Winterhawks Stars at NHL Development Camps: A Roundup
For hockey players in 2017, the work never seems to stop. Following the excitement of the NHL Draft, in which four Hawks were selected, Winterhawks stars headed all over North America to participate in a bevy of NHL Development Camps. Let’s take a look at it on a team-by-team basis:
Vegas Golden Knights
Cody Glass came into camp attracting all the headlines, as the first NHL Draft selection in Vegas’ history when they picked him 6th overall. Glass is going to be an impact player for the fledgling franchise, with the Knights optimistic about their young pivot who we saw turn in a first-team all-star appearance here in Portland last season.
But Glass wasn’t the only Winterhawk who made an appearance at the Golden Knights’ development camp, as 20-year-old defenseman Keoni Texeira was invited as a free-agent to compete for a contract with Vegas.
New York Islanders
The newest member of the Winterhawks Kieffer Bellows made his second appearance at New York Islanders Camp. He showed his impressive goal-scoring ability straightaway:
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) June 29, 2017
As one of three first-round NHL picks expected to be in the Hawks’ lineup this fall, get used to seeing plenty of goal-lights coming on when Bellows is on the ice.
For Winterhawks’ defenseman Caleb Jones, the focus of development camp with Edmonton was clear: make the jump to professional hockey. After picking up nearly a point a game with the Hawks last season, Jones is a near-certainty to make that jump this fall. As a 20-year-old, Jones is eligible to play in the minors this season as well as with the Oilers, so expect to see him transitioning into a full-time professional player this fall.
Los Angeles Kings
Two Winterhawks forwards competed for contracts at the Los Angeles Kings’ camp. Graduate and former captain Keegan Iverson proved himself at the camp after signing a deal with the Ontario Reign of the American Hockey League, the Kings’ top affiliate farm-team.
Evan Weinger, meanwhile, competed in the development camp in his hometown. The El Segundo, California native, who played for the LA Junior Kings as a kid, showed off his impressive speed during the camp, as he prepares to compete for a professional contract as a free-agent during his 20-year-old season. The Kings signed him to an Amateur Try-out Contract shortly after the camp ended:
Kings today filed an ATO for Evan Weinger and Clayton Kirichenko.
— LAKingsPR (@LAKingsPR) July 5, 2017
San Jose Sharks
Joachim Blichfeld made an impact in his rookie season for the Hawks last year, his first in North America since being drafted by the Sharks in 2016. Blichfeld participated in his second camp with the Sharks this summer.
Henri Jokiharju had a magical NHL Draft Weekend, being the center of one of the highlights of the weekend when his name was called in the opening round:
He’ll look to follow that up with an impressive development camp when the Blackhawks get underway on July 17.
Two current Winterhawks appeared as invites in Nashville with the Predators. Alex Overhardt, as a 20-year-old, arrived as a free-agent with the hope of earning a professional contract for the 2017-18 season. Meanwhile, Ryan Hughes, after his first year of eligibility for the draft, was invited to give the Predators a look at his skillset, with the option to sign him to a contract or allow him to re-enter the draft next season.
Hughes teamed up with former Hawk Jack Dougherty at a visit to Monroe Carell Jr.Children’s hospital during camp, taking time out of their pursuit of professional hockey to give back to the Nashville community. Alex Overhardt headed to Fannie Battle Day Home to play some street hockey and have fun with some at-risk youths in Nashville.
After his breakout season with the Hawks last year, Skyler McKenzie appeared in his first professional camp after the Jets selected him in the 2017 Draft. McKenzie was joined by Winterhawks goaltender Cole Kehler, who was able to make an appearance at camp in his home province. It was a special opportunity for Kehler:
“It’s just really special” Altona, MB native Cole Kehler on his invitation to #NHLJets Development Camp.
— Winnipeg Jets (@NHLJets) June 27, 2017
Defenseman Brendan De Jong participated in his first NHL camp following his selection by the Hurricanes, and the ‘Canes provided their prospects a well-rounded week of hockey and other activities: