12/17/2012 2:23 PM
Dec. 17, 2012
by Kelsey Perras - griffinshockey.com
When Landon Ferraro stepped out onto the ice this season, he knew it was time to take a step forward. After a successful rookie season was cut short due to injury, he came back this year stronger than ever.
Ferraro’s rookie experience definitely came with some surprises.
“When you get the puck, you don’t have the time to look around and assess your next move like you do in junior,” he said. “The guys can recover so much faster, so it’s important to get the shot off as quick as possible.”
He credits his full summer of training for his strong start to the 2012-13 season.
“It was my first summer in four years that I didn’t have an injury to tinker with so I had four months to get ready,” said Ferraro, who is already on pace to beat the 20 (9-11—20) points he put up in the 55 games he played during his rookie season.
“I feel a lot stronger, I can stay on pucks a lot more and I am able to make plays that I wasn’t confident enough to make last season,” he continued. “I trust myself and my shot a bit more than I did last year.”
Along with the improvements he has made to his game, Ferraro has also established his role with the team, both on and off the ice.
“I killed the occasional penalty last year, but my main job now is killing penalties, which gets me a lot more minutes and I like that role,” said Ferraro. “It’s something that the team trusts me with.”
The trust that Jeff Blashill has placed in the 6-foot, 179-pound forward has been quickly rewarded. Ferraro notched his AHL-best fourth shorthanded point of the season when he recorded the insurance goal on Dec. 9 versus Rockford. He has factored in on four of the Griffins’ five shorthanded tallies, the second-highest total in the AHL.
“As far as off the ice, it hasn’t changed too much, I try and be vocal when I can, but I am also aware that there are guys here with more experience. So I take there lead and if I can add in anything I do, but if not I just make sure I’m ready for the next game.”
Not only has Ferraro built up his confidence level, but he has also become more of a consistent player. He places third on the team with 17 points (8-9—12) in 24 games – only three points shy of equaling his rookie year numbers.
“Even if I don’t put up a point during a game, I feel like I can still contribute and make room for other guys,” said Ferraro, who had points in nine of the team’s first 13 games. “I always feel like I am able to do something to help the team.”
Although Ferraro has certainly come a long way since last season, his hard work has far from stopped. One thing he is working on is containing his excitement on the ice.
“It’s important to know when to lay off. Sometimes you can get too excited to go into the boards and get a hit, that you end up out of position,” said Ferraro. “I need to make sure I’m not taking unnecessary risks out there.”