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Invites looking to make the most of development camp showcase

by Aaron Vickers / Calgary Flames

CALGARY, AB -- Twenty-seven goals and 82 assists was enough to give Lethbridge Hurricanes sniper Brayden Burke some optimism.

But the 109 points wasn’t enough to earn himself a selection at the 2016 NHL Draft in Buffalo, NY just two weeks ago.

And it instead earned the 5-foot-10, 165-pound 19-year-old an invite to go camping with prospects from the Calgary Flames.

“As a small guy I’ve always been looked over a lot,” Burke said. “It’s just another chip on my shoulder. You want to go out there and prove them wrong.

“This is one of the best spots for me to do that. I’m excited for the opportunity.

“There were a couple teams, but Calgary seemed like the best fit. They seemed the most interested. I was excited to come here.”

Burke is one of 10 skaters who earned the opportunity to join 27 Flames prospects at development camp from July 4-7 at Canada Olympic Park’s WinSport.

After going undrafted in 2015, the sophomore blossomed into one of the Western Hockey League’s elite producers, finishing third in points behind only Adam Brooks of the Regina Pats and Dryden Hunt of the Moose Jaw Warriors.

All after a rookie season in 2014-15 that saw Burke notch just 34 points in 41 games.

It still wasn’t enough to see his name called in June.

Another call erased a lot of that disappointment.

“I was at the house for a bit. I went and saw my sisters. I was kind of watching a little bit. It’s definitely frustrating,” he said. “Right near the end, when it was all done, I got a call from Calgary.

“I was excited for that opportunity. I looked forward to that.”

So too did Dennis Kravchenko, a soon-to-be junior with UMass-Amherst.

Kravchenko, who accepted a similar invite with the Anaheim Ducks last year, is hoping to make the most of a second opportunity with the Flames.

Chip and all.

“This not being my first NHL camp, I’m just coming in with a good mindset, being a good person in the community and on the ice, building a relationship with them and with everyone associated with being here,” he said.

“I’m keeping a good mindset and having a positive chip on your shoulder.”

In 32 games last season, Kravchenko had 12 goals and 28 points; similar totals he put up as a sophomore in scoring 10 goals and adding 23 assists.

He’s hoping to leave a lasting impression on those who extended him the invite.

“I’m just trying to be the best that I can and make an impact in the coaches eyes and general manager’s eyes,” Kravchenko said. “I’m here to try and build a future for myself. If I can do that and show them I’m ready to do that, then that will be perfect.

“It has a big impact, especially in trying to make them see that you’re ready for the next level and want them to have you on their team.”

Ditto, Spencer Foo suggested.

It’s all about an impression, for both now and in the future.

“I think that’s the most important part is that we want to come in here and just really make an impression, really put our footprint on the organization,” said Foo, who has put together back-to-back 25-point seasons for Union College during his freshman and sophomore years.

“We’re obviously not trying to make the team … some of us are going back to college or have other opportunities as well … but that’s the biggest thing, come in and impress the organization and let them know what you’re about.

“Really I just want to take every opportunity I can to really work hard and let my character show through. You’ve got to really just control what’s in our own hands and not worry about our external things too much, not worry that we’re free agents.

"Just come in and leave an impression and leave the rest up to the organization.”

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