Tampa Bay's first pick of the 2012 draft, Slater Koekkoek, doesn't figure to make a huge impact right away. But the 6-foot-2, 185-pound defenseman selected 10th overall certainly made a solid first impression.
Koekkoek took part in the team's summer development camp along with many of the team's other top prospects and caught the eye of those running the camp, including former NHL forward Steve Thomas, who serves as Tampa Bay's director of player development.
"I think he's one of those who doesn't give up in puck battles, and I like that a lot," Thomas said. "He skates well and he's got the resources now that are necessary for him to get better and better and better as he goes along through the summer. And he's going to take advantage of that, he's already told me. And I think he wants to be a better player, and I can see that he has a bright future for us."
But while Koekkoek is focused in on that future, he's more concerned with what kind of an impression he can make when he attends his first NHL training camp in the fall, taking many of the lessons he learned at the summer development camp and applying them to his offseason program.
"I'll just be working hard back in Ottawa, trying to work hard to come here (in September) in the best shape possible to try to make the Tampa Bay Lightning," Koekkoek said.