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Four Predator prospects play scrimmages at U.S., Canada evaluation camps

by Kevin Wilson / Nashville Predators
Predators prospects Zach Budish (United States), Gabriel Bourque, Ryan Ellis and Charles-Olivier Roussel (Canada) all took the ice for intra-squad scrimmages at their respective nations’ world junior evaluation camp this weekend, with Budish collecting a goal in three games and both Bourque and Roussel notching assists in a pair of contests.

After being held scoreless through the first two scrimmages of Team USA’s camp in Lake Placid, N.Y., Budish, Nashville’s second choice (41st overall, second round) in June, scored a goal for Team Blue in Sunday’s scrimmage, then was one of 29 skaters to make the U.S. roster for the Red, White and Blue’s four exhibition games against Russia this week. The exhibition games will be the 6-3, 223-pound forward’s first official games since an injured knee kept him on the sidelines for the majority of the 2008-09 season.

In a 5-2 Team White victory on Friday night in Saskatoon, Sask., Bourque – a fifth-round pick this past June – set up White’s first goal of the game, scored Ryan O’Reilly, a 2009 Colorado second-round pick and brother of the Predators Cal O’Reilly. The following evening, Team Red wound down the camp with a 5-3 win of its own behind a pair of goals by 2008 Chicago third-rounder Shawn Lalonde. Roussel, Nashville’s third choice (42nd overall, second round) in 2009, picked up the lone assist on a Cody Eakin goal, the first of a four unanswered tallies by Team Red to close out the scrimmage and the camp.

Ellis, the 11th overall pick in the 2009 Draft and Nashville’s first selection, played with Roussel on Team Red. The Hamilton, Ont., native was one of nine players participating in the camp who won a gold medal at the World Junior Championships last year in Ottawa. The 5-9, 180-pound defenseman was the youngest defenseman since Jay Bouwmeester in 2001 and one of just three draft-eligible players on the 2009 team. He ranked fourth among tournament defenseman with seven points (1g-6a) in six games.

All three Team Canada participants are expected to attend Nashville’s training camp in September, while Budish will head to the Twin cities to study and play at the University of Minnesota in 2009-10.

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