GLENDALE – Five first-round picks from the past three NHL drafts will be among the Coyotes prospects taking the ice this week at Gila River Arena for the team’s annual Prospect Development Camp.
Management and fans will get their first looks at forward Clayton Keller and defenseman Jakob Chychrun wearing Coyotes gear. Arizona picked Keller seventh overall at last month’s draft, and then shortly thereafter traded up four spots to select Chychrun 16th overall.
|Clayton Keller and Jakob Chychrun |
Forwards Dylan Strome and Nick Merkley, taken 3rd and 30th overall in 2015, and Brendan Perlini, selected 12th in 2014, will be back at camp.
Other high-profile prospects taking part in the five-day camp include forwards Christian Dvorak, Christian Fischer, Ryan MacInnis and Conor Garland.
Forty-three players – 24 forwards, 14 defensemen and five goalies – were invited to the camp, which is being staged at Gila River Arena for the first time. Past camps were held in community rinks in Scottsdale and Peoria. The change of venue was made to give the prospects a greater taste of being around and skating on NHL ice.
|Dylan Strome |
“The development camp is going to be phenomenal,” Coyotes General Manager John Chayka said. “We’re not going to be evaluating players, it’s (more) for them to learn about our organization and to start building up that culture that we’re all about here, but the level of talent is going to be real special.”
The camp’s on-ice sessions are set for Monday (2 to 4:30 p.m.), Tuesday (9 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.), Thursday (9 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.) and Friday (10:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.). An intrasquad game will be played Friday at 7 p.m. as the finale of the camp. That game and all practices are open to the public at no charge.
In addition to the on-ice sessions, the camp features off-ice workouts, a nutrition class, volunteer work for some of the team’s community partners and team-bonding activities. For example, the prospects will attend the Arizona Diamondbacks game vs. the San Diego Padres on Tuesday night at Chase Field with Keller and Chychrun each slated to throw out a ceremonial first pitch.