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PROSPECT PULSE: Foudy invited to summer showcase in Kamloops

Bemstrom to play for Sweden at showcase; Davidsson impresses; Meyer back to full strength

by Brian Hedger @JacketsInsider / BlueJackets.com

Just when it looked like Liam Foudy's whirlwind offseason would get a pause, things have gone right back to top speed for the Blue Jackets' first pick in the 2018 NHL Draft.

 

Foudy, a speedy center selected by Columbus with the 18th overall pick, was added to Canada's roster for the 2018 Sport Chek World Junior Summer Showcase in Kamloops, B.C. - which features teams from Canada, Finland, Sweden and the United States.

 

After attending the Blue Jackets' development camp in Columbus following the draft, Foudy returned to Scarborough, Ont. He didn't know whether he'd be invited to attend the showcase, which gives players a chance to make a good impression in their bids to play in the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship - which will be held the week after Christmas in Vancouver and Victoria, B.C.

Foudy wasn't among 40 players initially invited to attend the showcase, which runs July 28 through Aug. 4 at the Sandman Centre in Kamloops, but Hockey Canada extended an invite Thursday after three players were ruled out with injuries - including forwards Jordy Bellerive and Robert Thomas.

 

The Blue Jackets surprised most draft analysts by taking Foudy higher than projected, but Columbus was attracted to his speed and athleticism - which the two-way center displayed at his first NHL development camp. He had two goals in the camp's 3-on-3 tournament to wrap things up, including a burst of speed on one that got a lot of attention.

 

Now, he'll get another chance to stand out before returning to Columbus in September for training camp.

 

"Some of the moves he can make with speed are just unbelievable," said Chris Clark, a Blue Jackets development coach. "That's hard to do. He was doing everything at speed [in the 3-on-3] and doing it really fast. One or two strides and he's at full speed. That's fun to watch."

 

Emil Bemstrom and Sean Dhooghe will also compete in the showcase. Bemstrom, picked by Columbus in the fourth round (No. 117) of the 2017 draft, will play for Sweden. Dhooghe, who plays collegiately for Wisconsin and was an invitee to development camp, will play for the U.S.

 

DAVIDSSON IMPRESSIVE

 

This summer's development camp was the second one for Swedish forward Jonathan Davidsson, after he was selected by the Blue Jackets in the sixth round (No. 170) of the 2017 draft in Chicago. He didn't need long to make a good impression, showing impressive speed and skill that make him a candidate for an NHL roster spot to start next season.

 

Coaches and fellow prospects alike were impressed, including forward Eric Robinson - who played opposite Davidsson on the same line in the 3-on-3 tournament. Robinson, who also hopes to earn an NHL spot, said Davidsson played a role in his two goals.

 

"Davidsson makes it pretty easy," said Robinson, who signed with the Blue Jackets as a collegiate free agent in March, after his final season at Princeton. "I was fortunate enough to play with him [in the 3-on-3]. He's a really good player. I'd never seen him play before [development] camp. I'd obviously heard his name, just being part of the organization, and now you see him and the way he skates and moves the puck … he catches your eye immediately."

 

SURPRISE PARTY

 

The Blue Jackets had experts scrambling through their notes a few times at the draft, going against the grain on some picks.

 

They even caught one of the selections, forward Marcus Karlberg, off guard. Karlberg was taken in the third round (No. 80 overall), but he wasn't expecting to hear his name until a few rounds later. Watching at home in Leksands, Sweden, the 5-foot-8 forward was floored when he heard his name called at that point.

 

"I sat in my basement and watched the draft, and you know, I had a little feeling that I was going to get drafted, but I said to my mom and dad, 'Well, we don't have to [watch now]," said Klingberg, who also attended development camp. "I was like, 'If it's going to happen, it's like the sixth or seventh round, and they're in the third round. It was like one minute after I said that … bam. So, it was a shock. It was unreal."

 

SWISS ROMAN

 

This summer's development camp was also the first for defenseman Tim Berni, who was taken by Columbus with the first of two sixth-round picks in this year's draft (No. 159).

 

After some travel hiccups getting to Columbus, the 18-year old blueliner settled into camp and showed why the Jackets selected him with a pick they acquired in a trade with the Detroit Red Wings. Berni showed smooth skating, moved the puck well and showed poise beyond his age.

 

"I try to play like [Nashville Predators defenseman] Roman Josi," said Berni, who's hoping to play his first full season with the GCK Lions next season in the Swiss League's top division. "He has this two-way game, but he's actually a little bit more offensive than me right now. There are some other players [too], like the U.S. guy, from [the Boston Bruins], Charlie McAvoy. I like him a lot and I try to play the same style of game."

 

MEET THE GRADUATE

 

Robinson spent the last week of the 2017-18 season with the Blue Jackets, as they continued to push for a spot in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs. After they clinched a spot, he made his NHL debut in Nashville - in the final game of the regular season.

 

After that, it was back to Princeton to finish up academic work and graduate with a degree in history.

 

"I missed two weeks of the semester and then I had about two left when I got there," he said. "I wrapped up a couple papers and a few finals, handed those in and then I graduated."

 

Walking across the stage to get his diploma was high on his priority list.

 

"It was very important," said Robinson, a power forward with speed and skill. "Coming out of high school, I picked an Ivy League school because my education had always been something that was very important to me. So, completing that was obviously a huge goal of mine, too, and something I'm really happy I'll have going forward in life."

 

THE SWEDISH CHEF

 

Part of the off-ice experience for prospects at development camp was a nutrition course, in which prospects were taken to a local grocery store. They were also given a chance to cook, which Davidsson and others were excited about.

 

Davidsson said his specialty dish is Rissoto with Swedish mushrooms.

 

"I watch a lot of food programs in Sweden," he said. "I like to cook for my girlfriend."

 

HOME COOKING

 

Another prospect who enjoyed the nutrition pointers was forward Carson Meyer, who was selected nine picks after Davidsson (No. 179) in the sixth round of the 2017 draft.

 

The discovery of a tapeworm that contributed to Meyer's disappointing sophomore year at Miami of Ohio became a well-publicized story this spring, but he's now back to his normal weight of 185 pounds and hopes to add five more.

 

Meyer, who's from Powell, also transferred to Ohio State and is awaiting NCAA clearance to play this season.

 

"I think it's awesome," Meyer said. "I'm closer to my family, closer to Columbus. Obviously, I can watch more Jackets games in person, which is nice, and develop an even closer relationship with the coaching staff or the development coaches. They'll [also] have an easier chance to see me play, of course."

 

A PEEKE AHEAD

 

It's no surprise defenseman Andrew Peeke is heading back to Notre Dame for his junior year.

The 6-foot-3, 198-pound blueliner has put up 14 points in each of his first two seasons in South Bend, Ind., and helped Notre Dame advance to the championship game of the Frozen Four last season. He also played for Team USA in the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship in Buffalo, helping the U.S. earn a bronze medal.

 

Looking ahead, Peeke might have a decision to make next summer. If the Blue Jackets try to sign him, he'll have to decide between starting his professional career or returning to Notre Dame for his senior season.

 

Should Peeke play all four years at Notre Dame, he could become an unrestricted free agent the summer following his senior season - as a loophole in the NHL collective bargaining agreement. The Blue Jackets lost former defenseman Mike Reilly that way in 2015, but Peeke said he's looking forward to playing in Columbus.

 

"I think that's a reasonable goal," he said of signing with the Blue Jackets after his junior season. "I think that's in my head and in their heads. Right now, I'm trying to focus on training for this year and trying to help us win a national championship but come that time there will definitely be discussions about that. We've had very good dialogue about me and my progress, so things are going really well with them."

 

HOLD DOWN THE FORTIER

 

Maxime Fortier didn't participate in any on-ice activities during his first development camp with the Blue Jackets.

 

The high-scoring forward, whom the Blue Jackets signed as an undrafted free agent in November, stayed off the ice to continue recovering from knee and ankle injuries that he sustained last season with the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL).

 

Fortier, who said he'll be 100 percent for training camp in September, also had a shoulder injury last season. The knee and ankle issues were more severe, though, and the 5-foot-10, 183-pound Fortier fought through pain most of last season.

 

Regardless, he still had 32 goals, 43 assists and 75 points in 61 regular-season games before adding eight points (five goals, three assists) in nine playoff games.

 

"When you come here, you want to make a good first impression," Fortier said. "You want to go out on the ice, but at the same time, I think it's better for me right now to just relax and take care of the injuries I have."

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