With his third appearance at Blackhawks Prospect Camp this week, goaltender Kent Simpson is making his final appearance at the annual mid-summer event. The 20-year-old netminder finished his career with the Western Hockey League’s Everett Silvertips in 2011-12, recording a 3.33 goals-against average and .909 save percentage. Following his season, the Blackhawks signed their 2010 draft pick to an entry-level deal this summer, and he will start his professional career in 2012-13.
chicagoblackhawks.com caught up with Simpson after the first day of Prospect Camp to get his thoughts about the week ahead, his final WHL campaign and more.
This is your third and last Prospect Camp with the Blackhawks. How have things changed since your first camp?
The biggest thing is that I’m healthy; I’ve been able to work out a lot more and get onto the ice a little bit. It’s been a huge positive for me. It’s also really nice to come in here knowing what to expect and recognizing a few familiar face who you’ve seen every year, both players and staff. It’s a little easier coming in for the third time.
How was your final season in Everett?
All in all, I think it was a good season. We didn’t have the greatest team, but as a goalie, that’s still a good way to develop your game. I was getting a lot of shots every night, and most of them were good quality shots, so I learned a lot and worked on my game. It was a good experience from a mental standpoint as well, where you could play a good game and still lose, but knowing that you gave it all you had. I think it was a successful year overall.
You did get into one game with Rockford this season after your WHL season was done. What was that experience like?
I was just really happy to get an opportunity; for Rockford to believe in me enough to throw me in there was an honor. The guys played well for me, so it was a really cool experience, as well. You never forget your first professional game.
When you come to Chicago for prospect camp, do you get a chance to see some of the city, or are most of your days pretty much programmed?
We do get a little bit of time. We’re usually done mid-to-late afternoon. We do usually get to cruise around a little bit, go to the lake, see some of the sights. It’s a great city, so we try to see as much as we can, but this week is mostly about hockey, so that’s my main focus.
Aside from the drills you ran this afternoon, the only other thing on your schedule today was fitness testing. How was that for you?
Overall, I think it went well. I’m happy it’s over, though.
Some of the parts are harder than others. The Wingate is the hardest part, usually, but all things considered, I’d rather do that than the VO-2 testing. The Wingate definitely pushes you to your limits; if you’re not tired after that, you’re doing something wrong.
As a seasoned veteran of this camp, what are your goals for the week?
I just want to get the feel back for everything. I haven’t been put back into game situations like this since the season ended. I’m really looking forward to getting some good practice against great shooters, and good competition. It’s really about getting back into the groove and making a good name for myself every time you get on the ice.
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