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Guelph Storm training camp: A primer

A total of 49 players reported for fitness testing on Monday and hit the ice for the first time Tuesday
Guelph Storm head coach Chad Wiseman.

The Guelph Storm opened training camp Monday at the Sleeman Centre with 49 players reporting.

Twelve of the 49 were draft picks this year, so other than the four already signed, eight of them will almost certainly only be spending two days at camp.

Here's a breakdown:

Players in camp: 49 (25 forwards, 18 defencemen, six goaltenders). By birth year: 2003 (3), 2004 (7), 2005 (11), 2006 (16), 2007 (12).

Returning players: 15 (nine forwards, five defencemen and one goaltender).

Biggest player: Newcomer Vilmer Alriksson, 6'6", 215 lb.

Smallest player: Jimmy Sutherland, 5'8", 155 lb.

Key returnees: Boston Bruins pick Matt Poitras (95 points) and top goal scorers Max Namestnikov (39 goals) and Braeden Bowman (33 goals) up front; Michael Buchinger and overagers Brayden Hislop and Chandler Romeo on defence and second-year goaltender Brayden Gillespie.

Key newcomers: First round pick Quinn Beauchesne and imports Vilmer Alriksson (a Vancouver Canucks pick) and goaltender Damian Slavik. Overage blueliner Brayden Hislop. Daniel Fitzgerald joins as an assistant coach.

Key departures: Goaltender Patrick Leaver, forwards Cooper Walker and Ben McFarlane, defenceman Jake Murray, assistant coach Todd Miller.

Injury list: Third-year defenceman Cam Allen is having shoulder surgery this week and will be out until the new year.

The forwards: Guelph returns its top four point-getters from last season and the top three lines are pretty much set. There will be a battle for playing time on the fourth line and the team may look to add some forward depth.

Long shots Jordyn Ertel, who played two seasons in Oshawa, and free agent invitee Sam Glover (70 points with the Navan Grads midget team) will try and earn a spot up front.  Rookies Parker Snelgrove and Wil McFadden will compete for playing time on the fourth line to start. Highly-regarded Rylan Singh may have to split time in junior B.

Defence: Cam Allen's injury hurts, but the team picked up overager Hislop from North Bay in anticipation. Buchinger is an all-star contender and first overall pick Beauchesne gets rave reviews for his skating and skill from pretty much anyone that's seen him in action. The development of Rowan Topp and Zach Sandhu will be key.

Goaltending: Inexperience always brings question marks. Gillespie got into 25 games last season and the team thinks enough of him and import Slavak that they didn't bring overager Patrick Leaver to camp.

Keep an eye on: Forwards Jett Luchanko, Hunter McKenzie and Ryan McGuire are all poised for significant increases in offensive production.

Scrimmages: Twice daily, at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday. Open to the public.

Pre-season action: Six games: Friday in Mississauga, Sunday in Ayr against Mississauga, Sept. 8 at home against Niagara, Sept. 9 in Beamsville against Niagara, Sept. 22 at Brantford, Sept. 23 at home agianst Brantford.

Regular season: Sept. 29 at home against Owen Sound.


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Tony Saxon

About the Author: Tony Saxon

Tony Saxon has had a rich and varied 30 year career as a journalist, an award winning correspondent, columnist, reporter, feature writer and photographer.
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