PENTICTON, B.C. - Every day this fall is a new experience for C.J. Severyn.
It’s hard to believe when you’re talking about a 22-year-old, who was drafted in 2007 and one of the oldest Calgary Flames prospects at the Young Stars tournament, but it’s true.
“It’s eye-opening,” said the seventh-round draft choice.
“The pro style is a lot different from college hockey. Guys are bigger, quicker, that much sharper.
“It’s been a good experience so far.”
After four years at Ohio State University, Severyn is making his first steps into the pro game. The 6-foot-1,
200-lb. forward — he’s been skating at left wing but played centre in his NCAA career — is attending his first training camp with the Flames.
Severyn attended a few summer prospects camps but never came to Calgary in the fall.
“I am looking forward to it, just like I was looking forward to this. I’m hoping to play in at least one exhibition game,” said Severyn, who collected seven goals and 12 points in 37 NCAA games last season. “Being able to skate with these guys before main camp is good to get out of summer hockey mode.”
A product of Beaver, Penn., a borough some 50 km north of Pittsburgh, Severyn signed an American Hockey League contract with the team in August.
Sure, it’s not the usual entry-level pact he envisioned when his name was called at the draft in Columbus, Ohio, but more than most seventh-rounders receive.
“It’s still a great opportunity for myself to be able to showcase my skills this year and be able to play to my potential,” said Severyn, who was part of the U.S. Development program before going to college. “In your senior year, you want to turn pro, and it was in the back of my head whether I would sign or have to get into the work world. It feels good to have a contract, even an AHL contract.”
Severyn skated in one game during the prospects tournament, Monday’s 4-3 overtime loss to the Vancouver Canucks.
He didn’t hit the scoresheet but did show the potential for a professional style. His game is more physical than finesse.
“Guys are still in summer hockey mode, so it took a little bit to get into it your first couple of shifts, especially being my first pro game,” said Severyn, who trained in the summer with other Ohio State grads, including NHLers R.J. Umberger and David Steckl,
“The nerves were there, but after the first couple of shifts, I found my way to the type of game I like.”
Now comes the hope of making a mark during main camp, which begins this weekend in Calgary.
Being around the NHL players, even if he’s skated with a few over the years, will be yet another new aspect. Severyn knows he can’t spend time being awestruck.
“It’ll be a huge deal to get to play with guys like Jarome Iginla, guys I’ve seen have great careers,” he said. “I’ll try not to look too much into that, play my game and not be nervous.”