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The Desert Dog Blog: Five 'Under the Radar' Players at Rookie Camp

by Dave Vest / Arizona Coyotes
GLENDALE – Thirty-five prospects will check in to the Coyotes annual rookie training camp tonight at Arena. Starting on Saturday, all will be given about a week to flash their skills before the veteran players arrive on Sept. 16.

There are many familiar names on this year’s rookie camp roster including recent first-round draft picks Chris Summers, Brandon Gormley and Mark Visentin, and 2011 Hobey Baker Award winner Andy Miele.

Those players will come to camp known well by Coyotes fans. In this blog, I will identify five of the other players who will fly into this camp “under the radar,” if you will. Here they are, in numerical order:

Mathieu Brodeur
No. 46 - Mathieu Brodeur, D: Brodeur is 6-feet-6 and plays with intelligence. He raised eyebrows by showing up to the Prospect Development Camp in July about 15 pounds lighter than he was at the end of his 2010-11 season. Brodeur has been to Coyotes’ rookie camp several times before so I’m expecting him to stand out, especially during the rookie games at Los Angeles.

No. 47 - Harrison Ruopp, D: The Coyotes selected Ruopp in the third round of this year’s draft with the 84th overall pick. His stock rose throughout the 2010-11 season and he was an impact player for Prince Albert during the Western Hockey League team’s playoff run. I’m told he’s tougher than a night in jail. He’s not a puck-moving defenseman a la Keith Yandle, Oliver Ekman-Larsson or Gormley, but he’s very mean on the ice and he instinctively bumps into people. In fact, Ruopp struggled not to hit fellow prospects during Phoenix’s Prospect Development Camp during non-hitting drills and scrimmages. Click here to listen to an interview with Ruopp after he was drafted.

No. 56 - Kale Kessy, LW: The Coyotes chose Kessy in the fourth round of this year’s draft with the 111th overall pick. Like Ruopp, Kessy plays the game hard and he instinctively finishes checks. He’s just one of those players who causes a commotion when he’s on the ice and usually ends up in front of the net. Click here to watch an interview with Kessy immediately after he was drafted.

Spencer Bennett
• No. 71 - Spencer Bennett, LW: Bennett had a breakout season in 2010-11, especially after being traded to the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League and playing for Don Hay. He scored 25 goals in 35 games for Hay, the original coach of the Coyotes in 1996-97. The Coyotes invited Bennett to their Prospect Development Camp in July, liked what they saw and signed him to an AHL contract. He is a big forward (6-foot-3, 190 pounds) who moves well and has a nice scoring touch.

• No. 74 - Brendan Shinnimin, C: Shinnimin is one of 10 players at this camp on an amateur tryout. He has caught the Coyotes staff’s attention by notching 178 points (61 goals) over the past two seasons while playing for Tri-City of the WHL. The undrafted center is not the biggest or fastest player on the ice, but he’s often the best player because of his competitiveness.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Fans are invited to attend all of the rookie camp practices free of charge. They must enter the arena through Gate 3. Click here to see the rookie camp roster and schedule.
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