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Prospects

Hurricanes prospect Hanifin mature beyond his years

Wednesday, 07.15.2015 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Kurt Dusterberg - NHL.com Correspondent

RALEIGH -- Noah Hanifin sat at his locker stall, still catching his breath from a rigorous on-ice workout at Carolina Hurricanes development camp.

When asked what left an impression on him during the busy week, he sounded like a young man who made the most of his freshman year at Boston College.

"We had a really good seminar on leadership this morning, which I got a lot out of," Hanifin said, noting that a local college professor conducted the class. "It was about how important leadership and character is, especially in the sport of hockey. She showed us some movie clips and examples of that, which is pretty cool. I got to write down some notes."

By the end of the July 6-11 camp, Carolina's first pick (No. 5) at the 2015 NHL Draft had signed a three-year, entry-level contract to begin his professional career.

When Hanifin steps on the ice for Carolina's training camp in September, he will be 18 years old. Conventional wisdom suggests that defensemen have a steeper learning curve than forwards, but making the jump from the amateur ranks to the NHL is not impossible for teenage defensemen.

Sought-after Reilly feeling right at home with Wild

Wednesday, 07.15.2015 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Dan Myers - NHL.com Correspondent

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Taking the ice about 30 minutes from his hometown, Minnesota Wild defenseman Mike Reilly is in a whole new world.

Born in Chicago but raised in Chanhassen, Minn., a Minneapolis suburb on the southwest end of the Twin Cities, stepping inside Xcel Energy Center is nothing new for Reilly. His dad, also named Mike, is a minority investor with the Wild, and Reilly and his brothers have been coming to games here nearly his entire life.

But stepping on the ice for the Wild, which Reilly did last week for the first time during development camp, is something that's difficult for him to believe is true.

"It's starting to sink in a little more now skating with the jersey on," Reilly said. "It's a great feeling to wear that jersey."

Rantanen's size may help him crack Avalanche lineup

Tuesday, 07.14.2015 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent

CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- At 6-foot-4, 211 pounds, right wing Mikko Rantanen stood out at Colorado Avalanche development camp, where he aimed to make a positive first impression before heading to training camp in September.

Rantanen, 18, was the Avalanche's first-round pick (No. 10) at the 2015 NHL Draft. He signed a three-year, entry-level contract Monday and his goal is to make the opening-night roster (Oct. 8 vs. the Minnesota Wild), just as Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon did in his first pro season.

"I will do everything I can to be there and fight for a place in the lineup," Rantanen said. "I know it's hard and it will take hard work, but I will do everything I can and fight as hard as I can to be there. It was an awesome feeling to hear my name called by Colorado, and I'm looking forward to training camp."

Fiala putting in work to win spot on Predators roster

Tuesday, 07.14.2015 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Robby Stanley - NHL.com Correspondent

NASHVILLE -- Kevin Fiala is doing everything he can to ensure he'll make a good impression on the Nashville Predators coaching staff at training camp in September.

The 18-year-old Swiss forward even started a few months early.

After his exit meetings with Predators general manager David Poile and coach Peter Laviolette at the end of last season, Fiala decided to return to Nashville in May to begin his training for the 2015-16 season. He wanted to be around the facility to prove to the organization he was willing to do whatever it took to make the Predators' opening-day roster.

"I just wanted to come here early to Nashville to know the city better and just practice here with [Predators strength and conditioning coach David Good] and do what Nashville says to make the team next year," Fiala said last week at Predators development camp.

Brodeur's son, Gaudreau's brother at Devils camp

Tuesday, 07.14.2015 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- Two players with close ties to New Jersey hockey were looking to make an impression on the opening day of New Jersey Devils development camp at AmeriHealth Pavilion on Monday.

Goaltender Anthony Brodeur, the son of former Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur, and forward Matthew Gaudreau, the brother of Carneys Point, N.J, native and Calgary Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau, each hope to make the most of a big opportunity.

Flyers' Provorov confident he's ready for NHL pace

Monday, 07.13.2015 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

STONE HARBOR, N.J. -- Ivan Provorov believes he is ready to play in the NHL.

"I think I'm a complete player and I think I'll be able to adjust to the speed and physical play," Provorov said at Philadelphia Flyers development camp last week.

Provorov, 18, who the Flyers selected with the No. 7 pick at the 2015 NHL Draft, has proven in the past to be a quick learner.

Born in Yaroslavl, Russia, he moved to Wilkes-Barre, Pa., about two hours north of Philadelphia, in 2011 when he was 14. He knew little English and almost nothing of American culture, but he adjusted quickly in his two seasons with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights of the Atlantic Youth Hockey League. In 2012-13, he led them to an under-16 national title.

Love of family drives Islanders' Dal Colle to succeed

Monday, 07.13.2015 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

New York Islanders prospect Michael Dal Colle was forced to grow up faster than most.

When he was 11, Dal Colle's mother, Wendy, was diagnosed with breast cancer. On his birthday, she was too ill to get out of bed to help him celebrate. She could only listen while friends and family were singing "Happy Birthday" downstairs.

Wendy Dal Colle nearly lost her battle more than once. Fortunately, she beat the deadly disease in 2009 after two long years.

Michael's older brother, Jonluca, has autism. Someday soon, little brother is going to play in the NHL. It will provide Michael the opportunity to give his brother the best life has to offer.

Young players impress Sabres coach, GM at camp

Monday, 07.13.2015 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Joe Yerdon - NHL.com Correspondent

BUFFALO -- When the Buffalo Sabres wrapped up development camp Sunday, those in charge of turning around the franchise expressed optimism about the direction they are headed.

"I think you saw [improvement] in, and I don't want to bring up names because I'm going to forget names, but I think the guys that were here last year for the first time vs. coming in for the second time this year showed great improvement," Sabres general manager Tim Murray said. "And they know when they get here it's going to be a lot of hard work and that they have to be ready for it.

"I go back to last year, and I judge from there on because I don't know exactly what they did before they got here. So I'm going from last year forward, and I like what I see."

More than 40 players took part in the annual camp that was highlighted by the Sabres' first-round picks from the past two drafts, centers Sam Reinhart and Jack Eichel.

Messier's nephew makes own mark at Oilers camp

Sunday, 07.12.2015 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Derek Van Diest - NHL.com Correspondent

EDMONTON -- Luke Esposito said he feels fortunate to have an impressive hockey pedigree but is eager to carve his own identity in the game.

Esposito, 21, who was invited to Edmonton Oilers development camp, is the nephew of Hockey Hall of Fame member Mark Messier and his great uncle is Murray Murdoch, one of the original New York Rangers, a two-time Stanley Cup champion and a winner of the Lester Patrick Trophy for contributions to hockey in the United States.

"My whole family, coming from a hockey background growing up, you were kind of thrown right into it," Esposito said. "So getting to experience that and having both my uncles, my uncle Mark and my uncle Paul and my grandpa (Doug Messier, Mark's father and a former minor-league coach) available all the way up, and to be able to access all their knowledge and all their experience, has been vital in my career so far and I don't expect that to change. Any questions I've ever had, whether it's the casual postgame hockey talk or anything else, they're always there, so it's great having them around."

Healthy Fabbri hopes to make Blues out of camp

Sunday, 07.12.2015 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent

HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- Center Robby Fabbri was arguably the St. Louis Blues' most pleasant surprise at training camp last season.

But he sustained an upper-body injury when Minnesota Wild defenseman Christian Folin inadvertently fell on him in a preseason game, and Fabbri's improbable journey did not have a storybook ending.

The goal hasn't changed this summer for the 19-year-old Mississauga, Ontario, native, who participated in Blues development camp last week.

"I like to set my goals high," said Fabbri, who was the Blues' top pick (No. 21) in the 2014 NHL Draft. "Getting there as soon as possible is one of my goals. I've been here working hard with [Blues strength and conditioning coach] Nelson [Ayotte] and the trainers to make sure I'm ready and to make that possible. Obviously I'd like to (make the team), but it's a big step."

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