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Prospect Camp packed with practice, scrimmages and plenty of fun

by Chris Pinkert / St. Louis Blues

Printable Prospect Camp Roster (PDF) | Camp Schedule

HAZELWOOD, MO - For the next several days, 26 young hockey players are participating in the Blues' annual Prospect Camp at the Ice Zone at St. Louis Outlet Mall.

The camp, which features daily on-ice practice sessions and scrimmages through Saturday, is free and open to the public. On-ice sessions begin at 2 p.m. and continue until 4:30 p.m. daily.

"This camp is one where we just measure our kids," said Tim Taylor, the Blues' Director of Player Development. "We don't put these kids through rigorous skating drills or match them up against each other. We're just trying to get a baseline for these kids and have a fun camp to introduce them to the organization, as well as an introduction to the workout program and their future teammates. At the end of the day, it's an introduction to the NHL, teaching these young pros and athletes what being a young pro is all about - what level they need to get to to be a future St. Louis Blue."

This year's camp features many of the Blues' top young prospects, including 2016 draft picks Tage Thompson and Jordan Kyrou, 2014 pick Jake Walman and 2017 picks Robert Thomas, Klim Kostin, Alexei Toropchenko, David Noel and Trenton Bourque. Divided into two teams - Team Tkachuk and Team MacInnis - the teams are rounded out by several tryout players.

The camp also gives the Blues' new coaches - such as Craig Berube, Darryl Sydor, Steve Ott and development coach Barret Jackman - an opportunity to get familiar with the young players in the Blues' system.

Video: Go behind the scenes at Blues Prospect Camp

"This is a great camp for our coaching staff, especially a new coaching staff," Taylor said. "At the same time, it's a real good opportunity (for the players) to catch the eye of these coaches. They haven't really seen these players and they haven't already pegged them as a 'defensive forward' or an 'offensive forward.' Everyone has an open mind coming into it. For these players, they can open up the coaches' eyes early on that maybe gives them a game or two in the exhibition, which leads to possible games in the NHL or even a full time job in the NHL."

Prospect Camp won't be all about workouts and on-ice practices. Throughout the week, the players will participate in a burger cooking contest, enjoy go-kart racing at Gateway Kartplex, take in a St. Louis Cardinals baseball game and even solve the mysteries of an escape room in downtown St. Louis.

"I'd like to see our players (leave this camp) and take their workout programs, understand them and move forward knowing what the expectations are from the workout side," Taylor said. "At the same time, having expectations from a players' standpoint. Hopefully at the end of the day, we're dangling a carrot in front of them to try to get them to work hard and be in the ultimate spot, and that's with the St. Louis Blues.

"It's about understanding what it takes to be a pro, having that enthusiasm and at the same time, being ready for training camp," Taylor added. "Hockey's a fun game, and if you're not having fun, you don't learn and you don't get better."

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