SCOTTSDALE -- The Coyotes opened their annual prospect development camp on Tuesday with 30-plus players in attendance. The camp roster includes a combination of the team’s selections at last weekend’s NHL Entry Draft, free-agent players and the organization’s top prospects.
The camp, which runs until Friday, is designed to help the players become familiar with team personnel and training at the NHL level.
The roster features four goaltenders, nine defensemen and 20 forwards. Defenseman Brandon Gormley, goalie Mark Visentin and first-round draft pick Henrik Samuelsson are among the players in camp this year.
|Henrik Samuelsson (right). Photo by Norm Hall. |
• Click here to listen to Gormley
• Click here to listen to Visentin
• Click here to listen to Samuelsson
Ray Edwards, who is the head coach of the team’s AHL affiliate, Development Coach Dave King and Director of Player Development/Goaltending Coach Sean Burke orchestrated the group’s first of three on-ice workouts at the Ice Den in Scottsdale. Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett, General Manager Don Maloney and Assistant General Manager Brad Treliving watched the workout from the stands.
The roster contains a diverse amount of experience and hockey backgrounds that range from high school all the way to junior players who could push for a roster spot with the NHL club this fall.
Forward Jordan Martinook, whom the Coyotes selected in the second round (58th overall) of last Saturday’s draft, went from being at his home in Alberta, wondering what team he would fall to, to prospect camp in the Arizona desert in just a span of 72 hours.
“I thought it went pretty good,” said Martinook, who notched 40 goals and 24 assists in 72 games for Vancouver of the Western Hockey League this past season. “(I’m) just getting used to everything and getting back into practice pace. It’s always a jump for the first day, so I’m hoping tomorrow and Friday go better than today.
Meanwhile, forward Chris Brown is attending his fourth prospect camp and is looking to turn heads.
“This year is a little different for me, since I just turned pro,” said Brown, who posted 12 goals and 17 assists in 38 games for the University of Michigan last season. “I’m trying to take in more of the educational side of the game, listen to the coaches, Mr. Maloney, Mr. Treliving, and kind of see what they want from me as a player.”
Forward Brendan Shinnimin took a different path to his first prospect camp. After getting cut from last fall’s professional training camp, he went on to score 58 goals and 76 assists in 69 games for Tri-City of the Western Hockey League this past season. He then signed a contract with the Coyotes on March 2, 2012.
|Mark Visentin stretches. Photo by Norm Hall. |
“It’s fun,” said Shinnimin, who earned Western Hockey League Player of the Year honors this past season. “You get to meet all the new prospects and you get to see the guys that you met at camp in the previous fall. It’s good to get together again and kind of get that bond off and running.”
The common theme on the first day of prospect camp is that all the players are trying to find their hockey legs. For much of the roster, the on-ice drills are the first competitive skates that they’ve had since the end of their seasons in the spring.
“I’ve been on the ice, but nothing compared to that,” Martinook said. “It’s always a struggle for the first little bit, but once you get into it you get it back pretty quick.”
“It’s a little rusty out there,” he said. “During this time of year guys are just getting on the ice for the first time, pucks are bouncing around, skating is not where you want it, but that’s why we’re here; to get back on the ice and start getting back at it. It’s going to get better as the week goes on.”
The prospects will return to the ice on Wednesday at 2:15 p.m. and again on Friday at the same time.
NOTE: The Coyotes have tendered qualifying offers to all of their restricted free agents except for forwards Gilbert Brule and Colin Long, and defenseman Nick Ross.