EL SEGUNDO, Calif. - Twenty Coyotes prospects will get a chance to show their skills tonight at 6 p.m. when they play Los Angeles Kings prospects at the cozy Toyota Sports Complex.
Tonight's game is the first of two games here as the 2009 Rookie Camp continues. The prospects have been practicing since Sunday and are eager to play a game. Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney and Assistant General Manager Brad Treliving will be watching them closely.
"We've had three days of practice against ourselves, now we want to see who steps up and separates themselves in games," Treliving said. "At the end of the day we want to see who shows up and asserts themselves, and who has picked up the things the coaches have gone over the past couple of days."
Kevin Porter, who played 34 games for the Coyotes, will center Phoenix's top line.
"Porter is showing his maturity at this camp," Treliving said. "You can tell he has a lot more confidence than last year. He's a leader of this group. Chad Kolarik also seems a lot more comfortable and you can really see his skill level."
Kolarik, also a teammate of Porter's at the University of Michigan, will play right wing on Porter's line. Lucas Bloodoff, who is in camp via a professional tryout, will play left wing on the top line.
"These games are huge because if you play good games here Don and Brad will notice and maybe you can get a chance to play in a preseason game with the big boys," Kolarik said. "So, I need to play my game and play well defensively and see where that takes me."
Like Porter, this is Kolarik's second rookie camp.
"I have been here before and I know what to expect so it's a little easier and I am not as nervous this time," Kolarik said.
For other players, tonight's game will be the biggest of their careers.
"I'm a little nervous going into my first game, but I've been on the ice for a couple days and that's given me some confidence and a chance to get some chemistry going with the guys," said forward Jordan Szwarz
, whom the Coyotes selected in the fourth round of this year's NHL Entry Draft. "I just want to show them what type of player I am and how hard I can work."
Here is the lineup for tonight's game:FORWARDS
Lucas Bloodoff-Kevin Porter-Chad KolarikBrett MacLean
-Coiln Long-Jared Staal
Matt Watkins-Justin Bernhardt-Andrew Orpik
Bryan Cameron-Ryan McDonough-Jordan SzwarzDEFENSEMENJonas Ahnelov
Jeff May-Justin WellerNick Ross