Monday, September 15, 2008

Sunday's Prospect Action

Monday morning... we're still counting down to the open of most major training camps with all the rookie camps and tournaments. I really wish I could at least be at one or two, instead of having to read the highlights of them all the next morning. Ah well, what can ya do? Well, I'll see what I can find as notable names through the news bites I can find.

The Flames opened up their rookie scedule with a shutout over the Oilers in Camrose, Alberta. The 1-0 scoreline wasn't enough to produce much offensive news, but it was Matt Keetley, who earned the goose egg for Calgary, stopping 22 shots in the process.  Flames brass had their eyes on top prospect Mikael Backlund through the game and didn't disappoint, playing well for the young Flames.  Brett Sutter was the only goal scorer of the game, scoring his goal shorthanded.

The Dallas Stars came from behind to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday in Traverse City, Michigan, 5-4. Forward James Neal had a pair of goals for Dallas in their win and now has four points in this tournament.  Neal, 21, has likely earned himself a spot at the club's big camp in a week and will likely get a good long look there.  Top prospect, Fabian Brunnstrom, had his first point of the tournament with an assist.

The Sharks opened up their rookie campaign with a 4-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks in Las Vegas on Sunday. The name that jumps out of that game was Sharks forward Mike Morris, who scored a pair of goals in the win.  Morris, 25, a second round pick in 2002, worked hard to poke in the first goal and scored an empty-netter to polish the game off.  Morris is officially on the last year of his entry-level deal now and will likely want to make a name for himself in the big camp this year.

The Panthers earned a 5-2 win in Kitchener, Ontario against the Penguins on Sunday and there were a few key names to watch out for in training camp there. Forward Mike Duco had a pair of points (goal and assist), while fellow forwards, Michael Repik, Kenndal McArdle and Michael Frolik each had a goal, as the most notable players.  The Panthers will be looking towards their youth this season to step up and fill some voids, despite having a good portion of their skater spots already taken up by veterans.  Both Repik and Frolik are known as talented scorers, which the Cats will need to succeed this season. Both Shawn Matthias and Keaton Ellerby, both top prospects added assists in the game as well.

The Thrashers won their prospect game against the Rangers on Sunday, 3-0. The biggest name to tally for the Thrashers in the game was Angelo Esposito, who gave the team a 2-0 lead in the first period.  Esposito is one of the names the Thrashers are looking to for an impact this Fall and hopefully to make the camp a memorable one.  Atlanta still has plenty of room for their prospects to shine enough to make the club and Esposito is likely going to be one of them.

The Minnesota Wild beat the St. Louis Blues on Sunday, 3-2, in Traverse City, getting a good effort out of Maxim Noreau, a free agent defenseman who signed this summer.  Noreau, 21, had a goal and an assist for the Wild in the second period, which led the team to the win. The Wild don't have a lot of room left on their blueline, as Kurtis Foster looks to be coming back in fine form finally, but Noreau will get a good look in camp if he can keep this pace up in the tournament.

Finally, in Ottawa, it was top-rated prospect, Jesse Winchester, who scored a pair of goals for the Sens in a 7-5 win over the Maple Leafs on Sunday.  Highlights of the game on's broadband were very minimal, but the Senators also received some hope from Russian prospect, Ilya Zubov, who also scored a goal in the game.  Both Winchester and Zubov are in a hard battle for a spot with other young players, Cody Bass and Nick Foligno

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