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Coyotes finish rookie camp in Vegas, training camp up next

Tucson Roadrunners head coach Jay Varady speaks to participants of the Arizona Coyotes’ rookie camp at the Ice Den in Scottsdale, Ariz. on Sept. 7, 2018. (Matt Layman/Arizona Sports)

The Arizona Coyotes finished their rookie camp on Tuesday by playing the final of three scheduled games in the inaugural Vegas Rookie Faceoff.

The schedule included a practice in Scottsdale on Friday, a game against the Sharks in Vegas on Saturday, a game against the Kings on Sunday, a practice day on Monday and the finale against the Ducks on Tuesday. Arizona lost its first and third games in the tournament.

As reported on the team website by Dave Vest, the goal-scorers in the rookie tournament were Kyle Capobianco (2), Jens Looke (2), Jeremy McKenna (2), Brayden Burke and Tyler Steenbergen. Capobianco, a left-shot defenseman, played one game at the NHL level for the Coyotes in 2017-18 and could be a candidate for playing time there again this year.

This year’s camp was led by the coaching staff of the Coyotes’ AHL affiliate, the Tucson Roadrunners. That included head coach Jay Varady assistant coach Steve Potvin.

“I think this is a great experience,” Potvin said Monday. “Vegas coming in, having the success they had and the fans just being supportive of hockey in general, and we’re seeing it here.”

The camp is, in part, a chance for the players to get to know one another and establish identity. Some of them will be playing together again soon in Tucson.

“[The prospects] have to play out in front of all of those people. I think obviously you’re going to have some nerves, but hey, this is what you’re going to encounter on a daily basis,” Potvin said, noting that much of the audience in Vegas includes coaches, scouts and managers. “You’re going to be judged pretty well on everything you do.”

For the organization, the rookie camp gives the organization yet another look at what they have in their prospects.

“It’s a good chance to showcase yourself and it’s a good chance for us on the other hand to get a proper assessment of these players and understand where they need to go, and what path we see them going to,” Potvin said. “And we’re going guide them and try to manage our assets as best we can to be the best that they can be. And hopefully it translates into an NHL career.”

HERE COMES TRAINING CAMP

While much — if not all — of the NHL Coyotes are already participating in informal skates at the Scottsdale Ice Den, the team officially reports for training camp on Thursday.

The players will undergo medical and fitness testing — as well as some time with the media — before starting practices on Friday at Gila River Arena at 9 a.m. Training camp practices at the arena are free and open to the public.

Throughout the course of training camp, the Coyotes will play six preseason games, two of which are at home (Sept. 18 vs. LAK, Sept. 22 vs. ANA).

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