Carolina Hurricanes Prospect Development Camp is currently underway and will wrap up on Saturday with a scrimmage in front of Hurricanes fans. I was able to interview two Hurricanes prospects at Thursday’s practice.
Henman just finished up his second QMJHL season after being drafted in the fourth round, 96th overall in 2018. Henman set career highs in goals and games played this season and finished with twelve goals and 46 points in 63 games.
You just finished up your season with Blainville-Boisbriand, setting a career high in goals. What was the biggest factor in that success this season?
I think I was more confident as a shooter and was able to shoot more this past season. My first year in the league, you’re obviously trying to get used to the league and know everyone there, but I think I had a more prominent role this year. I had more power play and five on five ice time so it gave me more opportunities. Over the summer I was working on my scoring since I only had nine goals in my first year, and this year I want to keep working to increase those numbers.
Heading into next season, what are some goals that you have now that you are one of the team’s leaders?
I wore an “A” last year and I want to continue being a leader on that team. We have some new guys coming in that we got at the draft, so as a goal we obviously weren’t happy with the finish we had last year. We have a pretty good roster now so I think that we are looking to do some damage as a team.
How does it feel knowing that you now have a teammate that was also drafted into the NHL? Is it weird knowing that you and Samuel Bolduc will be playing in different organizations in the future?
I’m happy for him. You knew going into the draft that he wasn’t going to wait very long. He’s such a great skater on the back end and good at both ends of the rink so it’s good for the organization as well. I reached out to him and he’s pretty happy about it. We’re going to talk about our experiences at development camp and build on that, so it won’t be too weird right now.
Finally, if you had to pick a goal song, what would it be?
I’m a big country fan, so I’d probably have to pick some country song. Maybe some Luke Bryan.
Cotton just finished up his junior year at Boston College. The 169th pick in the 2015 draft had 23 goals and 36 points on a disappointing Boston College team. Cotton has been named captain of the Eagles for next season and is committed to turning the program around after a tough season.
This has been your fifth prospects camp with the organization. Is there anything in particular that you’re looking to build on, and are you looking to be more of a leader for the younger players here?
I’ve said this a couple times before, but you get the opportunity to be a sponge at these camps and take everything in. You get to see where you were last year and the improvements that you’ve had and the progression that you’ve made. I’ve had the snapshot of four or five different years so seeing the progress that I’ve made is exciting. When you leave here, it makes you hungry and excited to get to this point, to get to the NHL.
Heading into your senior year having just recently been named captain, are you looking forward to being a leader for Boston College?
I’m really excited for that, actually. It’s a position that I’ve never been in before, so it’ll be a new experience, but I think that it will be an extremely beneficial experience for me and my development as a player. I’m excited to get started this season. We have a solid group of guys from the freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior classes this season, so I’m excited for the season.
After setting career highs in goals and points last season, do you have any bigger goals?
This year what we’re looking at as a team are the championship trophies. I try to stay away from the individual awards. It’s nice to have, but I’d rather win a Beanpot, win a Hockey East Championship, and win a National Championship than just individual accomplishments. Personally, I just try to be the best that I can be each day. It’s a cliche but it’s what I try to live by.
Your coach, Jerry York, just got inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. How does it feel knowing that you’re being coached by a person in the Hall of Fame?
It’s unbelievable. He’s an incredibly humble guy, so I saw that he got inducted and sent him a text congratulated him. He got back to me and said “I’m flabbergasted.” A little old fashioned, but he himself was surprised in the fact that he was inducted. I was impressed by that because he has every right to say “thank you, I know that I am deserving of this opportunity” but he’s extremely humble about it. The career that he’s had is almost untouchable by anyone right now and so it’s an honor to play for him and I’m excited to go into my senior year with that in mind.
For the Canes fans that might not know, how would you describe your game?
I feel like I hold components of a little bit of everything. I have the size, which is pretty obvious at first glance since I’m 6’3″. I try to play a power forward game. This year I’ve tried to improve my play down low and close to the net. I still think that I hold the finesse part of the game and am able to anticipate plays and read the passes. I try to have a round, complete game, as they say. I try to adapt to the roles that I get placed in and I think that that’s an asset that I have.
If you could pick one goal song, what would it be?
Uh oh. That’s tough. I’d have to think on that.
Henman said country, if that helps.
I would say something about country just because I’m a Texas kid, so it would make a little more sense. Something country, but I can’t think of a song.
Thank you to the Hurricanes for allowing me this opportunity. Both players were excellent interviews and have bright futures with this organization. One final note on Cotton. Sergei Samsonov said that Cotton was one of the players in camp that he felt had made significant strides in his development. One of the other players that he mentioned was Matt Filipe.