GLENDALE -- A mix of recent draft picks, top prospects and tryout players took to the ice on Tuesday afternoon for Day One of on-ice drills at the Coyotes 2013 Prospect Development Camp at the Ice Den in Scottsdale.
Ray Edwards, Head Coach of the team’s American Hockey League affiliate in Portland, ran drills for about 90 minutes with the assistance of Coyotes Associate Coach Jim Playfair and Goaltending Coach Sean Burke.
Photo by Norm Hall.
“Everybody got in yesterday, with the exception of a couple guys who straggled in late, but most guys were able to get their physicals done and get ready for this morning,” Edwards said. “(Coyotes Strength and Conditioning Coordinator) Tommy Powers put them through the paces and we got them on the ice.”
The main objective of the camp, which 36 players are attending, is to get all of the organization’s prospects together at the same time and acclimate them to the organization.
“It’s an orientation,” Edwards said. “It allows the people that haven’t been here a sense of what it’s all about; the identity of the organization, the philosophy of the organization. (General Manager) Don Maloney talks to them, Tip (Head Coach Dave Tippett) talks to them, you’ve got all the coaches here and they’re spending time with them. So, they really get an understanding of what’s expected if you’re going to be a Coyote.”
One of those players working with the coaches and taking the on-ice drills is forward Henrik Samuelsson. The team’s first-round draft pick in 2012, who grew up playing at the Ice Den, talked after Tuesday’s on-ice session about what returning for a second prospect development camp has been like for him.
“It’s been fun to see some of the guys I haven’t seen in a little over a year now,” said Samuelsson, who was selected by the Coyotes 27th overall at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. “So, it’s good to see them and good to see what the competition is, really, and see what the young guys bring to the table.”
Samuelsson added that while this week is more of an orientation, he’s still hoping to turn heads.
“I want to just assert myself as one of the top prospects for the Coyotes and just work hard and have fun during it because they don’t put too much stress on performing on this camp. It’s more of getting to know everyone, but also showing up a bit, too,” said Samuelsson, who notched 33 goals and 47 assists in 69 regular season games last season with Edmonton in the Western Hockey League.
Photo by Norm Hall.
One of the team’s newer prospects, goaltender Brendan Burke, likened the first day of camp to the jitters a student gets at the first day of school.
“I don’t think I’m alone out here,” said Burke, who was selected in the sixth round (163rd overall) of this summer’s NHL Entry Draft. “Everyone is feeling a bit of the same. They got here and don’t know exactly what to expect. I was telling the other guys that after the first 15 minutes of practice you feel acclimated and it becomes just playing hockey, and that’s what really everybody out here does best.”
But one advantage that Burke has is that he, like Samuelsson, is a local product and is no stranger to the ice in Scottsdale.
“If anybody ever asks me when I’m older, ‘What’s your home rink?’ The Ice Den would be it,” said Burke, who compiled a record of 24-5-1 with a 2.65 goals-against-average and a .908 save percentage last season for Portland of the WHL. “It feels good. I’m fortunate to be able to be this comfortable around here, probably more so than the other guys, but at the same time you’re just out here just trying to make your best first impression.”
Defenseman Brandon Gormley comes to the Valley this week in a much different position than Samuelsson and Burke.
He is attending his fourth development camp, but says this year is different for him because he feels like he can use what he learned in previous development camps plus his experience as a professional in the AHL to help the new prospects get acclimated to the environment with the Coyotes.
Photo by L.M. Parr/Arizona Diamondbacks
“I was in their shoes at one point in time and had a lot of great older guys help me at the time,” said Gormley, who was selected in the first round (13th overall) of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. “It’s a close-knit organization right from the top down and you pride yourself as being a part of the organization and being in that tight-knit group and it starts right from the bottom here and welcoming in the young guys and making them feel welcome.”
Gormley also sees this year’s camp as an opportunity to start making a case to make the NHL roster this fall.
“There’s always someone watching, you always have to be at your best, but none of us have been on the ice that much and your main focus right now is getting stronger and preparing yourself off-ice for the upcoming season and this is kind of the kick-start to your on-ice stuff as well,” said Gormley, who tallied five goals and 24 assists in 68 games for Portland last season.
After Tuesday’s on-ice session, the prospects headed to Chase Field in downtown Phoenix to watch the Diamondbacks vs. Dodgers baseball game.
Before the game, the young players were shown on the center-field video board lined up along the third-base line for the national anthem.
Max Domi, the team’s first-round draft pick from this year’s draft, delivered a ceremonial first pitch.
The prospects will return to the ice on Wednesday and Thursday from 2:15 p.m. until 3:45 p.m. The public is welcome to attend at no charge.
No. 35 - Louis Domingue
No. 40 - Mark Visentin
No. 60 - Brendan Burke
No. 72 - Marek Langhamer
No. 5 - Connor Murphy
No. 33 - Brandon Gormley
No. 57 - Mathieu Brisebois
No. 68 - James Melindy
No. 70 - Rhett Holland
No. 71 - Niklas Tikkinen
No. 73 - Justin Hache
No. 74 - Connor Clifton
No. 15- Max Domi
No. 34 - Mikhail Plotnikov#
No. 39 - Brendan Shinnimin
No. 47 - Hunter Fejes
No. 48 - Jordan Martinook
No. 51 - Lucas Lessio
No. 55 - Henrik Samuelsson
No. 56 - Tobias Rieder
No. 58 - Jordan Szwarz
No. 59 - Darian Dziurzynski
No. 62 - Jedd Soleway
No. 63 - Philip Lane
No. 64 - Zac Larraza
No. 75 - Yan-Pavel Laplante
No. 76 - Laurent Dauphin
No. 78 - Brenden Walker#
No. 79 - Jackson Playfair#
No. 80 - Philippe Halley#
No. 81 - Justin Feser#
No. 82 - Josh Currie#
No. 84 - Cam Braes#
No. 85 - J.T. Barnett#
No. 86 - Adam Antkowiak#
No. 90 - Taylor Burke#
# Attending as free agent