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Skills on Display at 2nd Skate of Prospect Development Camp

by Dave Vest / Arizona Coyotes


SCOTTSDALE – Fans attending the second skate of the 2015 Prospect Development Camp on Wednesday at the Ice Den were treated to four-on-four and then three-on-three scrimmages, if you will, in the second half of the 90-minute workout.

Photo by Norm Hall.

The format allowed the 28 prospects to show off their skills with coaches and management – and Hockey Hall of Famer Mike Modano – watching from a perch above the ice.

Lots of 'ooh's and 'aah's could be heard from the spectators as the young players scored some nifty goals.

"We're looking at the skill of the players and how they make plays and how they defend," Head Coach Dave Tippett said of the scrimmages. "Especially with the three-on-three, you get very isolated one-on-one stuff. Players have to protect the puck and in protecting the puck they have to find another guy open. It really shows the skill-set of the players – skating, speed, all the facets of the game that we're looking for right now."

Tippett said forwards Anthony Duclair and Nick Merkley stood out during the scrimmages. So, too, did 5-foot-8 forward Conor Garland, whom the Coyotes drafted 123rd overall last month after he notched 129 points for Moncton in the QMJHL last season.

"He has a ton of skill but until we see five-on-five instead of just doing skills, it's really hard to judge people," Tippett said.

Photo by Norm Hall.

The Coyotes drafted Merkley 30th overall last month. He was ranked 13th on their list of draft candidates so they were ecstatic he was available at No. 30.

Merkley has enjoyed the intensity of the first two on-ice workouts.

"There’s lot of pace in the practice," Merkley said. "I think it’s good to get used to that."

Defenseman Kyle Capobianco, whom the Coyotes selected with the 63rd overall pick at the NHL Draft last month, said the prospects know they are being watched closely at this camp.

"You try to play with confidence and have a good work ethic," Capobianco said. "I think that’s what they look for."

The third and final on-ice workout will take place on Thursday at 2:15 p.m. at the Ice Den. The public is invited to attend free of charge.

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