VANCOUVER - With a year's experience, Tyler Madden knew what to expect coming into the Vancouver Canucks development camp this week.

But the knowledge didn't make fitness testing any easier.

"You can prepare for that thing as much as you want but that bike will kick the crap out of you," the 19-year-old centre said with a smile Tuesday.

Madden is one of 26 Canucks prospects at this year's camp in Vancouver, where each athlete is looking to leave an impression on coaches before a roster is set for September's formal training camps.

He attended last year's camp and a lot has changed since.

Madden, drafted 68th overall by Vancouver in 2018, started college at Northeastern University, where he put up 12 goals and 16 assists last season, and played for Team USA at the world junior hockey championships last winter.

While it's been a special year, it's been challenging, too.

"I knew going there that (NCAA hockey) would be a tougher game and stuff," Madden said. "But it was a lot harder than people may think and the transition is big. But I was able to do that and kind of conquer that."

Will Lockwood had to conquer an injury in order to get to camp. Surgery on a separated shoulder kept the right-winger from participating last year.

The injury has been "a little frustrating," the 21-year-old admitted.

"I try to make the most out of it, take it day by day," he said. "Doing therapy for your shoulder isn't the most fun thing in the world. But I had a great support system with me and made the most out of it."

Lockwood came into development camp in great shape both physically and mentally, said Ryan Johnson, the Canucks senior director of player development.

"Obviously it's been an arduous time over a couple year period there with the shoulder injury and the recovery time. But it says so much about the kid that he's stuck with it," he said. "You can tell there's a maturity not just physically, he's come a long way."

Lockwood spent last season playing at the University of Michigan, where he tallied 31 points in 26 games.

He's committed to going back to school this fall and said playing a senior year for the Wolverines is best for his future.

"I think it will give me a chance to develop a little bit more, develop into the player I want to become. And Vancouver fully supports that. And I couldn't be more grateful for that," said Lockwood, who's been named captain of next year's Michigan team.

Still, the 64th overall pick from the 2016 draft said he's dedicated to playing for the Canucks once his collegiate career is done.

"It's kind of come to a point where I owe them a little bit. So I'm working on developing my game and the end plan is coming to Vancouver," he said.

When Lockwood does make it to Vancouver, he'll be in good company. His former teammate, defenceman Quinn Hughes, officially joining the team in March after the NCAA season ended.

"Quinn's kind of paved the way a little bit, coming from U of M as well," Lockwood said. "There's no question that he's going to do great, he's such a great talent. But he's been a good friend of mine when we were playing together and to see him do it is amazing."

Other prospects at this year's camp are more recent additions to the Canucks franchise.

Vancouver picked Swedish forward Nils Hoglander 40th overall in Saturday's draft. On Tuesday, the 18-year-old was grinding his way through drills in a Canucks jersey.

Johnson said Vancouver's scouts had been hoping they'd be able to scoop up Hoglander, who had 14 points in the Swedish hockey league last season.

"Everything he does with pace and jump and excitement. He's always got a smile on his face. You can tell he loves the game and he's got a special skill set," Johnson said.

The teen's explosiveness and great hands don't hurt either, he added.

"For me, he's got a good mix of the speed and the compete and the skill level, and that's something we really need here in Vancouver," Johnson said.

After the draft, the Canucks posted a video of some of Hoglander's intense workout regimes. But the teen said his training isn't all serious.

"Of course I work hard in the summer but I also do the fun things with the stick and with the unicycle and that stuff," he said.

Hoglander said he learned to ride a one-wheeled vehicle as a kid.

"It's fun to do and also good for hockey," he said.

One prospect who isn't at this week's camp is Vasily Podkolzin, who the Canucks picked 10th overall at last week's draft.

The 18-year-old Russian forward couldn't partake because he has two years left on his KHL contract.

Hockey coaches always want to work with their players right after the draft, but the staff in Vancouver know Podkolzin will be well taken care of overseas, Johnson said.

"Obviously he's an elite player and someone we just have to monitor from afar and watch his development," he said.

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.

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