By Matt Calamia (Twitter)
The Rangers this week held their annual development camp for the organization’s prospects and other invited players to show management what they can offer.
While the week is used as a means for players to showcase their talents, the players, according to Conor Allen, must find the right balance of trying to impress while still playing their game.
“You don’t want to look bad,” Allen told BlueshirtsUnited.com after Thursday’s scrimmage. “You want to make plays but you also have to understand it’s summer hockey and everything is a little sloppy. You’ve got to make sure you make the first play you see. You try and make an impression without being stupid about it.”
Allen, 23, is attending his first development camp as a Ranger after he signed with the team in March as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Massachusetts- Amherst, where he led all defenseman on the team with 19 points in 33 games as a junior. As a sophomore, Allen posted his college-high seven goals in 35 games.
The Chicago-native had his pick of several teams that showed interest in signing him to a professional contract, but New York was where he wanted to be.
“After talking to everybody … I just thought this was the fit for me, so hopefully it works out,” he said. “I’m really happy to be here with the Rangers.”
Allen described his game as “multi-dimensional,” and said he likes being used in all different types of situations.
“I try and play defense and I try and play offense,” Allen said. “I want to penalty kill and I want to be on the power play. You don’t want to do too much out there. You want to play your game, but I try and be multi-dimensional.”
Heading into his first year as a professional — he played one game with the Connecticut Whale last season — Allen said he’s already begun training, though it was difficult for him to get into ice shape for this camp after a not skating as often as he would during the season. He said it’s been an adjustment getting into a routine as a pro because he doesn’t have a set schedule like he did in college.
“It’s something I’ve been struggling with: the down time,” he said. “When I was in college, I was taking classes, I had a job, working out and skating. Now that hockey is my job, I work out in the morning and then I have nothing really to do until I skate in the afternoon.”
After four days of camp, Allen said the coaching staff has “really beat us down,” but that “it’s a good indication of what’s going to happen in training camp.”
Allen has his sights set on fighting for a roster spot come training camp in September, but understands his development is paramount.
“Obviously, whether the odds are in my favor or not, I want to be in the NHL,” Allen said. “That’s definitely my No. 1 goal, but in order to do that, I think you need some realistic goals of getting better in certain areas of the game.
“I just want to have a good rookie season wherever I am,” he added. “I just want to be an impact player, someone who the guys can rely on and hopefully I get my chance someday.”