Ryder's a happy but tired camper

Daniel Ryder is keeping in top shape, skating with the Flames during last week's prospects camp and...

Daniel Ryder is keeping in top shape, skating with the Flames during last week's prospects camp and now skating with the national junior development camp. (Calgary Sun/Darren Makowichuk)

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:19 AM ET

Last week was two-a-day sessions with the Calgary Flames prospects camp.

This week, it's two-a-day sessions at the Canadian National Junior team development camp.

And when it's over, Daniel Ryder plans to go into a deep slumber.

"I'm sure I'll need a few days off after this camp," the weary Flames draft choice said after his skate at Father David Bauer Arena yesterday.

"Two tough camps but it's pretty good. The best thing was living in the same building (the dorms at the U of C). I just changed rooms. It would have been worse if I had to change cities. This can only help me. It's not a bad thing. It's a great experience."

Ryder -- picked in the third round, 74th overall, in the 2005 draft -- was part of the 40 budding Flames who were put through their paces last week at the Don Hartman Northeast Sportsplex. Now he's part of a 44-player force -- skating until Friday -- looking to represent Canada at the world junior hockey championship, Dec. 26 through Jan. 5 in Sweden.

He's hoping to have enough in the tank to show head coach Craig Hartsburg and his coaching staff he deserves a look.

"I think I have a good chance," said the 5-ft. 11-in., 198-lb. forward from Bonavista, Nfld. "There are guys looking to prove themselves in this camp, so I have to step up and show what I got. Hopefully I can do that."

Ryder, whose older brother, Michael, plays for the Montreal Canadiens, has stated a convincing case over the last couple of seasons.

Coming off a 29-goal, 82-point season in his draft year, he posted 38 goals and 82 points last season for the OHL's Peterborough Petes.

En route to winning the OHL title, he went on a tear, netting 15 goals and 16 assists in 19 games while earning playoff MVP honours.

"It was good to be on a winning team," said Ryder, who'll turn 20 in January. "I know my first year in Peterborough, it was disappointing to miss the playoffs. But the last two seasons, we've been in first place and had a good run."

Although a centre, he's being used during the national team camp as a winger. If that's what it takes to wear the Maple Leaf, Ryder is happy to do it.

"I played a couple of games on the wing. It's not too bad," he said. "It's just a matter of getting used to it and getting the feel for it. There are other centremen playing wing, too. It's just something that comes with it. Just work with it."

Much like going through the fun of skating through training camps on consecutive weeks, without being able to see much of the city.

"It's been mainly back and forth to the rink," he said. "I have some friends here from Newfoundland, there's a lot here working -- believe it or not -- from my little town of 4,000. I went down to a barbecue on the lake. I haven't seen a whole lot of Calgary but at least that."

Fortunately he's young enough to bounce back from the gruelling time, with just over a month before the Flames rookies report for their camp.

"Oh yeah, I'll be good to go," he said with a grin. "Top shape."


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