Four Silvertips and alums from last year’s Western Conference champion team participated in prospects tournaments prior to National Hockey League training camps this week.
Tips captain Connor Dewar, alternate captains Riley Sutter and Wyatte Wylie, and Jake Christiansen are expected to participate in upcoming NHL training camps. The Tips have players in three of the NHL’s four divisions, with Sutter and Pilon in Washington, Dewar in Minnesota, Wylie and Hart in Philadelphia, and Christiansen in Calgary.
Riley Sutter, a right wing and third round draft pick by the Washington Capitals in 2018, had five points (2g, 3a) as the Caps prospects closed the Prospects Showcase with an 8-5 win over the Nashville Predators prospects on Tuesday, Sept 11. He also added a goal to a 5-0 shutout of the Tampa Bay Lightning prospects the day before. Drafted this summer, Sutter is on the younger end of the Caps prospects, and he’s learned a lot from players who have seen a few training camps and have professional experience.
“I’ve taken away a lot of things from camp, just being able to be here with guys who have played pro and seeing how fast the pace is, how big and strong the guys are,” Sutter told Caps media.
Sutter is joined at Caps training camp by 2018 Tips playoff points leader and 2016 third round Caps draft pick Garrett Pilon. The final game of the Prospect Showcase was opened by a Tips connection as Pilon put the Caps prospects on the board, assisted by Sutter. Sutter’s second goal of the game was off a rebound of a Pilon shot.
“It’s just lots of fun being able to play with some familiar faces like Garrett and some new guys too,” Sutter said. “I think we did really well this weekend and I’m looking forward to next week.”
A little further north, the Flyers prospects have won’t be playing in a rookie tournament but Wyatte Wylie, an Everett native defenseman and fifth round pick by Philadelphia in 2018, and Tips goalie alum Carter Hart hit the ice for Rookie Camp on Tuesday.
Hart, the Silvertips all-time leader in wins and shutouts, will make his professional debut this season, most likely with the Flyers AHL affiliate, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, after an all-star career in Everett.
“I’m entering my first hockey and I think it’s a lot different,” Hart said. “Where the last few camps I’ve been here just to get to know the guys, get to know the game, and the pro mindset and the level this game is played at in the American League level and the NHL level.”
The Flyers goaltending pool includes NHL vets Brian Elliot and Michael Neuvirth, with Alex Lyon and Anthony Stolarz in the pipeline, but Hart is ready to fight for a spot in the NHL.
The Flyers Prospects game was tonight. Both Hart and Wyatte Wylie suited up (fifth round draft pick of the Flyers, and making headlines as an Everett born and trained product to be drafted by an NHL team). Philadelphia defeated the New York Islanders, 6-3.
In the Western conference, Tips captain and 2018 third round Wild draft pick Connor Dewar just wrapped up play in the Traverse City prospects tournament, where the Wild prospects went 3-1 to come in third place out of the eight teams participating.
Tips defenseman Jake Christiansen went undrafted but received an invite to Calgary Flames camp, where he scored a big breakaway goal in a 7-3 win over the rival Oilers prospects.
“Getting to wear that flaming C was surreal and everything I’ve imagined,” Christiansen told Flames media. “The last few days have been really good for me as development and I’ve learned so much for the last few days.”
Christiansen is hoping to use everything he learns from Flames coaches and fellow prospects to improve his game when he returns to Everett this season, and he’s hoping that return isn’t too soon.
“I’ve just been trying to act like a sponge and take everything in that I can,” Christiansen said. “The longer I stay up here the more I develop because I’ve got top class information from the guys up here. So I’m just trying to prove myself and who I am as a player day in and day out.”
To note: the Dallas Stars have not released their training camp roster yet, but be on the lookout as well for Ondrej Vala, entering his 20-year old season and eligible to turn pro this year.
Aged out of the program after last season, but now with pro contracts in hand: Kevin Davis (Colorado), Matt Fonteyne (San Jose), Patrick Bajkov (Florida).