10 NHL Training Camp Battles To Watch
Every training camp you see rookies battling their hearts out desperately trying to find themselves a spot on their respective NHL club.
This year is no different each team will have a healthy group of rookies vying for a spot on the team, and while all will not make it, this year promises to boast one of the greatest rookie classes in years.
Training camp is always an exciting time, not only does it signal the start of the hockey season, but it also shows off the players that fans don't always get to see. A first look at the draft picks or new additions to the lineup. Many hardcore fans love that time of year.
The following outlines the top 10 players that will battle it out for a spot in the lineup.
Tyler Seguin - Boston Bruins
It seems strange to throw up the second overall pick on a list like this. You would figure that it is a given that he will make the team right?
Well if you made that assumption you would be wrong.
While the odds are still likely in his favour, the Bruins have been toying with the idea of sending him back down to the Plymouth Whalers. It seems crazy, but at the moment the Bruins are nearly $5 million over the cap.
With Seguin's $3.5 million salary (with bonuses), they would have to free up a lot of space to fit the young gun in and may not be able to do so.
Thus as odd as it sounds Tyler Seguin will have to battle hard if he wants a spot in the Bruins lineup, which could lead to exciting times come training camp.
Michal Neuvirth - Washington Capitals
Michal Neuvirth has already appeared in 22 career games with the Washington Capitals, including 17 last season when he went 9-4 with a .914 save percentage.
Playing with the Hershey Bears, Neuvirth (pronounced NOY-vert) has done a very good job for a young goalie, he has shown calm and composure in the net which culminated into two very strong playoff runs, which has included two consecutive Calder Cup wins, and the Jack Butterfield Trophy (playoff MVP) in 2009.
Neuvirth has surprised many to become such a solid goalie, and with Jose Theodore gone, and a solid camp Neuvirth could find himself a permanent position in the Capitals lineup next season.
Potentially depending on Varlamov`s success in net Neuvirth could earn a split or even starter role in the near future.
Linus Omark - Edmonton Oilers
While Omark isn't particularly big he is much much more then that. Linus is an exceptionally skilled player with excellent hockey sense and a great skill set.
Most famously known for his signature shootout move made in a friendly game against Switzerland, Omark has already made waves in the hockey world and he would especially like to do so in the Oilers organization.
With the Oilers having such a wealth of solid prospects, Omark will certainly have to fight for a position, and given the skills he has displayed thus far could lead to some very interesting moments in Oil town.
Ryan McDonagh - New York Rangers
Montreal Canadiens fans were upset when former Habs GM traded defenders Ryan McDonagh to the New York Rangers, and rightfully so.
McDonagh has spent the last three seasons with the University of Wisconsin in the NCAA, and has really proved that he is ready to make that step up to the NHL.
In the NCAA McDonagh has really developed both sides of his game. Ryan is very solid in his own end, making solid plays to shut down the rush.
What he has really developed over time is his offensive game. While you won't exactly see Mike Green like numbers from McDonagh, what you will get is a solid breakout pass, and a strong ability to start a play.
The Rangers already have six defencemen under contract and still have yet to sign Marc Staal. But given a good camp and the chance he deserves, Ryan McDonagh could make the Rangers and could do quite well.
Jared Cowen - Ottawa Senators
The Ottawa Senators already have a full helping of defencemen, but they will soon find out that hey don't have many steady defensive minded defenceman. Losing Volchenkov and Sutton were huge blows and now all that's left is Chris Phillips.
With that realization coming hopefully sooner rather then later, Jared Cowen may just get the call.
Standing at 6'5" 220, Cowen is a bruiser, he plays a very steady game, and he can hit like a truck if necessary. Cowen was not given a fair shake in the World Juniors, as his foot speed isn't all that bad, and he is very reliable in his own end.
This former Memorial Cup champion has a lot to give. The Senators sure could use his imposing presence on the back end, or they may end up getting run over during the season.
Kyle Beach - Chicago Blackhawks
Needless to say the Chicago Blackhawks have a minor cap issue at the moment. They desperately need to shed some salary and bring in new faces to the organization.
What better place to start then Kyle Beach.
Beach has served his term in the Western Hockey League, and will play for either the Blackhawks or the IceHogs, and the way he finished off his junior career it will likely be with the former.
Simply put Kyle Beach is a warrior.
He can beat you in every way imaginable, he can score, assist, and his 769 career penalty minutes in juniors sure attest to his tremendous fight and will to win.
The Blackhawks lost a lot of character guys this offseason, and one great way to replace them is Kyle Beach.
Image Courtesy: The Hockey News
Cam Fowler - Anaheim Ducks
Mid first-round picks rarely get a chance to break into the NHL in their first go round, but for Cam Fowler that trend may not hold.
Fowler was once thought of as a top-three pick, but fell significantly to the 12th spot. For Fowler the move had to be disappointing, but it likely couldn't have been any better for him.
The Ducks are in need of a strong puck mover on the back end with the departure of Scott Niedermayer, and with few players that could really take the reigns, and given Fowler has a decent camp, he may actually get a shot.
Many question his defensive game, but if he can work out some issues, and really put his best foot forward he could make this team in the fall.
Adam Henrique - New Jersey Devils
Adam Henrique is a two-time Memorial Cup champion, a World Junior silver medalist, and the 2010 OHL playoff MVP. Simply put he has done nearly everything their is to do in a junior career, and will make the step up to the pros.
The only question is, will it be with New Jersey or Albany?
It would be in the best interest of the New Jersey Devils if they do bring him into the fold as he has grown into a tremendous player. Henrique has done quite well with Windsor, he is mainly an offensive player, but he does have a solid defensive game as well.
What more could you ask of a forward?
With spots free on the roster why not fill it with a solid young sniper, and given a solid camp that might just be what the Devils do.
Jonathan Bernier - Los Angeles Kings
Sure, the Los Angeles Kings already have two goalies under contract, but can they really pass on what is likely the best goaltending prospect in the NHL again?
Bernier has been absolutely stellar in the past two seasons with the Manchester Monarchs. With a career .925 save percentage in the AHL, including going an astounding .936 this past year, Bernier has really proved his worth.
The Baz Bastien trophy winner for the AHL's top goaltender also appeared in three contests with the Kings this past season recording a perfect 3-0 record stopping 86 of 90 shots on goal for an impressive .957 save percentage.
With Jon Quick as the obvious number one for the moment, that means he will do battle with backup goaltender Erik Ersberg for a spot in the lineup.
While it may seem unlikely he will end up with a spot on the roster, the Kings may be foolish to leave him out of the loop as he has all the potential in the world to be one of the league's premier goaltenders.
Kirill Kabanov - New York Islanders
Kirill Kabanov just may be the steal of the draft. Once considered a top-five pick, and even considered at one point a contender for the top spot in the draft, Kabanov now having been taken in the third round has a lot to prove.
While he seems fairly committed to play in the NHL, what he did to the Moncton Wildcats has to be on the back of everyone's mind.
Kirill playing with the Mem Cup contending Moncton Wildcats left mid season after injury stating he wanted to play for Russia in the U-18 tournament, and never came back. In fact he never even made the Russian roster.
Attitude aside Kirll has a lot of talent, and could be a great player in a year or two given the opportunity. Given a good camp Kirill could easily make a struggling Isles roster, and compete for a top six spot in the lineup.
It should be interesting times in New York.