By: Greg Parkington
It is never summer without a little bit of camping. With the conclusion of the NHL Entry Draft this past weekend, it is that time of year for NHL teams to host their annual development camps. This summer the London Knights organization will have their presence felt in over half of the NHL Development Camps taking place this week. The Knights’ players taking part in these camps include members of the team’s current roster that have either been drafted by NHL teams or were free agent invitees and a few alumni as well.
Anaheim Ducks (June 26-29)
After hoisting the Memorial Cup with the Knights in 2016, Max Jones found himself making his way up to the stage during the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. The Anaheim Ducks used the 24th overall pick to select Jones. The past season Jones made his NHL debut and suited up for 30 games with the Ducks. In those 30 games he managed to net his first NHL goal and added another 4 points before rejoining the Ducks’ AHL affiliate in San Diego for a brief playoff run. Jones will be at the Ducks Development Camp once again and will likely begin the season in the NHL come October.
Arizona Coyotes (June 24-28)
Most fans may only faintly remember the 15 games Kelly Klima played for the Knights in 2014. Klima and his twin brother (Kevin) departed the team after the Christmas break in 2014 to join the Springfield Jr. Blues of the NAHL. Klima then played three seasons in the QMJHL before joining the Coyotes organization this past season. He will now participate in the Coyotes Development Camp this week with the hopes of impressing enough to earn an invite to Training Camp this fall.
Chicago Blackhawks (Dates To Be Announced)
Adam Boqvist & Alex Vlasic
While the Blackhawks have yet to officially announce the details surrounding their Development Camp this summer, it is safe to assume that top prospects Adam Boqvist and Alex Vlasic will be in attendance. Boqvist spent the past season with Knights after being selected 8th overall by the Blackhawks at last year’s Entry Draft. Alex Vlasic was drafted by the Blackhawks this past weekend, 43rd overall. He is committed to Boston University next season after spending the past two seasons with the US National Development Program. The London Knights hold Vlasic’s CHL playing rights after selecting him in the 2017 OHL Priority Selection.
Columbus Blue Jackets (June 25-28)
After making his pro-debut with the Cleveland Monsters, the Blue Jackets’ AHL affiliate, this past spring, Foudy will now attend his second Development Camp. Foudy attended the Jackets’ Development Camp last summer and earned an invite to Training Camp before rejoining the Knights for his third season with the club. He proceeded to have a career season putting up 68 points and adding another 12 in the playoffs. Foudy has a long summer of hockey ahead of him as he will also be attending Canada’s National Junior camp at the end of July. He will then briefly join the Knights in August before departing for Blue Jackets’ Training Camp in September.
Dallas Stars (June 24-28)
Mattinen spent two seasons with the Knights, including being a part of the 2016 Memorial Cup champs as a 16-year old. Originally drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2016, Mattinen went unsigned and will now attend the Stars Development Camp this week.
Detroit Red Wings (June 25-29)
Alec Regula will be attending his second Red Wings’ Development Camp this week. A third-round pick in 2018, Regula has been a staple on the Knights’ blueline for the past two seasons. Like Foudy, Regula has a long summer ahead of him as he has been invited to the US World Junior Summer Showcase which takes place at the end of July. Regula is poised to be a major piece of the Knights defense this upcoming season while also potentially representing the US at the World Juniors in the Czech Republic.
Edmonton Oilers (June 24-27)
Bouchard will be attending the Oilers’ Development Camp for the second year after having a big year of firsts. Bouchard had the opportunity to make his NHL debut with the Oilers back in October where he scored his first NHL goal. He then rejoined the Knights in November, sporting the captain’s ‘C’ once again. However, after only 13 games, he then jetted off to Vancouver to represent Team Canada at the World Junior tournament where he served as an Assistant Captain. Bouchard once again returned the Knights where he finished up a season that earned him the Max Kaminsky Award as the league’s top defenseman. Then after the Knights’ exit from the playoffs, Bouchard made his AHL debut with Oilers’ affiliate in Bakersfield. He put up 8 points in 8 games before the Condors were eliminated from the playoffs. Bouchard will enter the Oilers’ Training Camp this fall with the hopes of cracking the NHL roster once again.
Florida Panthers (June 27-30)
Nathan Dunkley & William Lochead
There will be two Knights in the Florida this week for Development Camp as Nathan Dunkley and overager William Lochead were extended invites by the Panthers. Dunkley will be looking to garner some interest from the Panthers organization this summer. Dunkley attended the Los Angeles Kings’ Development Camp last summer before returning to the Knights for his first full season with the team.
Overage defenseman William Lochead will also be in attendance when camp kicks off on Thursday. He joined Liam Foudy in Cleveland after the Knights’ season ended, however, he did not suit up for any games.
Minnesota Wild (June 25-28)
Guskov will be getting his first taste of the NHL experience this week after becoming one of the newest members of the Wild organization. Drafted in the 5th round, 149th overall, Guskov found himself waiting a little longer than anticipated to hear his name called this past weekend. He joined the London Knights as an import player from Russia this past season. He had a whirlwind first season in North America that saw him have a 3-point OHL debut before representing Russia at the World Junior A Challenge in December. He will likely rejoin the Knights for this upcoming season where he will hope to have a strong second season in the OHL.
New York Islanders (June 24-29)
Mitch Vande Sompel
London native, and former Knight, Mitch Vande Sompel has been a member of the Islanders organization since being drafted 82nd overall in 2015. Vande Sompel has spent the past two seasons in Bridgeport with the Islanders’ AHL affiliate. He finished his OHL career in London in 2017 after spending the previous three seasons in Oshawa. This will be Vande Sompel’s 5th time attending Development Camp with the Islanders.
New York Rangers (June 24-28)
Joey Keane & Hunter Skinner
Keane joined the Knights at the trade deadline this past season. After spending the previous two seasons as a member of the Barrie Colts, Keane was traded to the Knights which reunited him with younger brother Gerard. He was a third-round pick of the Rangers during last summer’s draft and will be attending Development Camp for the second time.
Hunter Skinner was selected by the Rangers in the fourth-round of this past weekend’s Entry Draft. He has spent the last two seasons in the USHL and is committed to the Western Michigan University for the fall of 2020. Like Vlasic, the London Knights own his CHL rights after selecting him during the 2017 Priority Selection.
Ottawa Senators (June 25-30)
Alex Formenton & Jonathan Gruden
Last season Alex Formenton not only attended the Senators’ Development Camp but also played nine NHL games and scored his first NHL goal. He returned to the Knights in November and appeared in 13 games before leaving for the Team Canada World Junior Selection Camp. Unfortunately, Formenton sustained an injury during a pre-tournament game which forced him out until February. Now fully recovered, Formenton will be attending his third Development Camp with the Senators with the hopes of cracking the opening night roster for the third straight season.
Jonathan Gruden will be attending the Senators’ Development Camp for the second time after being a 95th overall pick by the Senators last summer. He recently signed with the Knights after spending last season at Miami (Ohio) University.
Pittsburgh Penguins (June 26-28)
Last summer Billy Moskal attended the Columbus Blue Jackets Development Camp. However, the Pittsburgh Penguins extended an invite to the OHL veteran who has become known for his strength at the faceoff dot. Moskal is coming off a career year with the Knights after putting up 36 points, 10 more than last season’s totals. It is likely that Moskal will be back with the Knights this fall for his fourth season in the OHL.
St. Louis Blues (June 25-28)
Following what was his final season of OHL eligibility, Kevin Hancock will be joining the Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues for Development Camp this summer. After attending the New York Rangers’ camp last summer Hancock returned to Owen Sound where he began what resulted in a career year for the Mississauga native. Hancock joined the Knights in January where he finished off a 107-point season, which earned him a nomination for OHL Overager of the Year.
Toronto Maple Leafs (June 24-29)
Nelson was one of many players from the Knights that finished this season with a career high in points. In his third OHL season, all with London, Nelson put up 34 points which was enough to earn him an invite to the Maple Leafs’ Development Camp. As an undrafted free agent, this will be Nelson’s first taste of the NHL experience.
Vegas Golden Knights (June 25-29)
This summer will be Kooy’s second that has included a trip to Vegas. After being selected in the 7th round by the Golden Knights last summer, Kooy will be attending his second Development Camp. This season saw Kooy appear in 26 games plus represent the OHL during the CIBC Super Series versus Team Russia. Kooy played well enough during the regular season to earn the starting role during the playoffs where he picked up his first two shutouts of the season. Look for Kooy to rejoin the Knights this season.
Washington Capitals (June 25-29)
Only one player in the entire OHL had a bigger improvement to their goal total than Connor McMichael this past season (Phil Tomasino, Niagara); and he was drafted one spot before McMichael. After having a challenging rookie season in the OHL, McMichael proved to the entire league why the Knights felt he was worth giving up Robert Thomas for at the trade deadline in 2018. McMichael finished this season with 72 points and was selected 25th overall by the Washington Capitals this past weekend during the NHL Entry Draft. He will be attending the Capital’s Development Camp this week before returning to London where he will look to build off his monster sophomore year.