All the kids are at some kind of camp right now, whether it’s for their NHL team or their country. In that spirit, let’s round up the top campers we can’t wait to see “S’more” of.
1. Kelsey Tessier, C – Quebec Remparts (QMJHL): The diminutive Tessier ripped apart the defense at Colorado’s prospects camp, torching the intrasquad opposition for four goals last week in a modified scrimmage. With Paul Stastny and Wojtek Wolski already in the fold, seems like the Avs are stocking their future arsenal well. Drafted 110th overall by Colorado in 2008.
2. John Negrin, D – Kootenay Ice (WHL): Flames GM Darryl Sutter thinks Negrin is ready for the NHL and that’s a pretty good feather to have in your cap if you’re still a teenager. Negrin may not be the biggest name in Calgary’s system, but he was good enough to be a black ace for the Flames in the 2008 playoffs. Obviously more of a playmaker on the offensive end, Negrin had 41 assists and one goal last season. Drafted 70th overall by Calgary in 2007.
3. Zach Budish, C – Edina Hornets (Minn. HS): At 6-foot-4, 225 pounds, Budish is an absolute bull and – surprise, surprise – also stars for his high school’s football team as a linebacker. He’ll get a chance to show his stuff on the big stage this summer thanks to a spot on Team USA’s U-18 team at the Ivan Hlinka tournament. Draft eligible in 2009.
4. Collin Bowman, D – Kelowna Rockets (WHL): Bowman loves challenges, which is why even the tryout process for Team USA’s Ivan Hlinka tournament entry allowed him to push himself in new and different ways. Bowman was the only Canadian major junior player selected by the Amerks, so the shutdown defenseman had to learn about his fellow hopefuls fast.
“It was a new style of hockey,” Bowman said. “I was interested to see how I would stack up. They can all really skate and move the puck.”
Not that Bowman was concerned with keeping up with his new teammates points-wise; the 6-foot-2, 185-pound blueliner has other concerns on the ice.
“Last year I was really a shutdown defenseman, bringing a physical element out there,” he said. “This year I want to get into more special teams and earn more ice time.”
Bowman has already demonstrated his ability to keep top scorers off the board, including his older brother Drayson, who won the Memorial Cup with Spokane last year. When the two Bowmans clashed earlier in the season, they even dropped the gloves with each other.
“He thrives on putting goals up, but if you play tight ‘D’ and put the body on him, you can get under his skin,” Collin said of his brother. “My mom wasn’t too impressed – she didn’t want either of her babies hurt – but my dad was pretty pumped.”
With Team USA and Team Canada meeting in an exhibition match to kick off the Ivan Hlinka, the Canucks better be aware of the one Dub boy on the other side. Draft eligible in 2009.
5. Luke Schenn, D – Kelowna Rockets (WHL): One of Bowman’s forebearers, Schenn is an early favorite at Team Canada’s summer camp for the World Junior Championship team. The rock-hard blueliner scored his team’s only goal in an intrasquad game and impressed coach Benoit Groulx. Drafted fifth overall by Toronto in 2008.
6. Nazem Kadri, C – London Knights (OHL): Kadri may have been the youngest player at Team Canada’s WJC camp, but he made a great first impression, notching a goal and an assist for his winning intrasquad team. The youngster will also be a big factor in the OHL next season. Draft eligible in 2009.
7. Magnus Svensson-Paajarvi, LW – Timra IK (Swe): Call him ‘Ultra Magnus.’ The highly-skilled winger will be front and center for Sweden at the Ivan Hlinka and opponents best be careful when he’s on the ice. He already has Elite League experience and he’s still only 17. Draft eligible in 2009.
8. Jacob Josefson, C – Djurgardens (Swe): A potential center for Svensson-Paajarvi at the Ivan Hlinka, Josefson also has skills to burn and was nearly a point-per-game player in Sweden’s Under-20 set last year. Doesn’t mind playing physical, either. Draft eligible in 2009.
9. Olivier Roy, G – Cape Breton Screaming Eagles (QMJHL): Canada’s Ivan Hlinka roster hasn’t been set yet, but one of the goalies to watch will be Roy. The youngster put up admirable numbers for Cape Breton last season, going 27-11-3. Draft eligible in 2009.
10. Colin Wilson, C – Boston University Terriers (Hockey East): He may look NHL-ready right now, but Wilson has reportedly let Nashville know he’ll be hanging out in Boston for at least one more season. That’s good news for the Terriers and bad news for the rest of New England. Drafted seventh overall by Nashville in 2008.
The Hot List, a weekly roundup of minor league, junior, college and high school players we’re excited to one day see in the NHL, appears every Tuesday, only on thehockeynews.com.
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