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Prospects head north for summer camp

Scouting staff get opportunity to evaluate young draftees, free agents and invitees

Thursday, 07.3.2014 / 12:00 AM ET / News
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com
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Prospects head north for summer camp

Tyler Bertuzzi (red) and Anthony Mantha, both 2013 draft picks, will return to Traverse City this weekend for their second development camp with the Red Wings. (Photo by Dan Mannes/Detroit Red Wings)

DETROIT – While Joey Jaws Chestnut is scarfing down 70-or so hot dogs in 10 minutes and most other ‘normal’ Americans are hosting Fourth of July barbeques this weekend, a group of young NHL hopefuls will be put through their paces at the Red Wings annual six-day development camp in northern Michigan.

For the fourth straight summer the Red Wings will head to Centre Ice Arena in Traverse City for their annual camp intended to familiarize recent draft picks, free agents and camp invitees to the organization’s culture and coaching staff.

For the prospects it’s a crash course in the dos and don’ts as they look to transition from college and juniors to the pros.

Forty-four players, including 17 previously drafted prospects led by the Wings past two first-round picks – center Dylan Larkin and forward Anthony Mantha – are expected at the camp, which begins Friday morning.

“The development camp is where we bring all our players who are not signed to contracts, all our draft picks, players that we own and anybody that’s on an entry-level contract,” Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “We bring in our strength coach, Peter Renzetti, we bring in our training staff, we bring in our nutritionist, we bring in our P.R. department, and we spend five days educating the young players on off-ice conditioning, on nutrition, on dealing with the media, and at the same time it’s an opportunity for the organization to get to know these players.”

Camper will be split into two equal groups – Team Lidstrom and Team Yzerman – with 13 forwards, seven defensemen and two goalies in each. The groups will work together in on-ice skill development that will feature two intra-squad scrimmages.

The organization will also introduce the prospects to dietitian Lisa McDowell, who has worked with pro, college and Olympic athletes since 1996. She will teach the prospects about good cooking and nutritional habits.

Drafted players are usually three to five years away from breaking onto an NHL roster. Development camps give teams the chance to evaluate the progression of prospects, which is a lot different from when Kris Draper was starting out in 1989.

“After you get selected that’s when the real work starts,” said Draper, a special assistant to Holland. “They’ve obviously done a lot to get picked but it’s what you do after that to get yourself into the NHL. These kids, with the nutrition, the personal training, the education that these guys get it’s far superior than when I was a kid and that’s what you see in the talent that’s coming up right now. It’s impressive.”

2014 Development Campers

Fans will get their first look at five of the Red Wings latest draft picks. Besides Larkin, the draftees selected last weekend in Philadelphia expected at camp are Dominic Turgeon (third round), Christoffer Ehn (fourth), Julius Vahatalo (sixth) and Axel Holmstrom (seventh).

Five prospects taken in 2013 will also be at camp, including Zach Nastasiuk (second), Tyler Bertuzzi (second), David Pope (fourth) and Marc McNulty (sixth).

Because of NCAA eligibility rules, the offseason conditioning camp is the only time that NHL teams can work-out their drafted players that have taken the college route, like Larkin, who will be a freshman this fall at the University of Michigan.

“Dylan will come to our development camp and he will get to learn what our culture is all about right off the bat, and so will Tomas Nosek, who we signed from the Czech Republic, so does Anthony Mantha, and all of the new guys along with Alexey Marchenko, Richie Nedomlel and Marek Tvrdon who have already played in Grand Rapids,” said Jiri Fischer, the Red Wings director of player development. “It is a great blend and every year makes such a big difference that when you have a player who has been a 3-4 year player out of the draft and a one-year pro, you see the maturity level.”

However, the camp isn’t all about work as the prospects will have some fun opportunities built into their northern Michigan visit during one of the region’s busiest times of the year with the annual National Cherry Festival. Some of the fun planned for the prospects will include a Fourth of July fireworks show; a guided tour of the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels flight squadron; attending a minor-league baseball game; and a curling tournament.

The camp will conclude with a team barbeque next Wednesday.

“We’ll have a barbeque where we sit out and Chris Chelios and some of the vets will talk a little bit about their careers,” Holland said. “You’re really trying to create that Red Wing’ culture, educate them about the Red Wings’ culture and what’s expected of them to one day play their way into being a Detroit Red Wing.”

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 49 36 9 4 161 110 76
2 FLA 51 31 15 5 141 112 67
3 TBL 51 29 18 4 137 118 62
4 NYR 51 28 18 5 146 132 61
5 BOS 51 27 18 6 149 136 60
6 NYI 49 26 17 6 134 121 58
7 DET 51 25 18 8 125 130 58
8 NJD 52 26 20 6 117 118 58
9 PIT 50 25 18 7 129 128 57
10 CAR 53 24 21 8 129 141 56
11 PHI 49 23 18 8 117 128 54
12 MTL 52 24 24 4 137 141 52
13 OTT 52 23 23 6 142 164 52
14 TOR 50 19 22 9 116 134 47
15 BUF 52 21 26 5 119 137 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
D. Larkin 50 17 18 23 35
H. Zetterberg 51 9 25 2 34
T. Tatar 50 14 16 -3 30
G. Nyquist 51 14 13 -4 27
J. Abdelkader 51 14 12 -4 26
P. Datsyuk 36 6 18 10 24
M. Green 45 3 17 -8 20
N. Kronwall 45 3 14 -10 17
D. DeKeyser 47 6 8 10 14
R. Sheahan 50 7 6 -15 13
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 18 10 4 .931 2.06
J. Howard 7 8 4 .904 2.89