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Posted On Tuesday, 09.16.2014 / 9:07 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - NHL Rookie Camps blog

Fleury and Nedeljkovic earning praise for Carolina

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Haydn Fleury and goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic certainly have a lot working in their favor based on their performance at the Traverse City Prospect Tournament at Centre Ice Arena this week.

Both players, selected over the first two rounds of the 2014 NHL Draft, haven't appeared out of place, are getting a lot of exposure and are coming up big in pressure situations. Fleury, who was the second defenseman chosen in the first round (No. 7) last June, has three assists, all on the power-play, and has taken six shots.

"My [realistic] goal is to make the big club when I'm 19," Fleury said. "I've got one more year of junior [with the Red Deer Rebels] but at the same time I'm going to main camp with the thought I'm going to make it tough for them to send me back. Realistically I think I need that one more year of junior to get stronger and more mature and next year maybe I can step in and start making contributions."

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Posted On Tuesday, 09.16.2014 / 8:00 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - NHL Rookie Camps blog

Red Wings' Sproul making a case in Traverse City

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Detroit Red Wings prospect Ryan Sproul knows opportunity is knocking after a productive rookie season in the American Hockey League with the Grand Rapids Griffins last season.

The 6-foot-4, 205-pound defenseman, selected in the second round (No. 55) of the 2011 NHL Draft, has been one of Detroit's most impressive players on the back end in the Traverse City Prospect Tournament this week.

"He's big, mobile, can handle the puck and has a rocket for the shot," Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said. "He capped off a very good junior career [in 2012-13] by winning defenseman of the year in the Canadian Hockey League and then had a nice rookie year in Grand Rapids."

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Posted On Monday, 09.15.2014 / 10:31 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - NHL Rookie Camps blog

Red Wings prospect doing well after scare

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Detroit Red Wings prospect Brandon Robinson is alert and feeling well at a hospital after crashing into the boards in the third period of his team's victory against the Minnesota Wild on Monday in the Traverse City Prospects Tournament.

Red Wings general manager Ken Holland informed the media after the game that Robinson, who was removed from the ice on a stretcher before being taken to Munson Medical Center, is scheduled to have an X-ray taken for precautionary reasons.

"I was talking to him before he left for the hospital and his mother went with him," Holland said. "He is fine and doing well. He is moving well and talking, but they will take an X-ray."

The Red Wings will play in the third-place game of the tournament on Tuesday. It is not known whether or not Robinson, a free-agent invitee from the Kitchener Rangers in the Ontario Hockey League, will play in the game.

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Posted On Monday, 09.15.2014 / 6:05 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - NHL Rookie Camps blog

Wild pleased with solid pipeline on defense

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- The Minnesota Wild have quietly accumulated a formidable stable of defense prospects in the pipeline, including Matt DumbaChristian Folin and Gustav Olofsson.

All three players have been on display here at the Traverse City Prospect Tournament under the tutelage of coach Kurt Kleinendorst. Dumba, a first-round pick (No. 7) of the Wild in the 2012 NHL Draft, is making his third appearance at the tournament.

Dumba (6-foot, 183 pounds), who played in 13 games for Minnesota in 2013-14, is looking to stick with the big club this season. Kleinendorst, the coach of the team's American Hockey League-affiliate, the Iowa Wild, acknowledged that Dumba just needs to play a simple game.

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Posted On Monday, 09.15.2014 / 3:07 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - NHL Rookie Camps blog

Kevin Hayes excited to be back on the ice

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- New York Rangers center Kevin Hayes is just happy to be back on the ice and playing hockey.

Hayes was a primary topic of discussion over the summer after signing an entry-level contract with the Rangers on Aug. 20. The 6-foot-5, 225-pound forward became an unrestricted free agent when he and the Chicago Blackhawks, who selected him in the first round of the 2010 NHL Draft (No. 24), could not agree to a contract.

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Posted On Sunday, 09.14.2014 / 1:26 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - NHL Rookie Camps blog

Future on display for Blues in Traverse City

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- The immediate and not-so-distant future is on display for the St. Louis Blues at the Traverse City Prospect Tournament this week at Centre Ice Arena.

Forwards Ty Rattie (second round, No. 32, 2011), Robby Fabbri (first round, No. 21, 2014) and Ivan Barbashev (second round, No. 33, 2014), and defenseman Thomas Vannelli (second round, No. 47, 2013), head that impressive list.

Rattie, who scored 31 goals and 48 points as a rookie with the Chicago Wolves in the American Hockey League last season, would seem to have the best shot at earning an immediate roster spot out of training camp.

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Posted On Sunday, 09.14.2014 / 10:23 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - NHL Rookie Camps blog

Reinhart focused on earning his spot with Sabres

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Buffalo Sabres prospect Sam Reinhart knows nothing will be handed to him, including a roster spot on a team that so desperately needs star power down the middle.

Whether or not Reinhart, selected No. 2 by the Sabres at the 2014 NHL Draft, is able to fill that void sooner than later remains to be seen. The 6-foot-1, 185-pound center is receiving his first chance to make an impression this week at the Traverse City Prospect tournament.

Though Reinhart has a minus-3 rating and is without a point in two losses, he has two shots and has played a smart game.

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Posted On Sunday, 09.14.2014 / 10:09 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - NHL Rookie Camps blog

Stars' Ritchie to miss rest of Traverse City tournament

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Dallas Stars prospect Brett Ritchie will miss the remaining two games of the Traverse City Prospect tournament because of an injured pinkie on his right hand.

Ritchie, who sustained the injury in the first period of the Stars' 4-2 victory against the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday, believes it is nothing too serious. He was wearing a splint on the pinkie following the game.

"I just jarred my finger a little bit; I hope to be ready for training camp," Ritchie said. "It's hard to tell right now after the injury but I think I'll be fine."

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Posted On Thursday, 09.11.2014 / 1:24 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2015 NHL Draft blog

All-American Prospects Game rosters announced

USA Hockey has announced the rosters for each team competing in the third annual CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game on Sept. 25 at First Niagara Center in Buffalo, N.Y.

The players selected to compete in the All-American Prospects Game were chosen by USA Hockey in conjunction with NHL Central Scouting.

Former NHL players Mike Grier and Eddie Olczyk will each coach a team at the event. Grier spent four of his 14 NHL seasons with the Sabres, including his final two, 2009-11. The native of Detroit also played three seasons at Boston University, the same college where center Jack Eichel will play this season. Grier will have the opportunity to coach Eichel at the All-American Prospects Game.

Eichel, a center, is expected to be one of the top-two picks at the 2015 NHL Draft in Sunrise, Fla., on June 26-27, and also play a prominent role for the United States at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship.

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Posted On Thursday, 09.11.2014 / 3:00 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - NHL Rookie Camps blog

Top picks to grace Traverse City Tournament

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- It's no surprise that each of the eight teams headed to the Traverse City Prospect Tournament, which begins Friday, will be fielding impressive lineups.

The Buffalo Sabres will showcase 10 players selected in either the first or second round during the past four years, the Dallas Stars  will have eight and the defending tournament champion Detroit Red Wings will feature five from the past four.

The ultimate goal is to be presented the first-place plaque to take home and have a permanent trophy displayed year-round at the Centre ICE Arena in Traverse City, Mich., as the tournament champion.

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