Once the 2018-19 season concluded, each Barracuda player returned back to his hometown or offseason hangout and Sjbarracuda.com has been catching up with players all summer long. Our final Catching up with the ‘Cuda of the summer features Jeffrey Viel.
After development camp in late June, what have you been up to this summer? I train Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. I’ll either train twice a day, get on the ice after or play golf.
Last year you were on an AHL contract before signing an entry-level contract this offseason. Is it a relief knowing you’ll be in San Jose for years to come and does it change your approach at all? The contract doesn’t change much but it gives me another year to improve myself and show the organization that I can make it to the NHL. I want to improve and be better than last year, even if I’m proud of my season last year. I just want to be better next year.
You filled a lot of roles last season for the Barracuda, and you proved a lot by earning another contract, but what are your goals going into next season? As you said, I’m the type of guy that you can put in all situations. My goal is to try and get to the next level as soon as possible but we’ll see what happens. There is a lot of competition in this organization but that’s what pushes the guys to be better.
What part of your game are you working on the most this offseason? Obviously, the game is faster so I want to be faster. But not just my speed, I want my hands to be faster, react quicker. So, yeah, the whole speed part of the game is what I’d say I want to improve the most.
What are you doing from a training standpoint to improve your speed? The start of the summer we focused more on strength but now in the final month or so, the part I’m in right now, we are focusing mostly on speed. On the ice, I do drills on quick feet, quick hands but also in the gym we’re working on the quick-twitch strength.
Being a player that isn’t afraid to drop the gloves from time to time, have you done any boxing or MMA training this summer? I have in the past but not this summer because I’ve been so busy in the gym and on the ice. I liked it a lot when I was doing it so maybe next summer I’ll try and find a spot. My dad told me I should do boxing too (laughs) and I know but I don’t have time so there’s nothing I can do.
Have you been training with any other pro players this summer? Yeah, yeah, I train with Pierre-Luc Dubois, Samuel Girard, Alex Killorn, Mattieu Joseph… lots of Tampa Bay Lightning guys because my strength coach is Mark Lambert who is Tampa’s strength and conditioning coach. Those are the names that come to mind. There are a lot of pro guys there, my group is four guys that play in the “A”, so there are a lot of pro guys in my gym.
How long have you been training with Mark Lambert? It’s my third year, but my strength coach is Sébastien Lagrange, it’s his assistant.
It sounds like your summer has been filled with training. Have you been able to do anything else fun away from the game? Yeah, the first month I didn’t skate at all. I was able to hang out and play a lot of golf. I also went on a trip to Causapscal which is about seven hours from here. It’s where my family is from. I also went to Quebec City and I did a few weekend road trips but that’s about it.
From the photo you sent, it looks like you’ve been able to get on the lake this summer, too? Yeah, my girlfriend’s dad owns a second house on the lake so I went there a couple of times. He owns a boat so I did some wakeboarding and water skiing.
When are you planning on getting back to San Jose? I’ll be flying back to San Jose on September 4th. I’ll probably start in a hotel and then I’ll try and find a place with Tom (Thomas Grégoire). My last couple of weeks here, I’ll basically be doing what I’ve been doing. Training and skating three or four times a week. But I’m excited to get back and get things going soon.