Boyd a late addition to Canadian Junior camp

By Aaron Vickers

Dustin off the equipment: Boyd a late addition at camp

Forgive Calgary Flames prospect Dustin Boyd if he looked a little tired out on the ice at the 2004 Canadian Junior Summer Development Camp. He wasn’t supposed to be there.

When Calgary Hitmen forward and Carolina Hurricane prospect Andrew Ladd suffered a separated shoulder at the hands of fellow Hitman and Anaheim Mighty Duck prospect Ryan Getzlaf, it was Dustin Boyd’s telephone that began ringing. Boyd, a member of the Moose Jaw Warriors, received a phone call Monday night informing him of Ladd’s injury, suffered on the first shift of the first game Monday. After quickly gathering all his equipment, Boyd boarded a plane as was off to Calgary.

“I was actually at home at my dad’s house, coming back from a workout,” explained the Winnipeg, Manitoba native. “I got a call at about 11:30 and we went from there.”

“I had no clue,” responded the 6’0, 186 lb center on whether or not he was aware that he was the next in line to be given an opportunity at camp. “The phone call came as a total surprise.”

Already a few days behind in terms of camp mentality and physicality, Boyd was placed immediately into a difficult situation. The players had already bonded with each other, and in terms of conditioning, had already been put through several grueling practices by Head Coach and Red Deer Rebel bench boss Brent Sutter.

“It was pretty hard, you know,” said Boyd on dropping everything to come to camp. “By the time I got all the arrangements ready, gathered my equipment and grabbed my bags we left at 7:00 in the morning. I was pretty well off the plane and right on the ice.”

“I had about five hours to get into game shape.”

Boyd is no stranger to Canadian Junior Developmental Camps. It was last summer that Boyd practiced with the familiar Hockey Canada logo on his jersey, skating alongside the likes of Jeff Schultz and Mark Fistric, and against the likes of Sidney Crosby, Devan Dubnyk, Cameron Barker and Kyle Chipchura, all of which were in attendance at the 2004 Canadian Junior Summer Development Camp.

“Oh, this one was definitely better,” Boyd remarked on how his experiences with the Under-18 team compared to that of the Junior Summer Development Camp.

“This one had stronger players, a lot of top players, the best players in Canada. It was a lot faster and more intense. I think it will really build my confidence. Just to be invited and get to play with all these players in Calgary will definitely boost my confidence this year and hopefully now show that I’m one of the best players on my team, as well as the league.”

Boyd’s addition couldn’t have been a tough decision for Head Coach Brent Sutter to make. After all, it was he and his Moose Jaw Warriors that gave the Red Deer Rebels and Coach Sutter a run for their money in the 2004 Western Hockey League Playoffs, taking the Rebels to six games.

“I talked to Brent Sutter for about five minutes,” recalled Boyd. “He told me to play like I did in the playoffs.”

But Boyd’s journey to the Canadian Junior Summer Development Camp did not begin with the 2003-04 WHL playoffs. Back in 2001, Body was the 10th overall selection in the 2001 WHL Bantam Draft, but never could produce at the same pace as in the MJHL. Boyd, utilized in a different role then what he was used to, struggled to put up strong offensive totals. Boyd, known primarily as an offensive dynamo, lead his provincial Midget AAA league in scoring as a Bantam aged player, but that hasn’t translated as expected into the Western Hockey League.

“Well this year I had a pretty good statistical year, despite being put in more of a defensive role,” outlined Boyd. “This year I was anchoring the third line and I was on the second power play unit and we were not getting out there very much. The coach didn’t put me with ‘skilled’ wingers, I guess you could say, more of the dump-and-chase kind, so I didn’t have too many guys to set up or receive nice passes from.”

Despite playing in a third line role, Boyd still managed respectable offensive totals, upping his career highs to 18 goals and 38 points. Placing a lot of pressure and higher expectations on himself, however, Boyd expects to inflate those statistics by a large margin, eyeing a more offensive role with the Warriors for the 2004-05 season. Ready for a fresh, new challenge, #16 for Moose Jaw wants to step up and make a much more regular contribution offensively to the Warriors with a hunger that is clearly expressed in the voice of the 18-year-old.

“I want to be between 60-70 points at least next year, hopefully in a first line role, with first line power play time,” Boyd proclaimed. “(I want to) take on a more leadership role, become one of the more go-to guys.”

Confidence isn’t something that is lacking in this Warrior. Boyd’s been sky-high since being drafted by the Calgary Flames. Selected in the third round, 98th overall in the 2004 National Hockey League Entry Draft, Boyd was eager to join the Flames organization.

“Oh it was just that much better to know the Flames were in the finals and I was watching their games all throughout the playoffs,” expressed Boyd on being drafted by Calgary. “It was just that much better to be selected by a team having that much success. (Before the draft) I went to the NHL combine and had eight interviews, one of them was with the Flames. You know, I talked to them and they seemed pretty high on me.”

One of the reasons why Boyd may have a sudden burst of self-confidence is the organization to which he is the property of. Playing under the likes of Head Coach and General Manager Darryl Sutter seems intriguing to the young forward.

“Well I think I fit the Calgary Flame type,” explained Boyd. “Fast skating, compete hard every night, go bang up the opposing defensemen, go down low and get the puck out, you know, play in all situations and score some goals.”

There are areas of improvement, however, which Boyd can improve his game, areas which the Calgary Flames have pointed out to Boyd, in hopes he will be able to elevate his game to another level.

“Well, they did say that I needed to get stronger and faster,” admitted Boyd.

“When they did their strength and fitness testing, I was pretty well up to par on most things, its just mature and get bigger and stronger, and work on the little things.”

For now, though, Boyd will work on these aspects of his game as he gears up to compete against the rest of the Western Hockey League as a member of the Moose Jaw Warriors. He’ll be suiting up every night in their familiar black red and white, dreaming of wearing another uniform of the same colors, that of the Canadian Junior Team.

“I’ve watched them since I was little and have been watching the World Junior Championships forever, especially when they were in Winnipeg. I’ve always wanted to have a shot at it. I’ve sort of expected some sort of a chance at it when I will be 19, but never expected it at 18.”

Copyright 2004 Hockey’s Future. Do not duplicate without written permission of the editorial staff.