This past spring, one player on the roster that fans didn’t really know a lot about was Jack Maclellan. In early March, the Predators signed the Brown University product to a one-year entry-level contract. Maclellan didn’t play one game for the Predators, but soaked in the NHL experience.
Earlier today we caught up with Maclellan to get his impressions of being around an NHL team during the most important time of the year.
24/7: What was that like to make the immediate jump from college to the NHL late in the season?
Jack Maclellan: It was a pretty big culture shock at first, going from college one day to being on the ice with guys you’ve watched on TV and looked up to for years. It was a pretty big shock at first, but it was an amazing experience getting to skate with those guys and see how they carry themselves as pros. I learned a lot and tried to make as good of an impression as I could while I was there. I just tried to soak up as much as I could from those guys because there is so much you can learn. I did my work but stayed out of the way when I wasn’t in the lineup – which was the whole time. It was an invaluable experience.
What did you learn?
I learned a ton. I learned how guys approach the game, how they balance being focused and leaving it at the rink. For me, it’s new to approach hockey like a job because I’ve always just kind of played it – coming from college I wasn’t getting paid and was playing for fun. That’s going to be an interesting transition.
Not many guys get to do what you got to do and be a sponge in the NHL right away. How do you feel that experience can help you down the road?
I’m so thankful for the opportunity that I got. I think I did pretty well making the most of it. I learned as much as I could. I didn’t take it for granted. I tried to make a good impression and learn from other guys. It will drive me to get back here. I’ve also dreamt of playing in the NHL, but now I’ve seen it and know that’s what I want. It’s the only thing I want to do in my life. I’ll also be more comfortable coming into my first training camp in the fall. All of those things will help me and I’ll try to draw off them when I come here in September.
Did you stay with any of the guys?
I just stayed at a hotel near here (Centennial Sportsplex). Hal Gill was there with me in that hotel pretty much the whole time I was here. I spent a lot of time with him, which was good. He was such a nice guy and took me under his wing and wanted to hang out all the time. Any team would like to have a guy like that. He’s such a valuable player to have with his size and effectiveness, but off the ice as a dressing room guy as well. He’s got awesome energy and an awesome attitude. Everybody would be happy to have him back.
How did Brown help prepare you for pro hockey?
I loved Brown; it was really good to me. My coaches there were great to me. They believed in me early on and had a lot of faith in me and put a lot of expectations on me, so I got a lot of opportunities there. As far as the school goes, I loved it. I made the best friends of my life and had a great time. To come away with a degree is pretty nice to have, even though I don’t plan on using it for a while. I owe everything to Brown.
Everyone saw your name on the roster late in the year, but they didn’t get a chance to see you play. How would you describe yourself as a player?
I’m an offensive forward but play a responsible two-way game. I try to bring energy and use my skating to my advantage. I’m good at finding my teammates, so I like playing with guys that can shoot the puck and get the puck in the back of the net. For the most part I try to make room for the guys I’m playing with.