Bright lights and the big city was what awaited the 29 WHL players who attended NHL Development Camps in the Metropolitan Division this week.
Led by 2017 second overall NHL Draft pick Nolan Patrick and 2017 WHL Playoffs MVP Mathew Barzal, 29 of the WHL’s best and brightest representing 15 WHL clubs gathered in Raliegh, N.C., Columbus, Newark, New York City, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C., to get a taste of the NHL experience.
Kieffer Bellows, one of the newest members of the Portland Winterhawks organization, joined Barzal and Regina Pats forward Dawson Leedahl as part of a contingent of 10 WHLers making the trip down to the New York area to participate in camps with the New York Rangers and New York Islanders.
Just a short drive away in Newark, Prince George Cougars right wing Nikita Popugaev and Swift Current Broncos defenceman Colby Sissons are set to take part in New Jersey Devils development camp, which begins on July 8.
While Patrick did attend Flyers camp, the Brandon Wheat Kings star forward was only able to participate in off-ice sessions due to a recent off-season surgery.
Of the 31 players attending development camps in the Metropolitan Division, four are participating on a special invitation from the club.
Those players are Kamloops Blazers centre Luc Smith — who attended Rangers camp — Lethbridge Hurricanes centre Jordy Bellerive and Seattle Thunderbirds left winger Nolan Volcan — both of whom were at Penguins camp — and Moose Jaw Warriors left winger Tanner Jeannot — who participated in Washington Capitals camp.
Carolina Hurricanes (5)
D Jake Bean (Calgary Hitmen)
C Morgan Geekie (Tri-City Americans)
RW Stelio Mattheos (Brandon Wheat Kings)
C Hudson Elynuik (Spokane Chiefs)
D Brendan De Jong (Portland Winterhawks)
Columbus Blue Jackets (1)
F Calvin Thurkauf (Kelowna Rockets)
New Jersey Devils (2)
RW Nikita Popugaev (Prince George Cougars)
D Colby Sissons (Swift Current Broncos)
New York Islanders (5)
C Mathew Barzal (Seattle Thunderbirds)
LW Kieffer Bellows (Portland Winterhawks)
C/LW Scott Eansor (Seattle Thunderbirds)
D David Quenneville (Medicine Hat Tigers)
D Parker Wotherspoon (Tri-City Americans)
New York Rangers (5)
LW Ryan Gropp (Seattle Thunderbirds)
LW Dawson Leedahl (Regina Pats)
RW Ty Ronning (Vancouver Giants)
C Luc Smith (Kamloops Blazers) (INV)
D Sergey Zborovskiy (Regina Pats)
Philadelphia Flyers (3)
C Nolan Patrick (Brandon Wheat Kings)
LW Carsen Twarynski (Kelowna Rockets)
G Carter Hart (Everett Silvertips)
Pittsburgh Penguins (2)
C Jordy Bellerive (Lethbridge Hurricanes) (INV)
LW Nolan Volcan (Seattle Thunderbirds) (INV)
Washington Capitals (6)
D Connor Hobbs (Regina Pats)
LW Tanner Jeannot (Moose Jaw Warriors) (INV)
D Lucas Johansen (Kelowna Rockets)
LW Beck Malenstyn (Calgary Hitmen)
RW Garrett Pilon (Kamloops Blazers)
D Dmitriy Zaitsev (Moose Jaw Warriors)