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Nugent-Hopkins to debut at Young Stars Tournament

by Adam Kimelman
When Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, the first pick of the 2011 Entry Draft, plays his first competitive game as a member of the Edmonton Oilers, it will be in Penticton, B.C., at the 2011 Young Stars Tournament.

Nugent-Hopkins is one of seven first-round picks that will take to the ice at this year's prospect event, which will be held Sept. 11-15, and feature the best prospects from five teams -- the Oilers, Calgary Flames, Winnipeg Jets, San Jose Sharks and Vancouver Canucks, who will be the host team for the event.

"We are excited to host the Vancouver Canucks Young Stars Tournament in Penticton again this year," said Vancouver Canucks President and General Manager Mike Gillis. "The city of Penticton showed tremendous support for last year's event and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to return to this great hockey city."

Three other players taken in the first round of this past June's draft will join Nugent-Hopkins in Penticton -- Winnipeg's Mark Scheifele (No. 7), Calgary's Sven Baertschi (No. 13) and Vancouver's Nicklas Jensen (No. 29).

Jensen, a 6-foot-2, 202-pound left wing, had 29 goals and 58 points with the Ontario Hockey League's Oshawa Generals. Born in Herning, Denmark, he also earned a spot on the OHL Second All-Rookie Team.

Also in attendance for the Canucks will be Jordan Schroder, the team's 2009 first-round pick. The 5-foot-8, 175-pound center, in his first professional season, had 10 goals and 18 assists in 61 games with the Manitoba Moose of the American Hockey League. Also coming is 2009 second-round pick Anton Rodin, a center who scored 26 points in 53 games with Brynas in the Swedish Elite League.

The Jets' first group of prospects will include four members of their initial draft class, led by Scheifele, a 6-2, 184-pound center who played with the Barrie Colts. He led all first-year OHL players with 53 assists, and was second on the team with 75 points.

Forwards Adam Lowry and Austen Brassard, and defenseman Zachary Yuen will be in attendance, as will goalie Edward Pasquale, a 2009 fourth-round pick who won 11 games with Chicago of the AHL in his first professional season.

Besides Baertschi, the talented Swiss forward who had 34 goals and 85 points in 66 games with the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League last season, two other players to keep an eye on are defenseman T.J. Brodie and forward Greg Nemisz. Brodie, a 2008 fourth-round pick, made his professional debut last season, scoring 34 points in 68 games with Abbotsford of the AHL, and also earning a three-game call-up to the NHL. Nemisz, the club's 2008 first-round pick, also made his pro debut last season. He had 14 goals and 33 points in 68 games with Abbotsford, and 1 assist in six games with the Flames.

Among the future Oilers set to join Nugent-Hopkins in Penticton are three 2010 second-round picks. Center Tyler Pitlick, the 31st pick, had 27 goals and 35 assists in 56 games with Moose Jaw of the WHL, and Curtis Hamilton, the 48th pick had 82 points in 62 games with the WHL's Saskatoon Blades. He also had 4 goals to help Canada win a silver medal at the 2011 World Junior Championship. Defenseman Martin Marincin, the 46th pick, was the top scorer among first-year defensemen in the WHL, posting 56 points in 67 games with the Prince George Cougars.

Leading the contingent of San Jose players is goaltender J.P. Anderson. Signed as a free agent by the Sharks prior to the start of last season, Anderson won 38 games, led the Ontario Hockey League with a 2.36 goals-against average and helped his Mississauga St. Michael's Majors team reach the finals of the Memorial Cup.

Also coming for San Jose is forward Freddie Hamilton, a 2010 fifth-round pick who had 38 goals and 45 assists in 68 games for the OHL's Niagara IceDogs last season.

Contact Adam Kimelman at Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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