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11 Knights’ players head for NHL rookie camps and tournament

Alex Formenton of the London Knights. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Mark Spowart. CP Images/Mark Spowart

Eleven members of the London Knights have either left the team or will be leaving very soon. All of them are headed to NHL rookie tournaments in various locations around the hockey world.

The Knights have eight NHL draft picks on their current roster. That number bumps to 12 if you include Olli Juolevi, Tyler Parsons and Brandon Crawley, who all have junior eligibility remaining.

Parsons is the least likely of that trio to make his way back to London. He will take part in the YoungStars Classic in Pentiction, B.C., between Sept. 8 and 11 and will very likely wind up at main camp with Calgary after that. The expectation is that Parsons will begin his professional career, teamed with Jon Gillies as the goaltending tandem for the Stockton Heat of the American Hockey League.

Juolevi has spent two years in the Ontario Hockey League and despite having been born in Finland, he is bound by the CHL-NHL agreement that gives him two main options for 2017-18: Vancouver or London. He cannot play in the AHL. There is still some suggestion that if Juolevi does not make the Vancouver Canucks’ roster, he could return to play pro for a year in Finland. He will go head-to-head with Parsons in Pentiction.

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Crawley was drafted in June by the New York Rangers and will be taking part in the famous Traverse City Prospects tournament in Michigan. Had the New Jersey native not been drafted, he was a pretty good lock to return to London for an overage year. The Rangers could still do that. New York could also place Crawley with their AHL farm team in Hartford.

***Note: Janne Kuokkanen will also be in Traverse City. Since the Carolina Hurricanes drafted Kuokkanen while he was still playing in Europe, he is not subject to the same agreement Juolevi is and could play in the American League at the age of 19 if he does not land a spot with the Hurricanes.

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Here is a look at where other London Knights’ players are headed this week.

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Jesper Bratt

Knights’ fans have hardly had a chance to get to know him, but Bratt has impressed anyone who has seen him play. He is incredibly quick and is loaded with offensive talent. He was a sixth round pick by New Jersey in the 2017 NHL Entry draft and is slated to play in London this year. The Devils could put Bratt in the AHL, but at this point, he is 5’10 and 175 pounds, so a year playing in junior will serve him well as he bulks up for the big leagues. He will play for the Devils in the Prospect Tournament held in Buffalo.

Adrian Carbonara

The Maple, Ont., native received a free agent invite to rookie camp with the New York Rangers. He will play with Crawley at the Traverse City Prospects tournament with an eye on earning a professional contract.

Alex Formenton

Formenton went from an 11th round pick in the OHL Priority Selection by the Knights to a second round pick in the NHL Entry draft by the Ottawa Senators. That is a very rare jump. Formenton has incredible speed and quickness and will get to show it off against Ottawa and Montreal at the Maple Leafs’ rookie tournament at the Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto. After years in London at Budweiser Gardens, that tournament has shifted to downtown T.O.

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Jacob Golden

The Minnesota Wild needed just 38 games to like what they saw from Golden enough to draft him in June. Golden was brought along slowly last season by the Knights and will have a much larger role this year. With his play in training camp, he showed excellent signs that he is ready and will be in Traverse City with the Wild.

Max Jones

Jones is headed to California. The question already being asked is, how long will he stay? The Ducks will join the Avalanche, Coyotes and Sharks for a rookie tournament in San Jose. With the way Jones plays and the fact that he saw time with the Ducks’ AHL team in the Calder Cup playoffs last year, he should continue right along to main camp and likely into the pre-season with Anaheim. Should they want to take a look at Jones in the regular season, the Ducks would have nine games to evaluate him against NHL talent. If he plays a tenth game, a year of his contract would kick in.

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Nic Mattinen

The big defenceman with the big shot is off to rookie camp with the Maple Leafs. Mattinen was a sixth round pick of Toronto in 2016 and will play alongside last year’s Knights’ captain, J.J. Piccinich at the Ricoh Coliseum. Mattinen is 19 and still has a year to play in major junior before the Leafs could look at putting him with the Toronto Marlies.

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Victor Mete

The 100th overall pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft will play with the Canadiens at the rookie tournament in Toronto. This is Mete’s second camp with Montreal and he may be one of those players who earns his way into an invite to main camp with Montreal. Like Mattinen, Mete still has another year before he becomes eligible to play in the American League.

Sam Miletic

Miletic was at Pittsburgh’s development camp in the summer. So was the Stanley Cup. He admitted he was careful not to touch it, but might have been able to use it as an extra bit of inspiration because the Knights’ overage forward earned a spot on the Penguins’ rookie camp roster. He will be part of the Prospects Tournament in Buffalo against the Sabres, the Devils and the Bruins from Sept. 8-11.

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Cliff Pu

The Sabres’ third round pick in 2016 will be there as well. Pu led the London Knights in scoring last season and received an invite to the Summer Showcase, putting him on the radar for Canada’s World Junior team. Pu will also have a larger leadership role with the Knights in 2017-18.

Robert Thomas

Thomas attended the Summer Showcase as well. It was part of a wild summer that saw him selected 20th overall by the St. Louis Blues in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. Thomas now heads to Traverse City where the Blues tend to fare pretty well. In the 17 years it has been happening, St. Louis and Columbus have each won it four times. Thomas is a guy who does the little things teams need to win and will fit in just fine. He is another player who would be a good bet to make it to main camp.

Cole Tymkin

Tymkin will be with the Dallas Stars in Traverse City. He may have gone undrafted in June, but the Rainy River native did not go unnoticed. The Stars brought him to their development camp in the summer and liked what they saw, giving him another look now.

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Tournament Dates

Traverse City – Sept. 8-12

Carolina Hurricanes

Columbus Blue Jackets

Chicago Blackhawks

Dallas Stars

Detroit Red Wings

Minnesota Wild

New York Rangers

St. Louis Blues

 

YoungStars Tournament in Pentiction, B.C. – Sept. 8 to 11

Edmonton

Calgary

Winnipeg

Vancouver

 

Rookie Tournament in Toronto – Sept. 8 to 11

Maple Leafs

Montreal

Ottawa

 

Prospect Tournament in Buffalo – Sept. 8 to 11

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Boston

Buffalo

Pittsburgh

New Jersey

 

Prospect Showcase in San Jose – Sept. 9-12

Sharks

Anaheim

Arizona

Colorado

 

The Panthers were going to host a Rookie Tournament in Florida from Sept. 9-12, but it was cancelled due to Hurricane Irma. Rookies from the Predators, Lightning, Capitals and Panthers were scheduled to take part.

 

Rookie Games

Vegas vs Los Angeles – Tuesday and Wednesday in L.A.

Philadelphia vs the N.Y. Islanders – Sept. 13

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