Badgers in the NHL: 27 former players participating in NHL training camps

Former Badger Ben Street is fighting for a roster spot with the Calgary Flames. - Derek Leung

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.

Badgers on NHL training camp rosters
Player Position Team
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
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