The Canucks 2011 Development Camp opens this coming Tuesday, July 5th. 34 (or possibly 35) players are expected to attend, including a number of invitees who do not yet have an NHL contract. Before delving into the who these new invitees are and what we might expect from them at camp, I’m looking back at the invitees to the 2010 development camp and training camp: where are they now? Have they moved ahead in their careers? Do any of them now have NHL contracts?
On Thursday, I covered 8 of the 16 invitees. Here are the remaining 8:
Matt Fraser – Left Wing
6’2″ – 207 lbs – May 20, 1990
Red Deer, AB
Fraser was a standout at the 2010 training camp and young stars tournament and was one of two players we thought might receive a contract offer. Unfortunately, the Canucks were too near the 50-contract limit and didn’t see enough out of Fraser to give him an offer. He returned to the Kootenay Ice as an overage player and was dominant, scoring 74 points in 66 games, including 36 goals. He signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Dallas Stars on November 17, 2010, 20 games into his WHL season. At that point, he only had 19 points, meaning he scored 55 points in his remaining 46 games. This hot streak continued in the postseason, where he tallied 15 goals and 9 assists in 18 games while leading the Kootenay Ice to the WHL Championship. His 15 goals tied Calgary Flames prospect Max Reinhart for most in the WHL playoffs and he added 4 goals and 2 assists in 5 games at the Memorial Cup. The Stars have to be happy with his performance after he signed his entry-level deal. He will likely start next season in the AHL with their affiliate, the Texas Stars.
James Henry – Left Wing
5’9″ – 181 lbs – Mar 11, 1991
Henry missed a large chunk of the 2010-11 season with an MCL injury, playing only 50 games. He scored 39 points and picked up 103 penalty minutes. His long-term injury was especially disappointing as he had been named Captain of the Giants after previous captain Craig Cunningham was traded, but was unable to lead the time on the ice. He also missed the first two games of their opening round playoff series versus the Tri-City Americans, but the Giants were still swept upon his return.
Tayler Jordan – Left Wing
6’6″ – 196 lbs – Feb 8, 1990
Jordan is still 6’6″, which is his most positive attribute. With only 9 points in 60 games with the Winterhawks, his scoring touch is severely lacking. He did, however, post 121 penalty minutes with 10 fights in the regular season and 3 more in the playoffs. He is certainly a physical player, as evidenced by this fight-sparking hit reminiscent of Raffi Torres on Brent Seabrook and he was a key penalty killer and leader for the Winterhawks, helping them to the WHL final versus Matt Fraser’s Kootenay Ice. With his size, skating, and physical play, Jordan could certainly find a place in professional hockey as a role player.
Pierre-Olivier Morin – Left Wing
5’11″ – 165 lbs – Apr 23, 1991
Along with Fraser, Morin was a standout in Canucks training camp last year, but was also not offered a contract. He took a step back in his development this year, scoring only 45 points in 59 games compared to 65 points in 67 games the year before. He was productive in the playoffs, however, notching 13 points in 15 games and he took on a larger leadership role and was named one of the alternate captains. Despite the decrease in points, he was praised for his more well-rounded game, with his speed being an asset in backchecking as well as creating space for his linemates.
Brad Smith – Centre
6’3″ – 192 lbs – Apr 14, 1988
Saint Mary’s University
Smith’s invitation to last year’s training camp will likely be the closest he gets to NHL action, as he scored only 5 points in 21 games for Saint Mary’s of the CIS in 2010-11.
Scott Zurevinski – Centre
6’2″ – 190 lbs – Jun 4, 1988
Zurevinski was one of the most intriguing invitees to last year’s prospects camp as he had previously been offered a contract by Mike Gillis but declined the offer to go back to Quinnipiac for his Junior year. He still attended the camp, indicating that the Canucks may still have the inside track on signing him once he starts his professional career. Zurevinski was named the Captain of the Bobcats and led the team in scoring with 25 points in 39 games, a step down from his 30 points in 2009-10, but still enough to lead the team in scoring. Zurevinski is expected to return to Quinnipiac for his Senior year unless he receives the right offer from the NHL.
Michael Houser – Goalie
6’1″ – 185 lbs – Sep 13, 1992
Houser was the youngest invitee to last year’s camp and was expected to get drafted in this year’s entry draft. Despite winning the starting job with the London Knights and being named the team’s MVP, however, Houser once again went undrafted. His numbers in the regular season (3.32 GAA, .904 SV%) are average, but are significantly better than his backup, Igor Bobkov (4.12 GAA, .874 SV%), which might indicate some defensive deficiencies in front of them. He shone in the playoffs, however, posting a .940 SV% in a 6-game series against Owen Sound while facing an average of over 41 shots per game. Even after a performance like that, he appears to be slipping under the radar after not receiving an invite to the USA major junior camp. Houser’s coach compares him favourably to Red Wings’ goalie Jimmy Howard.
Keith Kinkaid – Goalie
6’3″ – 170 lbs – Jul 4, 1989
Kinkaid was a star for Union College in 2010-11, posting a stellar 1.99 GAA and .920 SV% in 38 games. He was given the Ken Dryden award as the goaltender of the year in the ECAC division of the NCAA. Those numbers caught the attention of New Jersey Devils’ GM Lou Lamoriello, who signed Kinkaid to a two-year, $1.28 million entry-level contract on April 18th. Other than the aging Martin Brodeur and Johan Hedberg, Kinkaid is the only other goaltender under contract in the Devils’ system, with Brodeur’s contract up after next season. Kinkaid will be 22-years-old at the start of the season: will he get a chance to back-up Brodeur? Is he the Devils’ goalie of the future?
Tags: Invitees, Prospects