Zach Biggar has returned to the K.C. Irving Regional Centre this season with some NHL knowledge in his back pocket. Biggar is back on the ice with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan this season following a stint at the New Jersey Devils rookie training camp.
The camp was nothing short of a “great experience” for the young Titan blue-liner. “It was nice to be at an NHL facility and see how [and] NHL team runs itself and holds itself. And being with all the (professional) guys and all the other rookies who are just to earn a spot just as I was,” said Biggar. “Good experience there.”
During his time in New Jersey he had the opportunity to see current and former NHL players affiliated with the Devils organization, such as Martin Brodeur. The self-discipline with which professional players handle themselves is one of the biggest takeaways for Biggar following his time with the Devils. “It’s really your choice to go to bed on time, to eat the right food, and all that stuff. And if you don’t, then you’re not going to be there,” he said. “It’s really how to maintain yourself and to be a professional.”
Biggar – who stands six-feet and weighs in at 186-pounds – was drafted 27th overall in the second round of the 2019 QMJHL Entry Draft by Acadie-Bathurst. In the 33 games Biggar played during the 2020-21 season, he had 11 assists at +3. Throughout the 2021 playoffs he had three assists in nine games.
The Portage, PEI product was one of 10 Titan players who secured roster invites to various NHL training camp teams prior to the QMJHL regular season.
Here’s a quick Q&A from his time with the Devils:
Q: What was the experience like at New Jersey’s rookie camp?
A: It was really, cool being with an NHL and that facility. Being a part of an NHL camp, it was crazy to see all the pro guys and coaches and how everyone holds themselves and how they take care of their bodies. And obviously the pace of the game is pretty, crazy.
Q: What was your biggest take away from your time with the Devils?
A: It would just be the way the pro guys handle themselves, how they take care of their bodies, and they prepare themselves for games or practices and off-ice and all that stuff. It’s just (they have a) very professional mindset and very disciplined with what you do.
Q: How did it feel to be a handful of Titan players attending various NHL rookie camps?
A: It’s a great honour, it’s great for our team. You know, it’s awesome that 10 of us went and got to experience the same thing, so I think we all have a great experience now coming back.
Q: How do you feel this experience will help the Titan this season?
A: I think it just gives more confidence to be able to [go to] a pro camp and get to experience what the pro life is like and play with a lot of real good players and to bump our team up. So, I think we’re all coming back with a lot of confidence and just be ready as a group.
Q: What is your own personal goal this season?
A: I got passed on the draft last year, so I’m trying to prove to all 32 teams why they should of picked me. So, obviously I want a great year myself, but the main goal for me is to win this year. That’s what our team’s about to do and that’s what I will do, too. We play hockey to win. So, I really, really want to win this year.
Q: What is your team goal?
A: We’ve been in rebuild for a bit now and last year we got over the hump a bit…won our playoff series and we got some experience under our belt. So, this year we’ve very high expectations and we’re going for it 100 per cent.
Q: What skill set do you bring to the Titan?
A: For me, a two-way defenceman, I try to make good breakout passes and breakout in our end quickly and when the opportunity comes I like to jump in the rush. I like to play to in the offensive zone and I think I’m pretty, creative and I like to just make plays for my teammates and just have some fun out there and use my skating to my ability and have fun.
Q: What were you looking forward to the most about returning to Bathurst?
A: Seeing all the guys again. My first time heading to a pro camp, you’re away from your team. I was home on P.E.I for 10 days and I was gone to camp for seven, so, during the whole month of September I’m usually here. So, I was most excited to get back on the ice with the guys and see everyone and just get back into the routine here in Bathurst, start building toward our championship.
Q: What is your favourite thing about being a Titan?
A: Being a Titan’s awesome. There are great fans here in Bathurst, it’s a great place to play. I take pride in saying I play for the smallest market in junior hockey. I love it here. It’s nice being in a smaller town and everyone knows you [and] you see the fans and they’re all excited to come to the games too, that’s my favourite part. I love it here.
Q: If you could describe this year’s team in one word, what would it be?