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Payerl's physicality could earn spot with Penguins

Saturday, 07.20.2013 / 12:26 PM / Prospects

Chris Adamski - Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- One by one, mostly in an unsolicited fashion, high-ranking members of the Pittsburgh Penguins organization sung the praises of center Adam Payerl.

A relative unknown a year ago after going undrafted and exhausting his junior eligibility, Payerl is about six months removed from playing in the ECHL. His meteoric rise through the organizational depth chart has Payerl on the cusp of competing for an NHL roster spot this fall.

"He's a guy you believe could fill a role in the bottom of your NHL lineup," assistant to the general manager Tom Fitzgerald said.

"He's one of our guys who has taken the biggest steps ... something we can use [in Pittsburgh]," Penguins player development coach Bill Guerin said.

Jets could turn to Scheifele, Trouba to fill lineup gaps

Friday, 07.19.2013 / 6:44 PM / Prospects

Patrick Williams - Correspondent

Mark Scheifele is fresh off a 39-goal season with the Barrie Colts of the OHL. (Photo: Getty Images)

WINNIPEG -- The Winnipeg Jets wrapped up their development camp Friday afternoon hoping to find a few answers for the many questions that confront them this summer.

General manager Kevin Cheveldayoff and his staff must determine whether two recent first-round selections, center Mark Scheifele and defenseman Jacob Trouba, can help fill the gaps in a lineup that lost a pair of players.

NHL jobs certainly are available in Winnipeg this fall.

Veteran defenseman Ron Hainsey helped stabilize the Jets' top four over the past two seasons. However, the 32-year-old is examining options as an unrestricted free agent and his return appears unlikely. Center Alexander Burmistrov, the Jets' 2010 first-round selection (No. 8), elected to leave after three seasons for a deal with AK Bars Kazan of the Kontinental Hockey League.

Penguins boast plenty of young talent on defense

Friday, 07.19.2013 / 6:32 PM / Prospects

Chris Adamski - Correspondent

Bill Guerin marvels at the maturity of almost-19-year-old Olli Maatta. (Photo: Getty Images)

PITTSBURGH -- Alain Nasreddine can barely contain his excitement.

As the assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins' American Hockey League affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton whose focus is working with the defensemen, Nasreddine is enthusiastic about the thought of working with a projected group of defensemen that's brimming with some of the NHL's top prospects at the position.

"I've always enjoyed working with a younger D," the fourth-year assistant coach said. "Now being put in a position to be dealing with guys with that much talent -- talent that I never had as a player -- it's pretty nice."

Brian Dumoulin, Derrick Pouliot, Olli Maatta and Scott Harrington form a quartet of blue-line prospects that's likely unmatched across the NHL. None of the four is older than 21, and each was a first- or second-round draft pick. All are projected for top-four NHL roles at some point -- it's just a matter of when.

Forsberg one of 10 Swedish returnees for WJC camp

Friday, 07.19.2013 / 2:13 PM / Prospects

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

Nashville Predators forward Filip Forsberg is one of 10 players from Sweden's silver-medal winners at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship that will take part in USA Hockey's National Junior Evaluation Camp next month.

The camp, Aug. 3-10 in Lake Placid, N.Y., will see Sweden practice and play exhibition games against teams from the United States, Canada and Finland. It's the first step in the roster makeup for teams taking part in the 2014 World Juniors in Malmo, Sweden, which runs from Dec. 26 to Jan. 5 2014.

Forsberg, who was the captain of last year's team, had three goals and two assists in six games. However, his availability for Sweden at this year's WJC is questionable after Forsberg made his NHL debut late last season. After totaling 33 points in 38 games with Leksand in Sweden's Allsvenskan, he had one assist in five NHL games in April after he was traded to Nashville from the Washington Capitals.

Promising Dumba hoping his time is now with Wild

Thursday, 07.18.2013 / 9:38 AM / Prospects

Dan Myers - Correspondent

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Don't get Minnesota Wild defenseman Mathew Dumba wrong -- he loves Red Deer, Alberta.

But as someone who has spent considerable time there in pursuit of his National Hockey League dreams, Dumba now would prefer to move a bit further south.

Dumba won't turn 19 years old for a couple more weeks, but the No. 7 pick in the 2012 NHL Draft already has spent three seasons with the Red Deer Rebels of the Western Hockey League. If he doesn't make the Wild this fall out of training camp, he'll have to spend a fourth winter on the Alberta prairie because of the agreement between the NHL and the Canadian Hockey League that prevents him from being sent to the minor leagues until he's 20.

Murphy sets sights on Carolina's blue line

Wednesday, 07.17.2013 / 7:47 PM / Prospects

A taste of the NHL has only whetted Ryan Murphy's appetite for more.

Murphy, the 12th player taken in the 2011 NHL Draft, was the captain of the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League when he received an emergency call-up in February after injuries decimated the Carolina Hurricanes' blue line. The then-19-year-old wound up staying with the Hurricanes for four games and averaging more than 21 minutes a night. Though he didn't have a point and was minus-4 during his brief stint, those four games gave him an idea of what life in the NHL is like.

With his junior career behind him, Murphy is aiming for a longer stay in Raleigh as he takes part in the Hurricanes' development camp this week -- though he knows that if he makes the parent club, he won't be seeing the same kind of minutes as he did in February.

Jayson Megna hopes next stop is Pittsburgh

Wednesday, 07.17.2013 / 5:54 PM / Prospects

Chris Adamski - Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- Twenty-three years ago, Jay Megna gave his son his name. He wasn't going to give him the same athletic career path.

Jay's first son Jayson ("I think that was kind of like a little pun on words, I guess," Jayson said with a chuckle) didn't grow up wanting to play college or pro football like his father did. Instead, Jayson Megna chose hockey -- and as he participates in the Pittsburgh Penguins' development camp this week, Megna has is hoping to complete a rare four-levels-of-hockey-in-four-years superfecta.

Megna, a 23-year-old forward, will have the opportunity earn one of the vacant spots in the Penguins' lineup at training camp in September.

"Jayson Megna ... is one of those guys who can compete for the opportunity to play in Pittsburgh this season," said John Hynes, coach of Pittsburgh's American Hockey League affiliate, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

Anthony Brodeur's first day at rookie camp a success

Monday, 07.15.2013 / 4:23 PM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- It was a bit surreal seeing a "Brodeur" manning one goal Monday, the first day of New Jersey Devils rookie camp, at AmeriHealth Pavilion at Prudential Center.

Still, the oldest son of Devils future Hall of Fame goalie Martin Brodeur was all smiles on the opening day of camp. He not only was given his official Devils jersey -- No. 50 -- but was allowed to sit at father's locker-room stall.

"I was thinking to myself, I've put this jersey on a lot of times, but it was No. 50 [not his father's No. 30], so it was a little different," Brodeur said following his session on the ice. "It was a pretty special feeling actually stepping on the ice with the Brodeur jersey on with the Devils logo on the front."

Brodeur even received instruction from Devils goalie coach Chris Terreri, who also coaches his father.

"It wasn't so weird that he was my coach," Brodeur said. "A coach is a coach no matter if I met him when I was 1 year old or now."

Barkov waits to heal to show Panthers his game

Monday, 07.15.2013 / 11:47 AM / Prospects

Alain Poupart - Correspondent

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. -- While the large pool of blue-chip prospects for the Florida Panthers was on display this past week during the team's annual development camp, the latest addition was relegated to the role of spectator.

While Aleksander Barkov did get on the ice for some individual skating on the final three days of the week-long camp, he couldn't take part in any of the practices or the intra-squad scrimmage on the final day because of his continuing rehabilitation from shoulder surgery in March.

Nonetheless, Barkov said he enjoyed the week because it gave him a taste of South Florida and only reinforced the notion that this is where he wants to be this fall. To further cement this point, he signed his three-year, entry-level contract with the team Monday.

Jankowski, Leipsic added to Canada junior camp

Thursday, 07.11.2013 / 10:00 AM / Prospects

Forwards Mark Jankowski and Brendan Leipsic have been added to Hockey Canada's roster for next month's national junior team development camp.

The camp is the first step in Canada picking its team for the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship, which will be held Dec. 26 to Jan. 5, 2014 in Malmo, Sweden.

Jankowski, a 6-foot-3, 168-pound center taken by the Calgary Flames with the 21st pick of the 2012 NHL Draft, had seven goals and 11 assists in 34 games as a freshman at Providence College last season.

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