Goodrow ‘excited’ about North Bay

NORTH BAY, Ont. – Barclay Goodrow decided professional hockey can wait a year.

Right winger Goodrow elected to play an overage season, his fifth in the Ontario Hockey League, with the North Bay Battalion rather than seek a position in the American Hockey League.

Goodrow attended the rookie camp of the National Hockey Leagues Detroit Red Wings as a free agent and, after helping win a prospects tournament at Traverse City, Mich., advanced to the main camp. Goodrow then was invited to camp with the Grand Rapids Griffins, Detroit’s American Hockey League affiliate, but chose to rejoin the Troops.

“I was given the option to go the Grand Rapids camp and maybe sign an AHL contract,” Battalion captain Goodrow said via telephone Tuesday. “But I figured for my development it would be better to come back to the OHL for one last season and get lots of ice time playing in all situations. Grand Rapids looks like it will be a very good team, and my ice time could have been limited.

“There are some unbelievable players in that organization. We won the Traverse City tournament, and they have a lot of good prospects and theyre very deep in that area. I talked about it with my agent and discussed each scenario. Detroit is a good organization to be a part of, but for now playing one more season of junior is my best scenario.”

Goodrow, a resident of Aurora, Ont., said he learned a lot.

“When you see how the Red Wings operate, you can understand why they produce the kinds of players they do. It was a great opportunity to skate with guys like Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Niklas Kronwall and to shoot on Jimmy Howard. It helped me out a lot, and I have a lot of things I can bring back to North Bay.”

Goodrow is slated to practise Thursday and be in the lineup when the Battalion opens the regular season with a three-game road trip through the East Division starting with a visit to the Kingston Frontenacs at 7 p.m. Friday. The Troops visit the Belleville Bulls at 7:05 p.m. Saturday and the Ottawa 67’s at 2 p.m. Sunday.

“I’m glad the turnaround is so short. Ive been playing games for a while now, either at the tournament or intrasquad, so I hope I’m a step ahead since those games were pretty fast-paced.

“I’m excited to be going to North Bay. I expect big things. I don’t know if weve had a team as strong as this in my years with the Battalion. Hopefully, playing in front of sold-out crowds at home will make us better. It should be an exciting season and, if we play to our capabilities, we should be one of the best teams in our conference.”

Goodrow led the Troops in scoring in 2012-13, the last of 15 seasons in Brampton, with 38 goals and 14 assists for 52 points.

“I know people are looking at me to perform and lead the team, and I like having that pressure.”

A first-round pick in the 2009 OHL Priority Selection, Goodrow joins defenceman Cameron Wind, an overager last season, as the only players to play five years with the Battalion. That number will grow when right winger Matt MacLeod, sidelined through the preseason with a groin injury, returns. Defenceman Zach Bell, currently with the St. John’s IceCaps, AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets, would make it four.

“Ill have spent a quarter of my life in the OHL,” noted Goodrow. “And I couldn’t have done it without great guys like MacLeod and Bell. Weve definitely learned a lot over the years and weve grown a lot as players and people.”

In 250 OHL games, Goodrow has scored 94 goals and earned 68 assists for 162 points. He is sixth on the Battalion’s career list in goals, 10th in points and seventh in games played, 41 behind Wind, the franchises all-time leader. Goodrows 20 game-winning goals are second in club history, three behind Cody Hodgson, and Goodrow ranks fourth all-time in power-play goals with 33. He is tied with Matt Duchene and Kurt MacSweyn with five shorthanded goals.

Goodrow has played 28 career playoff games, contributing four goals and seven assists for 11 points.

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