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'Yotes Notes: Hickey Debuts at Development Camp

Defenseman Brandon Hickey came to Arizona in Mike Smith trade with Calgary

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

GLENDALE - Defenseman Brandon Hickey made his debut at the Coyotes Prospect Development Camp on Thursday morning.

Hickey, whom the Coyotes acquired from Calgary on June 17 as part of the trade that sent goalie Mike Smith to the Flames, was a late arrival at camp because he needed to take a few summer class final exams at Boston University this week.

At age 21, Hickey, whom Calgary drafted 64th overall in 2014, is one of the older players at the development camp. And although his participation will be brief, he's treating it as a way to introduce himself to all involved.

"I just want to come here and show everybody what I'm all about," Hickey said. "No one here has really seen me play all that much so I want to put my best foot forward and play the way I know I can."

Hickey has played the past three seasons for BU and will play his fourth next season as team captain. The Coyotes noticed him while they were scouting forward Clayton Keller at BU and insisted he be part of the Smith trade, which Hickey first learned about from Keller.

"I was just waking up that day and I got a text from Keller," Hickey said. "He was like 'Did you get traded?' and I said 'I don't think so, I haven't heard anything.' And then, sure enough, an hour later I get a call from Calgary letting me know I was coming down here. I'm excited."

Coyotes General Manager John Chayka is impressed Hickey hustled to Arizona after his exams to make an appearance, albeit a quick one, at the camp.

"That means a lot to us," Chayka said. "We're happy to have him out here ... He's a heart-and-soul type of guy. He's a good defenseman that we think can develop into an NHL prospect, and we just really wanted to fill in our back end and continue to add prospects into the pipeline. We believe he's got a real good chance to play."

• Defenseman Cam Dineen can't wait to play in the development camp scrimmage on Friday night. That's because he hasn't played in a game since Dec. 9 when he suffered a torn medial collateral ligament thanks to a knee-to-knee hit during an Ontario Hockey League game between his North Bay Battalion and the Oshawa Generals.

Dineen underwent surgery in Arizona the week before Christmas and has been rehabbing ever since.

"I'm doing really well and feeling 100 percent out on the ice," Dineen said after Thursday's skate at camp, the third of the week-long camp. "These skates have been good for me. It's great to get out here with all of these great players and see where I am."

The Coyotes drafted Dineen 68th overall in 2016. He said he's treating the injury as somewhat of a blessing in disguise because it taught him that bad things can happen, and because he learned a lot about dealing with adversity at a young age.

"The rehab was a struggle at first, but you push through it because you know that something good is waiting for you when you get back to good health," Dineen said.

• Forward Tyler Steenbergen was at home in Sylvan Lake, Alberta, watching Day 2 of the NHL Draft on TV with family and friends when he heard his name announced as the 128th overall pick by the Coyotes.

"We were all pretty excited when we saw my name come up on the screen," Steenbergen said. "From that moment on it's been pretty surreal and I still can't wrap my head around it, but it's obviously a great feeling."

Steenbergen, 19, was eligible to be drafted last year but was not picked. 

"I didn't expect to get drafted last year so I wasn't too disappointed," Steenbergen said. "It would have been nice to have gone to a (development) camp, but it didn't happen. I'm excited I didn't go last year because I've had all the opportunity in the world this year. I wouldn't take back any of it for anything."

Playing for Swift Current, Steenbergen co-led the Western Hockey League with 51 goals in 72 games last season. He scored 19 of those goals on the power play and four in overtime. In the WHL playoffs, he produced eight more goals and six assists in 14 games.

"Everyone wants to score when they are on the ice, but I pride myself on defense first," Steenbergen said. "I've learned that if I do that the offense will come." 

• Forward Nate Schnarr is not skating at camp this week because of a shoulder injury. The Coyotes drafted Schnarr 75th overall last weekend in Chicago.

• The Prospect Development Camp will conclude on Friday at the Ice Den in Scottsdale when the prospects will play a scrimmage. Fans are welcome to attend at no charge. The puck will drop at 5 p.m.

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