Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Tuesday Rookies

As training camps open up for the European-bound teams on Tuesday, other teams are finishing up their rookie campaigns.  A lot of the names below will be guys heading to their respective team's full training camp, with hopes to make it to the big club.  They may not all be pool-worthy players right off the hop, but it's good to have some of these names taken down in the small notebook in the back of your head, just in case they do make a name for themselves this season or next.

If you were eyeing up the St. Louis Blues heading into camp, you may have noticed that they are in need of some new blood to fill some vacancies in their line-up. The rookie tournament in Traverse City, Michigan has provided a good look and some good statistics for a few rookies that have a great chance at cracking the team this season.  On Tuesday, the Blues lined up against the Blue Jackets and it was time for Patrik Berglund, T.J. Oshie and Alex Pietrangelo to shine.

Berglund came to play, scoring a goal and adding 3 assists... he has got the tools to make the big club.  His emergence has found him a spot on the Selection Sheet for the coming season.  Oshie scored a pair of goals for the Blues and he'll have himself a spot on the Sheet as well.  Pietrangelo joined the points session with a pair of assists.

As if the Rangers needed more to think about, thanks to the unsigned Brendan Shanahan, but they have a couple good rookies in camp, who scored a pair of goals each in their game against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday. Artem Anisimov and Joe Barnes each potted a pair in a 5-3 win, which brings them a step closer to the big time. The Rangers, however, don't have a lot of room for any new blood, not to mention trying to sign the aging veteran AND trying to remain in the Mats Sundin race.  Of course, if Sundin is swayed to the Big Apple, moves will have to be made and these rookies could be first in line to take a cheap spot in the line-up.

Continuing on at Traverse City, the Dallas Stars came from behind to top the Minnesota Wild, 3-2, thanks to a line led by top prospect, James Neal.  Neal helped on two goals by Colton Scevior, including the game-winner in the third period.  Another of the Stars top prospects, Jamie Benn, scored a shorthanded goal in the second to tie the game up.  Neal finished the tournament in Michigan as the tourney's top scorer, picking up 3 goals and 3 assists in 3 games.  Look for Neal to shine in camp next week.

In the loss to the Stars, forward Cal Clutterbuck did have himself a good game, as he scored a goal and an assist in the loss, which should increase his stock value going into camp.  Clutterbuck, 20, is one of the young players, who has been patiently waiting in line for his turn to have a full-time job in Minnesota.  He may not carry much pool value right away, but you may want to mark a little 'x' beside his name for future reference.

The Atlanta Thrashers finished the Traverse City tournament undefeated, as they beat the Red Wings in their final game, 3-2 in a shootout.  The only two goals allowed through the tournament were against the Red Wings, so the goaltending tandem, Chris Carrozzi and Ryan Daniels should get all the credit for that weekend.  Defenseman Zach Bogosian did impress the Atlanta management over the weekend tournament, which should bump his stock up to near-pro levels.  What he does in camp will be most important though.

Again, the name that pops out of the Detroit rookie crop is Cory Emmerton, who scored a goal and an assist in the game against Atlanta, which left him with 5 points in 3 games for the Red Wings in the tournament.  Emmerton does have a lot of work to do to make the roster in camp, but after the rookie tourney, he should have plenty of confidence going forward.

The Kings defeated the Coyotes in the first of a home & home of rookie games, 2-1, on Tuesday. Standing out for the Kings was goaltender Jonathan Bernier, who stopped all 17 shots in the first half of the game. Oscar Moller and Wayne Simmonds also stood out with a goal and an assist each for the team.  Bernier and Moller do have great chances of making the jump to the big club this season.

The Canucks beat up on the Oilers in Camrose, AB on Tuesday night, 6-2, concluding that small tournament. For the Canucks, Cody Hodgson had a goal and two assists in the win, prompting first star honours for the first round draft pick.  In net, Cory Schneider picked up the win, stopping 27 of 29 shots in the game.  Both Hodgson and Schneider are expected at training camp this coming weekend, but Hodgson is the only one with the real shot at making the club, as both goaltending positions should be taken up to start the season.

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