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New Goalies Looking to Impress at Coyotes Camp for Prospects

Merrick Madsen and Hunter Miska are expected to start in net at scrimmage on Friday

by Dave Vest @davest4yotes / Coyotes Sr. Director of News Content

GLENDALE - The Coyotes will conclude their annual Prospect Development Camp on Friday when they stage a scrimmage at the Ice Den in Scottsdale at 5 p.m. 

The starting goalies are expected to be Merrick Madsen for Team Red and Hunter Miska for Team White.

Both players joined the Coyotes this off-season and are looking to make good first impressions in the scrimmage.

"I'm thrilled by the opportunity that I have here," Madsen said. "It's something I really didn't have when I was with Philadelphia."

Arizona acquired Madsen from the Flyers, who drafted him in 2013, as part of a trade between the teams on June 16. 

Madsen won a school-record 28 games for Harvard University as a junior last season. The statistics major will return for his senior season in the fall.

"I think that I found a level of consistency that I didn't have the year before," Madsen said. "Obviously I have to thank my team because they did a lot, but I think I found a level of consistency that I want to improve on even more next year … (Playing for Harvard) has its challenges. When you're at an Ivy League school like that there's a certain level of dedication you have to have with your schoolwork. If anything, it helps me find a balance in my life. There's always something I've got to be doing so it keeps me focused and dialed in."

Madsen honed his hockey skills while growing up in Acton, Calif., about an hour drive northeast of Los Angeles. He stands 6-foot-5. 

"I'm a bigger guy, taller guy, so I can use my size a bit more and play back a little, but I also rely on my athleticism and agility to move around quick," Madsen said.  

Madsen has enjoyed his experience at the development camp, which included a visit to a local hospital. 

"I'm just trying to be a sponge," Madsen said. "I'm just trying to take in everything I can. This is a development camp, obviously impressions are being made, but I want to ask questions, I want to learn something and get something out of the week I have here. It's a short amount of time, but if you ask all the right questions you can get a lot out of it."

 

Like Madsen, Miska, who grew up in Minnesota, relies on his athleticism in net. He's also hoping to use the confidence he gained in helping Minnesota-Duluth reach the NCAA title game last season at the start of his pro career.

Miska posted a 27-5-5 record and was named one of five finalists for the Mike Richter Award, which is given annually to the NCAA's best goalie. He was the only freshman nominated.

"It was unbelievable," Miska said of his freshman season. "We had a really great group of guys and I couldn't be any happier with the situation I had there. They treated me really well and obviously helped me get to where I am today ... It's not too crazy coming from the NCAA (to development camp). I think that's a really good preparation league to take it to the next step here and I think playing there really helped me to make the jump."

Miska, who signed with the Coyotes after last season, didn't start playing goalie until he was 14 years old. He was a quick study in net after years of playing forward.

"I'm pretty athletic," Miska said. "I'm trying to keep it a little more simple (at camp). The higher level I get, the better the guys are, so you have to be a lot more patient and just make every save you can."

Fans attending Friday's game likely will notice Miska already is wearing a Coyotes-themed mask. That's because his father, Todd, designs and paints goalie masks for NHL players and helped him out.

"Like my dad, I've got a pretty creative mind," Miska said. "So every year, when it's the beginning of a season and time to do a new mask, I'll design it and put my ideas down and my dad will put the artwork on the mask."

Video: New goalies at Development Camp

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