Freshman Cammarata providing offense for Gophers

By DJ Powers

Taylor Cammarata - University of Minnesota

Photo: University of Minnesota forward and New York Islanders prospect Taylor Cammarata (#13) and his Golden Gophers teammates celebrate Justin Holl’s last-second goal that sent Minnesota to the national championship game at the 2014 Frozen Four (courtesy of Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)

Forward Taylor Cammarata is part of the University of Minnesota’s excellent group of freshmen that have been significant contributors to the team’s march to the National Championship game this season. The Plymouth, MN native currently ranks third on the team in rookie scoring with 25 points (nine goals, 16 assists) in 37 games to date.

Hockey’s Future caught up with Cammarata for this interview before practice on Friday at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA.

Q: You’ve been playing on a line with Nate (Condon) and Justin (Kloos), and the three of you seem to have great chemistry together. Can you talk about the chemistry and how you’ve fit into it?

TC: Well, we’ve been playing together all season long and I think our line prides itself on speed. I think that makes us a pretty good line. Kloos and I played together last year, so we already had that chemistry. Nate, being the older guy on our line, has really helped us out, too.

Q: Has playing with Nate made it easier for you as far as playing with confidence and just playing a good, smart game?

TC: Yeah, I think so. It definitely helps having an older guy with us. I think if our line had a younger guy instead of an older guy like Nate on it, I don’t think we would be as good and would be making more mistakes. Nate kind of coaches Kloos and me as we go along, so that’s been really helpful.

Q: I know that you play right wing on that line, but I know that you play center as well. Which is your natural position?

TC: Actually I played center when I was a little bit younger. For the last two or three years I’ve been playing on the wing and I just feel more comfortable at that position.

Q: How would you describe your style of play?

TC: I think I’m a quick, shifty winger that’s a playmaker and a goal scorer. I like to be creative with the puck and make plays out there.

Q: I know that you are a prospect of the New York Islanders. Did you attend their prospect camp last summer?

TC: Yes, but I was only able to go for two days because I also had summer classes. It was a great experience and pretty big time.

Q: What were some of the things that you learned from that camp that you’ve been able to bring back to Minnesota with you that have made you a better player?

TC: I think the biggest thing for me was to be playing my best everyday. There were a ton of great guys there and if you’re not playing your best everyday, then you’re not going to make it (to the NHL).

Q: Do you plan to attend their camp again this summer?

TC: Yes. I’m hoping to be able to go for the full week this time. If I can, I think it’ll be a lot better for me.

Q: One of the things that I’ve noticed in watching you play this season is how your playmaking skills have grown. I know that you’ve been a scorer, but it also seems that you’re sort of balancing the two in how your involving yourself in plays. Is that an area where you’ve been working on to improve or expand?

TC: I think so. All of my life, I think I’ve always been kind of a pass-first kind of guy. I wasn’t shooting when I should be. I feel like at times, I’m a bit too unselfish but overall I guess I like making plays.

Q: What area(s) have Coach Don Lucia and his staff worked on with you this season that has not only helped you take that next step in your development, but has also made you better?

TC: I think the biggest thing has been defense. I take a lot of pride in playing defense. When I first came here to Minnesota, they all helped me to adjust to the college game and taught me how to (effectively) play defense. Coach Lucia has also taught me to be more physical, too.

Q: What is it like playing for Coach Lucia?

TC: It’s been great. He’s obviously been around for a long time and knows what he’s talking about. I don’t really say much. I just try to listen and follow what he says so that I can learn from him and get better.

Follow DJ Powers on Twitter via @DJPowersHF