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2013-14 Rookie Camp Preview

by Dave Vest / Arizona Coyotes

GLENDALE – The Coyotes will officially begin the 2013-14 season on Saturday when they open their annual training camp for rookies at Arena.

Thirty-six players – 19 forwards, 11 defensemen and six goalies – will take the ice at 2 p.m. for a one-hour workout. Among the players who will participate are five of the team’s first-round draft picks from recent years, including forward Max Domi, whom Phoenix snatched with the 12th overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft just two months ago.

Max Domi

Like the other players, Domi, the son of former NHL tough guy Tie Domi, will be looking to impress and earn an invitation to the training camp for veterans, which starts Sept. 11.

“Max is a dynamic offensive player,” Coyotes Assistant General Manager Brad Treliving said. “He’s got a lot of skill and a lot of speed, and he’s very competitive. It’s going to be interesting seeing him playing against men for the first time.”

The other first-round draft picks who will be on the ice on Saturday are: forward Henrik Samuelsson (27th overall pick in 2012), defenseman Connor Murphy (20th overall pick in 2011), defenseman Brandon Gormley (13th overall pick in 2010), and goalie Mark Visentin (27th overall pick in 2010).

Before taking the ice on Saturday, the players will undergo physical exams and training tests.

On Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, the players will be split into two teams that will practice separately for an hour. The two teams will scrimmage each other for 30 minutes each day in between the separate practices.

Ray Edwards, the head coach of the Coyotes’ top affiliate in the American Hockey League, will be leading the practices on the ice with the help of his coaching staff – John Slaney and Mike Minard. Coyotes Development Coach Dave King and Goaltender Coach Sean Burke also will be on the ice for the rookie camp workouts.

The goal of the four-day rookie camp is twofold: to get the young players comfortable in the professional setting with their peers and to give them a head-start on the ice before the veterans report to camp.

Photo by Norm Hall.

In addition to the aforementioned first-round draft picks, the rookie camp roster also features players drafted in later rounds or not at all.

Treliving said he, General Manager Don Maloney and Head Coach Dave Tippett will be watching all of the players closely.

“When you step on the ice at camp nobody is holding a sign that reads ‘I am a first-round draft pick’ or ‘I am a free agent.’ In the past, we’ve had lesser-known guys who’ve come into camp and muscled their way onto our team… Ultimately, camp is all about the best guys stay.”

Treliving mentioned Coyotes defenseman David Schlemko, and former players Daniel Winnik and Craig Weller as examples of players who came to camp under the radar and won NHL jobs.

Other young players to watch include forwards Laurent Dauphin, Lucas Lessio and Chris Brown, who played five games for the Coyotes last season, his first as a pro.

“This will be Brown’s first camp,” Treliving said. “I think now that he’s gotten a year of pro hockey under his belt we’re hoping he can grab a hold of it in camp. We’ve asked him to do more and he wants to do more.”

Photo by Norm Hall.

Dauphin and Lessio turned heads at this summer’s prospect camp.

“Lucas is a strong kid and he’s had a good summer,” Treliving said. “He’s a real direct player. He gets pucks behind the defense and then he goes to the net.”

Regarding Dauphin, whom the Coyotes traded up to select with the 39th pick at this year’s NHL Draft, Treliving said: “Our scouts looked like proud fathers when we picked him. They really like this guy. He needs some time to get stronger, but we really like his game sense. He’s one of those guys who is around the puck and the puck follows him. When there are things happening he tends to be in the middle of it.”

NOTE: Fans are invited to attend rookie camp practices at no charge. Click link to view the full schedule and roster.

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