New Blue Derek Roy will spend training camp studying his teammates
Sep 10, 2013 at 2:52p ET
As soon as his skates hit the ice for a series of voluntary practices that recently wrapped up, the St. Louis Blues center was watching, learning. The process will continue as training camp starts this week.
Roy is at his best when he complements everyone around him. To do that on a new team, he must get an idea of what everyone around him can do.
"I got to meet the boys, skate around and get some good workouts," Roy said Friday. "I'm trying to figure out their tendencies."
"The way they bring pucks out," he explained. "Or the way they makes passes, the way forwards make plays. You try to read off of what everyone else is doing. So when the exhibition games come and the regular season comes, you know what to expect."
Shortly after the Blues acquired the veteran from Vancouver this off-season, coach Ken Hitchcock explained why he was so giddy about the acquisition. Usually a fan of size -- Roy is only 5 feet 9, 149 pounds -- Hitchcock trumpeted Roy as a facilitator who can conduct an offense like a maestro.
"That's his strength," Hitchcock said. "When he was getting big numbers in Buffalo, he was that type of guy that had patience, bought time and made plays other guys can't make."
Before he played for two teams last year (Dallas, then Vancouver), Roy spent eight seasons with Buffalo. In four of those seasons (2006-2010) he passed out more than 40 assists.
After just a few practices, Blues center T.J. Oshie says he can see how those numbers happened.
"He brings a lot of players to him," Oshie said Friday. "A lot of guys that just skate into the corner aren't really doing anything. He sucks one guy, sucks two guys into him, then dishes it to someone who is wide open."
Roy points out that his skills as a distributor lack impact without players who can take advantage.
"You just have to work hard for each other," he said. "That's the main thing. When you feed off each other and work hard, you are going to get scoring chances."
How often those chances come will be directly linked to the practices that take place prior to the season. The faster Roy can get a feel for his new teammates, the better. Because expectations are high.
"He's one of the more skilled players I think I've played with, in terms of creating room for himself and his teammates, passing it off and giving guys an opportunity to score," Oshie said. "Great player. Hopefully, he brings more of the same once the season starts."
Follow Ben Frederickson on Twitter (@Ben_Fred), or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.