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Training Camp

Training Camp Buzz: Patrick says he's ready to play in Flyers opener

Forward missed last season with migraine disorder; Hischier still questionable for Devils

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Welcome to the 2020-21 NHL training camp buzz. Training camp is underway for all 31 teams and NHL.com has you covered with all the latest news.

 

Philadelphia Flyers

Nolan Patrick said he's ready to play for the first time in more than 21 months when the Flyers open the season at home against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday.

Patrick, the No. 2 pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, missed all of last season because of a migraine disorder and hasn't played since April 2, 2019. The center scored a goal and played center on a line with James van Riemsdyk and Jakub Voracek during a scrimmage Sunday.

"Made a couple mistakes out there, but my energy level felt good, thought our line created quite a few scoring chances," Patrick said. "Lot of fun being back out there. ... I feel really good and I'll be ready for Wednesday."

Patrick also said he was happy with the chemistry he generated with his linemates.

"I've played with both of them quite a bit," he said. "Played with [Voracek] a lot. We read off each other, and they're both very smart players. It's easy to read off them. Thought we were making good plays tonight."

Coach Alain Vigneault said he thought Patrick got better as the scrimmage progressed.

"I thought he did a lot of the right things on the ice," Vigneault said. "Thought that line had some chemistry and some good moments. For him and for our team, that's a step in the right direction." -- Adam Kimelman

 

New Jersey Devils

Nico Hischier remains questionable to play in the season opener for the Devils while waiting for an update from doctors on his injured foot.

"Nico is progressing well. He is working out and the (walking) boot is off," general manager Tom Fitzgerald said Sunday. "I'm not really sure when his next (doctor's) appointment is. It's coming up here for more imaging to see how far along the healing process is going. Once he gets the green light, then it's just a matter of how comfortable it is in the (hockey) boot.

"We have a great equipment staff, so they're going to make that transition as easy as possible for Nico. So really just waiting to see when that next appointment is."

New Jersey is scheduled to open the season against the Boston Bruins at home Thursday. Hischier has not practiced with the Devils during training camp but has been participating in off-ice workouts.

The forward said he was injured in December during an on-ice session in Switzerland. The No. 1 pick of the 2017 NHL Draft, he scored 36 points (14 goals, 22 assists) in 58 games last season and played in his first NHL All-Star Game. -- Mike G. Morreale

 

Boston Bruins

Brad Marchand did not participate in a scrimmage for the Bruins on Monday after he left practice early Sunday.

"[Marchand] wasn't out there, precautionary, took a day off," coach Bruce Cassidy said.

The forward is expected to be ready for the season opener at the Devils on Thursday after having sports hernia surgery in September.

The expected recovery for Marchand's surgery was four months, which put him on target for mid-January. He has been on the ice with the Bruins since the opening of camp but did not play in their first scrimmage Jan. 7. -- Amalie Benjamin

 

Vancouver Canucks

Travis Hamonic practiced with the Canucks for the first time Monday, skating on the second defense pair with Quinn Hughes

The 30-year-old defenseman signed a professional tryout (PTO) contract with the Canucks on Jan. 3, the opening day of training camp, but had to quarantine for seven days before joining them on the ice. 

"He looked pretty good today but I'm not hasty to judge a player that has missed a week of training camp," coach Travis Green said. "We'll just talk with him day by day, see how he feels. My guess is he's going to want to play sooner than later and my guess is he'll probably want to play Game 1."

The Canucks open the season Wednesday against the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place.

Hamonic scored 12 points (three goals, nine assists) in 50 games for the Calgary Flames last season and opted out of the NHL Return to Play Plan in the summer. He was brought into training camp by Vancouver as a potential replacement for Christopher Tanev, who signed a four-year contract with the Flames as a free agent Oct. 10, after being Hughes' defenseman partner last season.  

"[Hamonic has] played in the league a long time and I've watched him for a while," Hughes said. "We're just going to have to communicate and talk a lot." -- Kevin Woodley

 

Florida Panthers

Noah Juulsen was claimed off waivers by the Panthers. The defenseman had been waived by the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday.

Juulsen, selected by the Canadiens in the first round (No. 26) of the 2015 NHL Draft, did not play in the NHL last season; he had three assists in 13 games with Laval of the American Hockey League.

The 23-year-old last played in the NHL in 2018-19 and has scored eight points (two goals, six assists) in 44 games.

"He's a young defensemen with some promise," Panthers coach Joel Quenneville said. "I was aware we had an opportunity to get him. Changes the picture on the back end a little bit. We have some options and we'll be looking going into the start of the year how things are going to be. But certainly this gives us some options on the back end."

The Panthers also claimed defenseman Gustav Forsling on waivers from the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday.

 

Arizona Coyotes

Frederik Gauthier signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Coyotes on Monday. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The 25-year-old center had been in Coyotes training camp on a professional tryout contract (PTO) signed Dec. 26. He scored 12 points (seven goals, five assists) in 61 games last season with the Toronto Maple Leafs and no points in one Stanley Cup Playoff game.

Gauthier, who was selected by Toronto in the first round (No. 21) of the 2013 NHL Draft, has scored 31 points (13 goals, 18 assists) in 168 regular-season games and zero points in eight playoff games.

 

Vancouver Canucks

The Canucks resumed training camp practices and workouts Monday after a player had a false positive test for COVID-19, which led to the cancelation of practice Sunday.

"We had a false positive test come in," coach Travis Green said. "At the time we didn't know if it was false positive or not and we wanted to take the proper precautions and just felt like it was best if we stayed off the ice and waited to see.

"Our team hasn't gone through a lot of scenarios with COVID. So, yesterday kind of being our first one it was good to be able to get back on the ice today."

The Canucks were the fourth NHL team in three days to have a practice impacted by COVID-19 concerns.

The Dallas Stars cancelled practice Friday, and the NHL later announced that six players and two staff members recently had tested positive for COVID-19. Their facilities are closed and their first two games of the 2020-21 NHL season, at the Florida Panthers on Jan. 14 and Jan. 15, have been postponed.

Also Friday, 19 players did not practice for the Columbus Blue Jackets, who said an unspecified number of players were sidelined "out of an abundance of caution and in accordance with NHL COVID-19 protocols." Eighteen of those players returned Saturday.

The Pittsburgh Penguins cancelled practice Saturday out of an abundance of caution due to potential exposure of COVID-19. They had an intrasquad scrimmage Sunday.

 

New York Rangers

K'Andre Miller is expected to be in the lineup and play on a defense pair with Jacob Trouba when the Rangers open their season against the New York Islanders at Madison Square Garden on Thursday.

Miller was the No. 22 pick in the 2018 NHL Draft and played the past two seasons at the University of Wisconsin. The 20-year-old (6-foot-5, 210 pounds) has impressed the Rangers, particularly coach David Quinn, in training camp with his poise, reach, physicality and skating.

"What has impressed me is how calm he's been," Quinn said. "He's worked hard. He's closed on people. He's made real good decisions with the puck. From a defending standpoint he's like a praying mantis with that stick and his arms and his legs. He's tough to get around, and when you think you have him beat, there he is with his stick. There's just an awful lot to like about him and let's not overlook his elite skating for a guy that size."

Miller agreed to a three-year, entry-level contract March 16. He impressed the Rangers during training camp prior to the 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers but wasn't eligible to play in the postseason because he agreed to his contract after the NHL season was paused March 12. But he was able to practice and said he felt that gave him an advantage going into camp this season.

"That camp put me in a pretty good position, just getting out there with the guys, seeing how their systems work," Miller said. "It just gave me that extra little boost of confidence that showed me that I was right on the verge of something special." -- Dan Rosen

 

Toronto Maple Leafs

Alexander Kerfoot practiced with his Maple Leafs teammates Monday for the first time since injuring his leg Jan. 5, and the forward said he is ready for the season opener against the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday.

"We were doing line rushes last week and I lost my balance and tumbled into the boards," he said. "It felt good to be back out there with the guys today."

Kerfoot was the center on a line with Zach Hyman and Ilya Mikheyev, the line he was playing on at the start of training camp prior to his injury. -- Mike Zeisberger

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