WILMINGTON — Zane Gothberg came into his first development camp a quirky 17-year-old who had recently finished high school. Two years later, he’s the most seasoned veteran of the camp among six goaltending prospects.
In town for his third camp, Gothberg has more experience on the Ristuccia ice than the likes of first-round pick Malcolm Subban or the older Parker Milner. When he first arrived in 2010 (his draft year — Gothberg was a sixth-round choice of the B’s), he was ready to embark on his USHL career. After two successful seasons with the Fargo Force, he’ll head to the University of North Dakota in the fall.
Gothberg had to be patient after committing to North Dakota. Both Brad Eidsness and Aaron Dell were upperclassmen last season, so the coaches decided it would be best for Gothberg to spend another season in the USHL.
With Eidsness graduated, Gothberg, who had a 2.22 goals-against average and .921 last season for Fargo, will finally begin his college career with the hope of competing with Dell for playing time in the WCHA.
“There’s a good opportunity presenting itself,” Gothberg said. “Going in, I’ll be competing for the starting job. Competition only brings out the best in you, so I’m looking forward to it and it will be a good year. I’m really ready to step up to the next level and see what I can do there too.”
It’s a good thing Gothberg likes the competition, because with as many netminders in town for development camp as there are, he has to do even more to get the attention of coaches and the fans packing the stands. Providence coach Bruce Cassidy said as much Sunday, pointing out that the number of goalies and the fact that not all the drills involve shooting means that the netminders aren’t being worked quite as hard this summer.
“It’s different in the sense that there’s a lot more goalies and you don’t see as many shots,” Gothberg said. “The shots that you do see, your senses are kind of heightened because you’re not so fatigued from the previous day or two. Camp’s been good, seeing shots and really focusing on tracking shots and going from there.”
Two years ago, Gothberg made quite the first impression on the Boston media by explaining that he liked to “keep the room spunky and stuff”  and added that he could occasionally be found getting pumped up before games by listening to Miley Cyrus. Though his musical taste has changed a bit — he’s more of a Jason Aldean guy these days — his eccentric personality hasn’t. That’s why it isn’t a surprise that he’s getting along with Subban, whose joking nature has helped him make a similar impression on the media.
“He’s a great kid, a great guy,” Gothberg said of Subban . “He likes to joke around here and there, and that’s just like [the rest of the Bruins’ goalies], and I respect that. He’s a good goaltender. Everyone here is too. … We definitely have a good time.”