Six Newfoundlanders in NHL camps … for now
Six skating at camp, but four likely destined for minors with a fifth going back to junior
Six Newfoundlanders are in National Hockey League training camps today looking to make an impression on their various organizations, though it’s likely four of the five will start the year in the minors, with a fifth heading back to junior hockey.
Colin Greening of St. John’s, a veteran of 303 career NHL games, is at the Toronto Maple Leafs camp in Niagara Falls, Ont. after signing a one-year, free agent contract with Toronto last summer.
Greening played the entire 2016-17 season with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies, finishing up a three-year, $2.45 million contract he originally signed with the Ottawa Senators.
The 31-year-old winger will be a veteran presence on the Marlies this season.
In Carolina, 21-year-old second-year pro Clark Bishop of St. John’s is at the Hurricanes’ camp. Last season, Bishop split the season between the AHL Charlotte Checkers and the Florida Everblades of the ECHL.
Nathan Noel of St. John’s is attending his second camp with the Chicago Blackhawks after closing out his junior career with a Quebec Major Junior Hockey League championship last season with the Saint John Sea Dogs.
The 20-year-old centre played in his second rookie tournament for the Blackhawks last weekend, before joining the Blackhawks for their main camp at the United Centre.
Noel was drafted in the fourth round, 113th overall, by the Blackhawks in 2016. Last season, he potted 24 goals for the Sea Dogs.
Cody Donaghey is attending his first camp with the Ottawa Senators.
The defenceman from St. John’s just suited up for Ottawa’s rookie squad — just as did last year — in a rookie tournament in Toronto. But unlike last season, Donaghey has been invited to Ottawa’s main camp at the Canadian Tire Centre.
Donaghey has training camp experience, having attended the Toronto Maple Leafs’ camp for a brief time in 2015. The Leafs signed Donaghey to a free agent contract, but he was dealt to Ottawa as part of the Dion Phaneuf trade.
Donaghey finished his five seasons in the QMJHL last year, splitting the year between the Charlottetown Islanders and Sherbrooke Phoenix. He suited up for six teams in the Q.
There’s a good chance goalie Evan Fitzpatrick, originally from St. John’s but now living in Lower Sackville, N.S., will wind up back in the QMJHL with Sherbrooke from the St. Louis Blues’ camp.
The big netminder was drafted in the second round, 59th overall, by St. Louis in 2016. He attended the Blues’ rookie camp last year and, for a brief time, St. Louis’s main camp before getting sent back to junior.
Fitzpatrick was at rookie camp again this season, and is currently with the big club in camp at their practice facility in suburban St. Louis.
He has three seasons in the QMJHL under his belt, all with Sherbrooke.
Tyler Boland of St. John’s attended the Winnipeg Jets’
rookie camp, and suited up for the Jets’ rookies at a tournament in Penticton, B.C.
However, Boland, an undrafted free agent, was not invited to the Jets’ main camp, or the Manitoba Moose AHL camp.
Boland, who finished second in scoring in the QMJHL last season skating for the Rimouski Oceanic, is set to begin his first season with the UNB Varsity Reds, two-time Canadian university hockey champions.
Thursday afternoon, WEEI Sports Radio in Boston reported forward Teddy Purcell was invited to the Bruins’ training camp on a professional tryout.
Purcell, 32, split the 2016-17 season between the Los Angeles Kings and the AHL’s Ontario Reign after signing as a free agent in L.A. in the summer of 2016.
“Just from looking at the roster, and kind of the right side and kind of wherever they want to put me, I felt comfortable here,” Purcell told WEEI, adding he had training camp invites from other NHL teams and contract offers from some of the European leagues.
“And sometimes you just have to go with your gut, and that’s what I did.”
Purcell has played for the Kings, Edmonton Oilers and Florida Panthers over the last two seasons after spending five years with the Tampa Bay Lighting.
He scored 24 goals in Tampa in 2011-12, but his production has slipped since then.
There are other Newfoundlanders at NHL camps
In addition to the five players, there are six other Newfoundlanders at NHL training camps in other capacities.
Ryane Clowe and Darryl Williams, who both grew up in Mount Pearl, are assistant coaches with the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers, while John Slaney of St. John’s and Jason King of Corner Brook are at the Arizona Coyotes and Vancouver Canucks training camps. Both are assistant coaches with their organizations’ AHL teams. Darryl Seward of Lewisporte is the newly-appointed video coach for the Canucks, and Dave Roper of Mount Pearl was just appointed assistant equipment manager for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The list does not include Pittsburgh Penguins director of pro scouting, Derek Clancey.
Nathan Noel of the Saint John Sea Dogs (10) drives to the net during a QMJHL playoff game last spring against the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada. Noel is currently at the Chicago Blackhawks’ training camp.
Clark Bishop takes a faceoff for the Charlotte Checkers against Mike McMurtry of the Texas Stars in an AHL game last season.