Friday, July 7, 2017

Plenty of Sea Dogs at NHL summer camps

Carolina Hurricanes development camp was a popular destination for Saint John Sea Dogs players this year.

Goaltender Callum Booth and forwards Spencer Smallman and Julien Gauthier all attended the camp, which took place June 28 - July 1 in Raleigh. All three were draft picks of the Hurricanes and spent the final half of the 2016-17 season playing together in Saint John.

“I first met them here at camp [last year], and we became good friends at camp, we hung out,” Smallman told the North State Journal last week. “I kind of mentioned that to our GM in Saint John and see if we could maybe work out a deal to get them in Saint John, and fortunately it worked out. We had a great team and ultimately we got the championship.”
The only non-Sea Dog from the QMJHL to take part in the camp was Chicoutimi's Nicolas Roy.

Smallman was an overager last season and will play pro somewhere this year. Gauthier and Booth both have a year of junior eligibility remaining, but there is a good chance both will turn pro this season as well. Booth, being a goaltender, seems more likely to return, but those chances seem slim at this point.
Sea Dogs head coach Danny Flynn spoke to the Charlotte Observer about the trio making the jump to the AHL before eventually making the NHL.

“I’ve never had a general manager say they left a player in the minor leagues too long,” Flynn told the newspaper. “Go to the AHL, grow and mature. The American League is a great stepping stone. What’s wrong with first going in there and trying to dominate that league?”
Carolina's AHL affiliate is the Charlotte Checkers - who will join the AHL's Eastern Conference this season - while their ECHL affiliate is the Florida Everblades.

The three weren't the only current, former or future Sea Dogs to take part in NHL development camps over the past few weeks (and weeks ahead). Here's a full list of players who have worn a Dogs jersey at some point:

Arizona CoyotesAdam Marsh
Boston BruinsCedric Pare
Boston BruinsJakub Zboril
Calgary FlamesSamuel Dove-McFalls
Carolina HurricanesCallum Booth
Carolina HurricanesJulien Gauthier
Carolina HurricanesSpencer Smallman
Chicago BlackhawksMatthew Highmore*
Chicago BlackhawksNathan Noel*
Los Angeles KingsBokondji Imama
Montreal CanadiensSimon Bourque
Ottawa SenatorsThomas Chabot
Pittsburgh PenguinsAlex D'Orio
Tampa Bay LightningMathieu Joseph
Winnipeg JetsLuke Green

Sea Dogs draft picks Ostap Safin (Edmonton Oilers), Ben Mirageas (New York Islanders), Morgan Barron (New York Rangers), Marc McLaughlin (Montreal Canadiens) and Shane Bowers (Ottawa Senators) also attended camps.

*Development camp rosters have not been released yet, but presumably these players will be invited

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