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Ellis has potential to surface soon in Nashville

Friday, 07.15.2011 / 3:03 PM / Prospects

John Manasso - Correspondent

Since the Nashville Predators joined the NHL in 1998, only three of their draft picks have earned a roster spot without having first played with the organization's American Hockey League affiliate.

David Legwand, the No. 2 selection in the 1998 Entry Draft, played one game in the expansion franchise's inaugural season. Scott Hartnell, the sixth pick in 2000, did it, but he only scored 2 goals and had 14 assists in 75 games.

And last year, backup goalie Anders Lindback made the jump without the benefit of spending time first with the Milwaukee Admirals, but he was 22 and had played in Sweden's Elite League.

Enter Ryan Ellis. The 20-year-old defenseman won the Ontario Hockey League's player of the year award in 2011, finishing with 101 points (24 goals and a Sergei Zubov-like 77 assists), which tied him for fourth in the league. The others ahead of Ellis in the points race all were forwards.

Fans turned prospects savor week with Pens

Thursday, 07.14.2011 / 2:40 PM / Prospects

Alan Robinson - Correspondent

"The players don't treat you like they're better than you. They're great guys and willing to help you along and help you further your own career and show you some things that made them successful. It's really nice to see." -- Rob Madore

PITTSBURGH – Like every hockey-obsessed kid who grows up in Pittsburgh -- and there are tens of thousands of them -- Rob Madore and Andrew Blazek always wanted to pull on a Penguins sweater. Not one you can buy at the team merchandise store, but the real deal.

The two college players -- Madore is a goalie at Vermont, Blazek a defenseman at Robert Morris -- are doing exactly that this week at the team's prospect development camp, which concludes Saturday afternoon with a scrimmage at Consol Energy Center that is open to the public for free. The invited but undrafted college players from suburban Pittsburgh were permitted to attend as long as they paid their own expenses.

Nelson ready for next step on way to the Island

Thursday, 07.14.2011 / 12:36 PM / Prospects

John Kreiser - Columnist

"Brock looks like a totally different player. That's what happens when you're that size. He's got a long way to continue at North Dakota, but he's put on some muscle, he's put it on the right way. His stride looks stronger. He looks stronger on the puck, even after only one day when I've seen him on the ice. He's making a lot of strides."
-- Jack Capuano

Brock Nelson is ready for a bigger role with the University of North Dakota this coming season. The New York Islanders hope that's a prelude to having Nelson play a significant role on Long Island.

Nelson, taken by the Islanders with the final pick of the opening round of the 2010 Entry Draft after tearing up the Minnesota high school ranks at Warroad High School, had a solid freshman year as UND made the Frozen Four. But it ended painfully -- Nelson was taken off the ice on a stretcher after going back-first into the boards during the Fighting Sioux's 2-0 semifinal loss to Michigan.

But as he showed this week during the Islanders' rookie development camp, there have been no lingering effects from the injury.

Strome trying to enjoy his new home

Wednesday, 07.13.2011 / 4:56 PM / Prospects

Greg Picker - Staff Writer

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- With New York Islanders prospect camp in full swing, Ryan Strome has no time to settle onto Long Island.

Less than a month after being selected by the Islanders with the fifth pick of the Entry Draft, Strome stepped on the ice Wednesday at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum for the first time.
"It was cool. It could be a big part of my future, and hopefully it is," Strome said after his first on-ice session.
Strome and the rest of the prospects at the Islanders' development camp not only are busy on the ice this week, but will take in all sorts of activities around Long Island. After physicals Tuesday, they went fishing on Long Island Sound. On Friday, they will trek to Citi Field and take in a Mets game against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Islanders' de Haan aiming for NHL spot

Wednesday, 07.13.2011 / 4:13 PM / Prospects

John Kreiser - Columnist

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- In terms of his NHL career, Calvin de Haan is a rookie trying to make the NHL for the first time. But at this week's New York Islanders development camp, he's one of the old hands.

The Isles' "other" first-round pick in the 2009 Entry Draft -- de Haan was taken 12th, 11 slots after New York grabbed John Tavares with the No. 1 pick -- is attending his third development camp this week at the Nassau Coliseum, the place he hopes to call home this fall. That makes the 20-year-old a veteran among the 18- and 19-year-olds who are getting their first look at professional hockey.

"I'm old news now," de Haan said with a laugh after Wednesday's workout at the Coliseum. "I try to be welcoming to the younger guys, kind of show them the ropes a little bit."

Lauridsen set for next move in his hockey career

Wednesday, 07.13.2011 / 12:18 PM / Prospects

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

"I'm in the gym every day and I see him in the gym every day. I know if a guy trains or a guy works out. There's a difference. There's people that train to stay in shape or there's guys who work out to get better, and Oliver is in that category." -- Ian Laperriere

With only two professional hockey games under his belt, defenseman Oliver Lauridsen is a bit of a mystery to the Philadelphia Flyers.

However, one current member of the team feels he has a pretty good idea what the big Danish-born blueliner is all about.

"I'm in the gym every day and I see him in the gym every day," Ian Laperriere told during the team's recent prospect development camp. "I know if a guy trains or a guy works out. There's a difference. There's people that train to stay in shape or there's guys who work out to get better, and Oliver is in that category."

A 2009 seventh-round draft pick, the 6-foot-6, 220-pound Lauridsen had a chance to further impress Flyers management at the week-long camp. It was his first game action since March 22.

Prospect goalies looking to post-Marty future

Wednesday, 07.13.2011 / 9:59 AM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

"Goalies are funny … you never know when they're going to come forward. But we've been extremely pleased with Clermont and Wedgewood. They both had very good years with the teams they played for. I know (goalie coaches) Chris (Terreri) and Jacques (Caron) have been very impressed by them."
-- Lou Lamoriello

NEWARK, N.J. -- Like it or not, there will come a time when future Hall of Fame goalie Martin Brodeur decides to call it a career.
It even could be at the conclusion of the 2011-12 season, when the NHL's all-time leader in regular-season wins, shutouts, games played and numerous other marks has played the final season of the six-year deal he signed prior to the start of the 2006-07 season. Whenever the inevitable does occur, who takes over between the pipes?
Will the Devils consider someone from outside the organization? Or do they begin a new era from within?
"Whoever it is, I hope it's (another) Martin Brodeur," Devils Director of Scouting David Conte said.

Ashton ready to make his mark with Lightning

Tuesday, 07.12.2011 / 1:00 PM / Prospects

Greg Picker - Staff Writer

At Tampa Bay Lighting development camp, a familiar face is on the ice for the third consecutive summer. Carter Ashton, the 29th pick in the 2009 Entry Draft, looks to be another young piece of the puzzle being assembled by the club in a quest to bring the Stanley Cup back to Florida.

"Obviously I'd have to prove myself," Ashton told "But that's my goal, just to be in the NHL this season."

Although Ashton has not made his mark on the NHL just yet, his opportunity seems close. He had 33 goals and 71 points in 62 Western Hockey League games last season with the Regina Pats and Tri-City Americans. He also had 3 points in seven games for Canada at the 2011 World Junior Championship.

Hayes brothers aim to be Hawks teammates soon

Tuesday, 07.12.2011 / 10:13 AM / Prospects

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

"We played (on the same line) a little bit at college and it was unbelievable. Then you come in here and get to play with each other again and we were roommates here. It was unbelievable. It's a dream come true. A lot of guys dream about playing with their brother for a long time and for me and him it's come true so far. Hopefully we can keep it going." -- Kevin Hayes

A year ago, Jimmy and Kevin Hayes came into the Chicago Blackhawks' prospect camp with their sights set on opening some eyes before heading off to play at Boston College.

This time, the brothers from Boston came back to the Windy City for the Hawks' summer camp feeling like seasoned veterans among the many draft picks and other free agents invited to participate. Not only was it their second prospects camp, but both Kevin and Jimmy have developed quite a bit in the last year -- physically and in their skills.

"Last year I was a lot more nervous," said Kevin, a 6-foot-3, 205-pound center who was Chicago's top pick (No. 24) in the 2010 Entry Draft. "I was their first-round guy. I felt like I had to do a lot of good things, and I was pretty nervous on the ice. I wanted to make sure I showed them why they picked me. This year, I came in with my brother again and was more relaxed. I felt a lot more comfortable."

McNeill aims to make Hawks' roster this season

Friday, 07.08.2011 / 11:07 AM / Prospects

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

Like the rest of the Chicago Blackhawks' prospects, center Mark McNeill took note of the numerous moves the team made recently in both free agency and trades.

The Hawks dealt away defenseman Brian Campbell and forwards Tomas Kopecky and Troy Brouwer before bringing in a haul of eight veterans via various transactions. Barring one or more trades to lessen the backlog of players, those vets will open training camp in the fall with Chicago. It doesn't leave much, if any, room for prospects to crack the Hawks' roster.

Still, that's the stated goal for the 18-year old McNeill, a 6-foot-1, 211-pounder taken by Chicago with the 18th pick at the 2011 Entry Draft.
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Quote of the Day

It is really special. I had a lot of friends and family here tonight, and for my first [NHL] game in here it was great. I played here as an elementary-school player in the city championships and this was my first time back. It was a lot of fun..

— Toronto native Brandon Pirri after scoring 2 goals for Panthers in win at Maple Leafs on Thursday