Young prospects are thrust into the spotlight with NHL logos on their jerseys and NHL coaches talking in their ears. That might make some prospects tighten up.
That’s just not Tomáš Vomáčka’s M.O.
Vomáčka, a UConn-boud goaltender and the Nashville Predators’ fifth-round pick in 2017, was having the time of his life at the team’s 2018 Development Camp. According to Penalty Box Radio’s Michael Gallagher, Vomáčka could be seen army-crawling in between drills and rocking some sweet sunglasses under his goalie mask after using them during a drill.
— Michael Gallagher (@mpatrickg5) June 28, 2018
After all, if you’re not having fun, then why play the game?
“That’s why we’re all here,” Vomáčka said. “We just want to have fun and work hard. I’m just trying to enjoy every second and leave it all out there.”
It’s not just his goofy personality that sets Vomáčka apart from the pack. He had himself a stellar season with the USHL’s Lincoln Stars, posting a .903 save percentage en route to a playoff berth. He’s set to join the NCAA’s UConn Huskies in the fall.
At this year’s Development Camp, he demonstrated his improved skill set and stood out with a shoutout second period of last Friday’s FutureStars game. Even though this was his second go-round at the Development Camp, he still felt the nerves that any young kid might feel.
“I mean, I was still a little nervous,” he said. “You go out there, you see the fans and everything so it was pretty cool, but I was still a little nervous. Just tried to enjoy every moment of it.”
Given the Predators’ goaltending situation at the moment, Vomacka has the gift that some fans might not give many prospects: time. At 19 years old, Vomáčka will enter the college ranks and have four years to progress in his development before the Predators will need to give him a contract. 23-year-old Juuse Saros will likely take over the starter’s crease within the next couple of seasons, meaning he will be hitting his prime when Vomáčka will likely be set to turn pro.
And his personality should assure the Predators that they’ll have no shortage of fun times ahead.
“It’s all about how your personality is,” he said. “That’s just me, enjoying it and having fun out there. That’s just me.”