It may be over 100 degrees outside, but inside the Ice Den, a cool breeze swept over a reinvigorated Coyotes fan base and a group of hungry prospects as day two of Phoenix Coyotes Prospect Development Camp began.
Thirty-five players took the ice for the 90-minute practice, including all six players drafted by the Yotes back on June 30.
All eyes were on 12th overall pick, Max Domi as he donned the number 15 and skated around the ice. The 18-year-old wowed the audience early in the practice with good speed and a nifty move to score. During 3-on-2 drills, Domi played LW; a position that he may transition to full-time with the Coyotes. Left Wing is also a position of need for the Coyotes, furthering the speculation that the first-round pick will be given a good, hard look at a starting role during training camp. "He's a real high skilled player," Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett said.
Tippett mentioned four players specifically when discussing who would have a real shot at making an impact for the main club this coming season. Those players were: Domi, Brandon Gormley, Henrik Samuelsson and Lucas Lessio.
Gormley has now played in four consecutive prospect camps, but comes into this one ready to impress the coaches. He said he has learned to become a more consistent player after playing his first professional season with the Portland Pirates in 2012-2013. Gormley's strong break-out passes stood out especially for the first day on the ice. There is a log jam of left-handed defensemen ahead of Gormley on the depth chart, including Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Keith Yandle, Rostislav Klesla and David Schlemko. Cracking the big club out of training camp will be tough but, the 21-year-old said he is "absolutely" coming into camp to grab a roster spot.
Last year's first round pick, Samuelsson, came into his second prospect camp in a better position than last year. The 19-year-old said that he established himself as an offensive, but well-rounded player in the WHL last year. Coming off his 80-point WHL campaign with the Edmonton Oil Kings, Samuelsson hopes to get "bigger, stronger and faster" in hopes of making the team.
Tippett cautioned that on day one, "You're just trying to put names with faces," adding, "It's a good orientation week, but it's also a week for (the players) to get noticed."
On-ice drills consisted of 2-on-0 and 3-on-0 situations designed to help passing, shooting and goaltending. There was a more traditional 3-on-2 drill that consisted of three forwards taking on two defenseman in the most game-like practice of the day. All three groups, forwards, defensemen and goaltenders, also practiced individually at various points in the session.
Prospect camp continues with another on-ice session tomorrow afternoon. It is free and open to the public from 2:15 to 3:45 p.m. at the Ice Den.
- Another player who drew some oohs and aahs from the crowd was 7th round pick Jedd Soleway. The 19-year-old had a few nice snipes in the 2-on-0 drill.
- Both Lessio and Philip Lane had a solid day on the ice. This is not the first camp for either one of them and it showed.
- Yan-Pavel Laplante also had a strong offensive showing on Tuesday. The 3rd round pick shined during the 3-on-2 drill including scoring goals on two consecutive attempts.
- Tuesday was not the day for goalies as the drills were not designed to showcase their in-game skills. Sixth round pick Brendan Burke did not look out of place in the goalie group consisting of Mark Visentin, Louis Domingue and Marek Langhamer.
- Coyotes re-signed forward Andy Miele to a one-year contract.