NHL camps beckon for Royals' forwards
Free agents Magee, Carroll to join Hodges, Nelson at prospect camps
By Cleve Dheensaw, Times Colonist
June 26, 2012
Photograph by: Adrian Lam, Times Colonist , Times Colonist
Hockey careers don't begin or end on draft day.
A couple of undrafted Victoria Royals forwards found that out Monday when they were invited to the development camps of their hometown NHL teams - Brandon Magee with the Edmonton Oilers and Austin Carroll with the Phoenix Coyotes.
They will join Royals forwards Steven Hodges, selected 84th overall in the third round of the NHL draft Saturday by the Florida Panthers, and Logan Nelson, taken 133rd overall in the fifth round by the Buffalo Sabres, in NHL development camps this summer.
"I'm thankful to get the opportunity," said Magee, who grew up playing hockey at the Southside Athletic Club in Edmonton, and who begins skating Wednesday in the Oilers camp.
"I monitored the draft on Saturday but it didn't happen for me and my name didn't come up. But you keep moving forward and focusing on the long run. A lot of undrafted players have made the NHL as free agents."
The future didn't take long in knocking.
"About a half-hour after the draft, I got the call from the Oilers," said the Alberta capital native.
"That's the first team I ever cheered for. You gotta love the Oil."
Magee, a five-foot-eight bundle of energy, had 23 goals and 47 points in 65 games last season for the Royals but missed the playoffs with a leg injury.
Carroll is a Canadian raised in Scottsdale, Arizona, and he had his moments last season in Victoria as a WHL rookie who played the season before in the BCHL as a fourth-liner for the Coquitlam Express. He used his six-foot-four, 205-pound frame to good advantage and played with a physical edge as a role forward while notching eight goals and 20 points in 62 regular-season games and two goals in four playoff games.
The Coyotes, from his adopted home state, were quick to pounce following the draft and invited the 18-year-old as a free agent to their development camp. It runs today through Friday in Scottsdale at the Ice Den, the rink in which Carroll grew up playing hockey after the family moved to the U.S. desert from Calgary when he was six years old.
Meanwhile, Nelson joins former Royals forward Kevin Sundher in the Sabres development camp July 8-14, while Hodges will skate in the Florida development camp
The Panthers didn't have a second-round draft pick, so Hodges was their second overall selection this year and their first forward chosen after first-rounder and blue-liner Michael Matheson. They like the upside of the darting-quick skater from Delta, who possess an understated but firm self-assurance.
"Steven [Hodges] is a player that comes to play," Florida's director of scouting Scott Luce told Glenn Odebralski of FloridaPanthers.com. "Every shift he competes. He's a mid-size guy that has skill both with the puck and without the puck. We like his cerebral play. He is a talented kid. He's a guy that might not have had a lot of exposure but this was his range [to be selected in the draft]."
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