, but I tried to get things recovered as quick as possible and get to 100 percent as quick as possible. I worked with great people back in Kitchener and in Barrie, and they helped up with that process and it’s been good.’’
Question: What’s it been like, over the last couple days, to come in and meet the coaches and and learn the organization and the system and that sort of thing? Was it different than you might have expected?
PEARSON: “You hear about different camps from different people, and what they’re like, but you can’t really expect much coming in. You just have to come in prepared. That’s the biggest thing, I think. I came prepared and it’s been going good, but it’s still hard.’’
Question: With your age and experience, there are a couple places you could end up this season. Have you thought about the AHL vs. an over-age year of junior?
PEARSON: “Of course I want to come into camp here in September and I’ll try my hardest to make this club. That’s the ultimate goal, and everyone’s ultimate goal is to make the NHL. But if that fails, I’ll go and try my hardest to make the AHL. I want to play pro hockey, even if it is the AHL, and develop for a year or two there, and learn the Kings’ system and eventually make the jump to the NHL.’’