GLENDALE – Twenty-nine players are scheduled to take the ice for the first day of Coyotes Rookie Camp on Saturday at the newly renamed Gila River Arena.
Recent first-round draft picks Henrik Samuelsson (2012), Max Domi (2013) and Brendan Perlini (2014) will be among the young players looking to impress before the main training camp, which begins in a week.
Other rookies to watch include center Tyler Gaudet, and wingers Lucas Lessio and Tobias Rieder.
"When you review our Rookie Camp roster, there are five players - Domi, Lessio, Gaudet, Rieder and Samuelsson - who have a realistic chance to make our opening day NHL roster," General Manager Don Maloney said. "All have excelled, either in the AHL or Junior Hockey last season and possess skill sets we covet. Getting off to a strong start in Rookie Camp - good testing results, leaders in practice, playing well in our Rookie Games verse LA, etc., will show us they are ready to compete for a job in the NHL."
The initial day of rookie camp promises to be quite challenging for the players. Before taking the ice for the camp’s first skate at 1:45 p.m., the prospects will undergo detailed physical examinations and vigorous physical testing.
Fans are invited to attend the skate, which will run until 3 p.m., free of charge. They are asked to enter the arena at Gate 3 on the northwest corner. For those who cannot attend, the first skate will be streamed live at arizonacoyotes.com.
Click here to see the roster for this year’s Rookie Camp.
Domi will enter camp with all eyes upon him. Last season, he was one of the last players cut from the Coyotes roster before the season started. He then reported to London of the Ontario Hockey League where he notched 93 points (34 goals, 59 assists) in 61 games.
"Having a year (in the organization) under my belt helps a lot," Domi said this off-season. "At the end of the day I have to come to the rink and make the team. Whatever that takes, that's my goal."
General Manager Don Maloney and Head Coach Dave Tippett surprised many in the off-season when they declared that Gaudet may be ready to make the jump to the NHL this season after he notched 61 points (26 goals, 35 assists) in 65 games for Sault Ste. Marie of the OHL.
"He's a guy who does a lot of things right," Tippett said. "He's a guy who fell through the cracks for a few years, but desire and determination has taken him a long way, so it'll be interesting to see where he gets."
Samuelsson has been skating with Coyotes veterans in Arizona for the past few weeks after completing an eye-popping season with Edmonton of the Western Hockey League. Samuelsson notched 95 points (35 goals, 60 assists) in just 65 regular-season games, and then eight goals and 15 assists in 21 playoff games as Edmonton won the Memorial Cup.
“Henrik had a fantastic finish to his junior career,” Maloney said. “… We’re all very proud of the work Henrik put into his game this season and look forward to him beginning his professional career.”
Lessio made the Coyotes roster with an impressive training camp a year ago. However, he was reassigned to the team’s American Hockey League team in Portland, Maine, after just two games. He spent the season there and led the team with 29 goals in 69 games. He also ranked second with 54 points.
Rieder quietly put up nice numbers (28 goals, 20 assists) playing for Portland last season and will be looking to turns heads while flying below the radar somewhat.
As part of the Rookie Camp, the Coyotes will play two home games against LA Kings rookies. Those games are set for Sept. 16 at 6 p.m. and Sept. 17 at 2 p.m. at Gila River Arena. Both games are open to the public at no charge. For those who cannot attend, both games will be streamed live at arizonacoyotes.com.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Forward Jacob Busch, who is listed on the rookie camp roster, is a late scratch because of injury.
The following is a complete schedule of events for the Coyotes 2014-15 Rookie Camp.
Saturday, Sept. 13
1:45 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. – On-Ice Practice
Sunday, Sept. 14
10:00 a.m. – 10:40 a.m. – On-Ice Practice (Team A)
10:50 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. – Scrimmage (Team A vs. Team B)
11:40 a.m. – 12:20 p.m. – On-Ice Practice (Team B)
Monday, Sept. 15
10:00 a.m. – 10:40 a.m. – On-Ice Practice (Team B)
10:50 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. – Scrimmage (Team B vs. Team A)
11:40 a.m. – 12:20 p.m. – On-Ice Practice (Team A)
Tuesday, Sept. 16
9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. – Pregame Skate
6:00 p.m. – Game vs. Los Angeles Kings (Gila River Arena)
Wednesday, Sept. 17
10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. – Practice for non-game players
2:00 p.m. – Game vs. Los Angeles Kings (Gila River Arena)