NHL training camps are opening up Thursday morning, and 27 former Wisconsin players are on training camp rosters. The Minnesota Wild and Columbus Blue Jackets are the two most popular destinations, with each team rostering three former Badgers.
While 27 players have been invited, only 26 are actually in camp, as Derek Stepan did not report to camp as his contract dispute with the New York Rangers continues. We chronicled the issues Stepan is having as a restricted free agent earlier this week.
16 of the 27 players are forwards, while 10 are defensemen and Brian Elliott is the only goaltender in an NHL camp this season. 26 of the 27 players played at least one season under current Wisconsin head coach Mike Eaves, with the only exception being Dany Heatley, who played two seasons under former head coach Jeff Sauer from 1999-2001.
There are two players that played at Wisconsin last season in NHL training camps this fall. Brendan Woods is in camp with the Carolina Hurricanes, and John Ramage is in camp with the Calgary Flames.
One notable name not in camp right now is former Edmonton Oilers and Minnesota Wild defenseman Tom Gilbert. There were rumors Gilbert may play in Europe this season, but Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun spoke to his agent, Justin Duberman, who says those rumors are totally false, and that he will play in the NHL this season.
Unlike last off-season when there was plenty of roster turnover with former Badgers, this year was much more quiet on that front. A few notable names that have changed places include Jamie McBain being traded from Carolina to the Buffalo Sabres, and Brad Winchester signing with the Chicago Blackhawks.
While many players are locks to make NHL rosters, plenty of others are in position battles. Some interesting players to watch this fall will be Jack Skille and Cody Goloubef in Columbus. Both players signed with the Blue Jackets on two-way deals, and aren't guaranteed roster spots.
Jake Dowell in Minnesota and Ben Street in Calgary are two other players to keep an eye on. Both are fighting for fourth-line center roles. Dowell is on a one-way contract, while Street is on a two-way. Based on his contract, Dowell looks like the better bet to make the Wild roster, but Minnesota has plenty of competition for playing time.
|John Mitchell||F||Anaheim Ducks|
|Jamie McBain||D||Buffalo Sabres|
|Brendan Woods||F||Carolina Hurricanes|
|Ben Street||F||Calgary Flames|
|John Ramage||D||Calgary Flames|
|Brad Winchester||F||Chicago Blackhawks|
|Andrew Joudrey||F||Columbus Blue Jackets|
|Jack Skille||F||Columbus Blue Jackets|
|Cody Goloubef||D||Columbus Blue Jackets|
|Brendan Smith||D||Detroit Red Wings|
|Justin Schultz||D||Edmonton Oilers|
|Matt Ford||D||Edmonton Oilers|
|Ryan Suter||D||Minnesota Wild|
|Jake Dowell||F||Minnesota Wild|
|Dany Heatley||F||Minnesota Wild|
|Davis Drewiske||D||Montreal Canadiens|
|Rene Bourque||F||Montreal Canadiens|
|Craig Smith||F||Nashville Predators|
|Joe Piskula||D||Nashville Predators|
|Jason Clark||F||New York Islanders|
|Ryan McDonagh||D||New York Rangers|
|Derek Stepan**||F||New York Rangers|
|Kyle Turris||F||Ottawa Senators|
|Joe Pavelski||F||San Jose Sharks|
|Adam Burish||F||San Jose Sharks|
|Brian Elliott||G||St. Louis Blues|
|Jake Gardiner||D||Toronto Maple Leafs|