The draft is over, free agency is in full swing and it's the time of year when the future of the franchise gathers in Scottsdale for a Summer skate.
Phoenix Coyotes Prospect Development Camp has begun again, as the top prospects, along with hand-picked free agents, descend upon the Ice Den. Camp will be held throughout the week (July 8-12), but public on-ice sessions will be held from 2:15 to 3:45 p.m. on the 9th, 10th and 11th.
Prospect camp typically consists of various drills that involve shooting, skating, passing, positioning and endurance. It is also common to see scrimmages and shoot-outs at the end of practices. There are also off-ice sessions that prospects attend that are not open to the public.
What to watch for:
- Max Domi: The first round draft pick from just over a week ago will make his first appearance on the ice with a Coyotes logo. With talk from General Manager Don Maloney that the 18-year-old could crack the opening day roster, every action Domi takes between now and October will be examined closely.
- Brandon Gormley: Widely considered to be the best defensive prospect in the Coyotes system, Gormley will be entering his fourth prospect development camp with the team. Fans are eager to see the improvements in the 21-year-old's game since last year, in hopes that the 2010 first round pick will play for the main club soon.
- Henrik Samuelsson: The 2012 first-round pick will be attending his second prospect development camp. The 19-year-old returns to the city where he grew up (Scottsdale) to showcase his improvements, coming off a 33-goal, 80-point season with the Edmonton Oil Kings of the WHL. There is a need for another bottom-6 forward on the Coyotes roster; a strong performance this week could help propel Samuelsson up the depth chart entering training camp.
- Mark Visentin: With Chad Johnson out of the picture, all signs point to Visentin being the starting goalie for the Portland Pirates next season. In his first year as a pro, the 20-year-old posted a 2.98 GAA and a .903 save percentage in 30 AHL games. The Hamilton, Ontario native has a long way to go before earning a spot on the main club, but his performance over the summer may determine whether he can be relied upon as the system's number three goalie.
- Connor Murphy: The highly talented but oft-injured defenseman will once again make the trek to the Desert in hopes of jump-starting a successful, injury-free season. The 2011 first round pick has been limited to 35 games and 33 games respectively over the last two seasons with the OHL's Sarnia Sting. A strong camp would go a long way toward winning the hearts of Coyotes fans and coaches. However, nothing would make those two groups happier than an injury-free 2013-2014 season.
- First-timers: Several players will be attending Coyotes Prospect Development Camp for the first time. Those players include 2013 Draft Picks: Domi, Laurent Dauphin, Yan-Pavel Laplante, Connor Clifton, Brendan Burke and Jedd Soleway. The first-timers roster also includes forward Tobias Rieder, who was acquired from the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for Kale Kessy back in March, defenseman Mathieu Brisebois, who was signed as a free agent in March, and nine free-agent forwards.