Thursday, July 9, 2009

Undrafted Prospects Get Their Chance at NHL Development Camps

Over the course of the next two weeks, NHL teams will be holding their annual Development Camps. These camps are generally for their drafted and contracted prospects and they include fitness testing, drills and scrimmages. It is essentially a venue for the prospects to show an NHL team that they made a wise choice in drafting them, or that they've improved from previous years.

However, these camps also serve as a venue for undrafted and non-contracted players. Many NHL teams (although not all) invite these players to their development camp to get a look at them. These players could be players that they liked, but didn't end up drafting, or they could be local kids they feel like giving shot.

Last year, several OHL players earned contracts following development camps. These guys ranged from Overagers on their last shot (Mike Swift, Justin Soryal), to recently passed over draft prospects (Brian Lashoff, Mark Cundari).

This year, several OHL players have earned such invites to NHL Development Camps, and I've attempted to gather all the information I could on these invites. Not every NHL team has released their development camp lists, and not every NHL team has invited OHL players. So consider this a somewhat incomplete list.

To New York Rangers:
Chris Chappell - Saginaw
Luke Pither - Barrie

To Columbus BlueJackets:
Darren Archibald - Barrie
Matt Caria - Plymouth
Kelly Geoffrey - Kingston

To Buffalo Sabres:
Chris DeSousa - Niagara
Adam Payerl - Barrie
Michael Fine - Sault Ste. Marie

To Toronto Maple Leafs:
Richard Greenop - Windsor
Adrian Robertson - Peterborough
Andrew Engelage - Windsor
Adam Wallace - Windsor

To Chicago Blackhawks:
Jacob Muzzin - Sault Ste. Marie

To Boston Bruins:
Rob Kwiet - Windsor

To Los Angeles Kings:
Ben Shutron - Windsor
Brett Parnham - Oshawa

To St. Louis Blues:
Andrew Agozzino - Niagara
Leigh Salters - London
Jack Combs - Saginaw
Tony DeHart - Oshawa

To Atlanta Thrashers:
Jay Gilbert - Niagara

Carolina Hurricanes:
Beau Schmitz - Plymouth

  • Chris Chappell, Rob Kwiet, and Richard Greenop have recently signed NHL contracts with the teams of the development camp they attended. Big congratulations to those guys. Chappell, of course, was my top ranked available overager. I think he's your classic late blooming forward with size. I have larger doubts about Kwiet and Greenop's NHL potential, but obviously they did enough to impress.
  • Luke Pither was apparently very impressive at the Rangers camp. As an 89 birthdate, I'm sure he'd rather get a contract now than get one after playing his overage season. Here is a great article from HockeysFuture's Leslie Treff, that includes snippets about Pither's (and Chappell's) performance.
  • Chris DeSousa, a guy I largely expected to get drafted, is apparently playing very well at the Sabres camp. He's showcasing his strong scoring ability and his tenacious energetic playing style.
Obviously, I'll try to continue to update you on development camp invites and any players who earn themselves a contract.

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