GREENBURGH, N.Y. — After four days of going through on-ice drills and speed testing and meeting club brass, the kids at the Rangers Prospect Development Camp finally got to play some hockey on Friday.
Nobody had more fun doing that than Adam Sykora, the team’s second-round pick in the 2022 draft, who scored the first goal of the intrasquad scrimmage. Then, after it was over, he signed his three-year, entry-level contract with the team.
“Best day ever,’’ Sykora said when he came over to do his post-scrimmage interview with reporters.
Sykora, a 17-year-old forward from Slovakia, spent the entire week at camp smiling. It was something everybody noticed.
“How could you not like him?’’ director of player personnel Jed Ortmeyer said. “He’s got a smile on his face all the time.
“He’s just positive. He wants to work. He was excited to be here. He’s great energy in the room. So it was fun to work with him, get to know him this week and work with him.’’
The 5-10, 172-pound Sykora had said at the draft that his favorite player in the NHL is Boston Bruins agitator Brad Mar-chand, who, he said, “plays like a rat.’’ Sykora likes how the 5-9, 182-pound Marchand plays a physical game despite his small stature, unafraid to hit and take hits from much bigger players.
In the scrimmage, Sykora showed he doesn’t mind going into the corners for the puck, even if it means taking big hits from bigger players, and the goal he scored came when he crashed the net and popped in a rebound off the crossbar. Playing in front of the net is his game, he said.
“Those are my [types of] goals, what I score the most in a season,’’ he said. “In the World Championship, I tried to score some rebounds, some tips.’’
Sykora wasn’t the only player to impress in the scrimmage. East Setauket native Bobby Trivigno, who signed with the Rangers as a free agent in April after starring at UMass for four years, had several dangerous scoring opportunities and recorded the second goal of the scrimmage, giving the White team a 2-0 lead on the way to a 5-1 win.
“It’s nice to score,’’ said Trivigno, who had 53 goals in four years at UMass and was the Most Outstanding Player in the NCAA Tournament when UMass won the NCAA title in 2021. “I just want to play the right way and just play good, I guess. I don’t really care too much about points . . . It’s just nice to get out here with the prospects and feel the ice and feel my hands and just get back into it. It was good overall.’’
Notes & quotes: Goaltender Olof Lindbom left the scrimmage shortly after entering the game when he was inadvertently bumped by forward Brett Berard. Ortmeyer didn’t have a report on Lindbom, who looked to be wincing in pain when he left, but said “better to be safe than sorry in July . . . I think he should be fine.’’ . . . Forward Will Cuylle, defenseman Hunter Skinner and center Noah Laba, a fourth-round pick in last week’s draft, scored for the White team and 2021 first-round pick Brennan Othmann scored for the Blue.