With the 2016 Rookie Tournament all wrapped up, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton head coach and bench boss in London Clark Donatelli had some time to reflect on the weekend that was.
Although the team was unable to complete the comeback for an OT victory in its final game, Donatelli that the players got exactly what the organization wanted out of the event.
“These guys have a good start now,” Donatelli said. “They got a few games in, they have a foundation. These guys are going to have the opportunity to go into camp and show what they can do. They’ll be ready.”
The prospects are all prepped for training camp, and it came in the tournament’s high-pressure setting. Though there’s no trophy to take home for the winners, teams do value this time as an evaluation period as well as a pre-camp tune up. The players are aware of this, and in Donatelli’s eyes, they didn’t fade under the scrutiny.
“I thought the guys played extemely hard,” Donatelli said. “We have a lot of good guys in that locker room, real character guys… We have some real fine prospects and some young guys that we can tell will find real fine futures.”
When asked who among the field stood out the most, Donatelli took a moment to ponder before declaring Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s hero in last year’s Calder Cup Playoffs one of his favorites from the weekend.
“I think Jake Guentzel was really good,” Donatelli said. “He got better and better with every game… He looks like he’s ready to go. His compete is just off the charts.”
Guentzel, along with many of the other prospects in London, will begin training camp in Pittsburgh on Friday, Sept. 23