Late in the week at Development camp we had a chance to speak with Stefan Della Rovere, the Washington Capitals seventh round pick in the 2008 Entry Draft (selected 204th overall). A year after being drafted by the Caps, in addition to signing a three-year entry-level contract Delly also won a Gold Medal with the Canadian National team at the World Junior Championships. Since then, his game as progressed in the OHL (as well as winning a silver in the 2010 Championships thanks to John Carlson), and spent some time on the Hershey Bears’ roster this past season.
SDR is a rugged forward known for his abilities as an agitator, but also for his leadership abilities and the amount of heart he brings to the rink. While our interest was sparked in seeing him at last years’ camp (as well as with the Bears), we quickly learned what Japers’ Rink learned two years ago – this is a fun kid to watch play the game.
[Photograph by Neil Greenberg]
Rock the Red: This is your third time attending development camp – how did you prepare differently for this camp than for last years’ camp?
Stefan Della Rovere: This is my third camp, and you know my first camp I came here and I didn’t know what to expect. Now I come here as a third-year and I know what to expect and I kinda prepared myself better than I did the last couple years. I came here with a lot more confidence and now I have to prove myself.
RTR: Do you think you have more of an edge in drills and challenges than some of the newer guys?
SDR: I think so. I’m a veteran at this camp and I know what to expect and I know the drills that we’re going to be going through, so we obviously have a bit of an edge but there’s so many different players that are here with the aim to get better so everyone is going to bring their best.
RTR: Going the other way, do you feel like there’s more pressure on you because you’re supposed to be more familiar with the drills and formats?
SDR: Well, you always want to lead by example, though there’s not really that much pressure there. There’s pressure on making the team and stuff like that. It’s probably more pressure on yourself than anything.
RTR: You had to miss the second part of the week last year due to injury. Is there a feeling that you have to “make up for lost time”?
SDR: Not really, no. Obviously last year is in the past and coming to Development Camp I got a shoulder injury and in Rookie Camp I had a concussion so I missed a lot of time there but in this camp I’ve done pretty well and I just have to keep going.
RTR: What kind of advantages does Development Camp offer to someone like you?
SDR: If definitely helps you and prepares you for rookie camp. It keeps you aware of what to expect for the future and you know you’re going to be seeing the same stuff and doing the same stuff at rookie camp. It helps you a lot so development camp is definitely a positive for me.
RTR: I’ve heard you described as an “agitator” as well as a “goal scorer.” How would you describe your game?
SDR: I don’t know! I don’t know about the “goal scorer” part [laughs] but the agitator, yes. I try to put the puck in the net whenever I can and back in Junior with a very good team, I was playing more of a defensive role but I’m not going to shy away from a scuffle when anyone asks. I’m definitely an agitator.
RTR: Not only were you Captain of the Barrie Colts, but you were also an Alternate at the World Juniors. How have you been able to use your leadership abilities this week?
SDR: Well you know we have older guys and younger guys and obviously being that this is my third time at camp as well as Holtby and Finley, I think we all try to help each other out and especially help other guys out.
RTR: If you were making your own “fantasy line” to skate with (players past or present, living or deceased) who would you select as your center and right wing?
SDR: Jarome Iginla because he was my idol growing up and I still look up to him. I think he’s an excellent player. Todd Bertuzzi too. Growing up I had three of his jerseys and when he played for Vancouver I always watched him and kinda tried to role my game around him like a power forward and an agitator and a goal scorer as well. Yeah, definitely Jerome Iginla and Bertuzzi.
Della Rovere takes on Trever Buress during Development Camp’s final scrimmage.