C.J. Severyn had one thought after he was released from the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins training camp at the end of September.
“I hoped I left a good impression,” he said.
Severyn did, and that’s a big reason why he’s back with the Penguins after starting the season in the ECHL, where he was the leading scorer for the Orlando Solar Bears.
After a rash of call-ups to Pittsburgh depleted Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s roster, the AHL Penguins looked to the ECHL to fill the voids.
Players such as Severyn from Orlando, and Cody Sylvester, Denver Manderson, Harrison Ruopp and Anton Zlobin from Wheeling were all summoned by the Penguins.
And they all took part in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s training camp before the season began, proof that even if you don’t make the team out of camp, if you leave an impression, another chance will arise.
It’s something that head coach John Hynes discusses with the players at the start of training camp.
“You never get a second chance to make that impression, and that’s why training camp is so important,” Hynes said. “You may not make the roster right out of camp, but it’s the impression you leave so that when you go down and are recalled, the staff here feels confident in that player.”
Sylvester made a training camp impression when he scored two goals in a pair of preseason games. Numbers on the stat sheet are critical, but Sylvester said the impression he wanted to leave with the team wasn’t limited to his production on the ice.
“You definitely want to show them what you can do on the ice, but it’s off the ice, too,” Sylvester said. “Just how you present yourself around the city and in the locker room, You want to be respectful to everyone and carry yourself the right way. They’ll see those things as well.”
For Severyn, there was another part of the equation in his quest to get back to the AHL. Not only did he have to get noticed in training camp, he had to continue to draw attention while in the ECHL.
Severyn did just that by leading the Solar Bears in goals (6) and points (17) in 19 games.
It also helped that the Solar Bears had a winning record as well.
“You have to start out strong and your team has to be playing well,” Severyn said. “They normally look for call-ups on teams with a lot of wins. They don’t want to take call-ups on teams that are struggling.”
So once the impression is made and the call-up achieved, is there a lot of pressure to perform well and hopefully stick with the AHL club?
Sylvester said not only is there pressure, but it’s almost unavoidable.
“I feel pressure all the time wherever I am because I always want to do my best,” he said. “I always put pressure on myself to be my best, but being in training camp helps make it a little less nerve-wracking because they’ve already seen me play.”