When Brayden Schenn, Eric Wellwood and Tye McGinn walked out of the Glens Falls Civic Center after practice on Wednesday, they took all of their gear with them.
They, along with Sean Couturier and Zac Rinaldo, will not be back tomorrow but instead will be preparing for training camp with the Philadelphia Flyers. Couturier is already at the Flyers' practice facility, so Wellwood and Schenn are bringing him his stuff and Rinaldo had already left the rink, so will return for his bag.
Couturier, Schenn and Rinaldo spent most or all of the season with the Flyers last year, so it's no surprise that they are heading to camp. Wellwood played with the Phantoms for most of the season, but ended up with Philadelphia and played in all 11 playoff games with the Flyers.
McGinn, however, does not have any NHL experience. He was a black ace last year, but did not make it to the ice. He played well through the Phantoms first 33 games, serving on the top two lines and the first power-play shift, and earned a chance at some NHL playing time.
"I'm excited about it," McGinn said. "I didn't really know it was coming, so it was a good shock and I'm looking forward to it.
"There was no NHL so we played with NHL-caliber players and it definitely helped up my game and I learned from (Couturier and Schenn), playing with them, and hopefully it can carry on to camp."
The second-year professional plays a role that is tried and true in the NHL: big body in front of the net. This season was the first time that McGinn really focused on that specific role, and it's worked for him.
"McGinn had some success," Phantoms head coach Terry Murray said. "I thought in his time so far, he's played well. He's moving in the right direction in his career. He has a great attitude, he has the physical presence, he's tough, he can fight. He's got potential in front of him to be a good player in the NHL."
There was some question if Wellwood would return to the NHL. He had a very slow start to the season and was even a healthy scratch as he was nearly invisible on the ice. About a month ago, however, Wellwood gave himself a reality check and turned his game around.
He admitted Wednesday that desire to be called up when the lockout ended was part of that.
"My start of the season was pretty bad, so I didn't know if I was going to get the call or not. To finally get the official word is obviously a big relief," Wellwood said.
"When I saw other guys outplaying me - I would admit they were outplaying me - I had to step up my game a bit and obviously (the Flyers management) sees that."
The other names floated around as potential call ups were Harry Zolnierczyk and Brandon Manning. The state of the Flyers defense was a little uncertain, particularly as Andrej Meszaros's achilles recovers, so Manning could have been a good fill-in there.
Zolnierczyk has played very well for the Phantoms, possibly playing into greater consideration from the Flyers. The expectation that Scott Laughton, the Flyers' first-round pick in the 2012 draft, will be joining Philadelphia in camp from the OHL may have affected Zolnierczyk.
Flyers forward Danny Briere is recovering from a wrist injury and Zolnierczyk figured to be a good fit, at least while Briere couldn't play. Briere is expected to be out for seven to ten days once the season starts. If Laughton makes the roster, he could play five games before it counts towards the first year of his entry-level contract. That timeline could fit as a possibility.