July 8, 2013
East Lansing, Mich. - - Eight Spartan players are participating in NHL development camps during these first weeks in July. Both drafted players and free-agent prospects can participate in these camps, providing the NHL teams a chance to survey player skills, abilities, and growth.
Each NHL team runs its own development camp during the summer months, which includes their drafted prospects as well as a handful of players who are invited as guests. NCAA players must finance these camps on their own to retain their collegiate eligibility.
Several camps started over the last few days. MSU's five drafted players are all participating in their drafting team's camps - Defenseman RJ Boyd, is currently in south Florida at the Panthers' development camp, which runs July 8-12. Boyd was selected in the seventh round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.
MSU's other four draft picks all came in the 2012 draft. Rhett Holland has been cleared to participate in the Phoenix Coyotes camp from July 9-11. Holland will apply for a medical redshirt after missing most of the 2012-13 season with an injury and subsequent surgery; he was a fourth-round pick of the Coyotes last summer.
Forward Matt DeBlouw, a seventh-round selection of Calgary, will participate in the Flames camp from July 10-16. John Draeger, drafted by his hometown Minnesota Wild, is at their camp at the Xcel Energy Center July 9-14. As the host venue for the inaugural Big Ten Hockey Championship in 2014, the camp gives Draeger some experience on the sheet prior to the upcoming season in addition to some work within his drafting team's organization.
Taken just one pick prior to Draeger in the third round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft was incoming freshman Mackenzie MacEachern, who went to the St. Louis Blues. MacEachern was drafted after his senior year at Birmingham-Brother Rice high school, and spent this past season with the Chicago Steel of the USHL.
Three MSU free agents were invited to camps - Jake Chelios is currently in Chicago at the Blackhawks camp, while brother, Dean, was invited to the Detroit Red Wings camp. Rising sophomore Travis Walsh is in camp with the Washington Capitals.