As the NHL officially opens practice this week, seven players out of Atlantic Hockey have made their way onto training camp rosters.
Canisius has two players on NHL camp rosters -- defenseman Chris Rumble with Ottawa and goaltender Keegan Asmundson with Buffalo. Rumble already signed an ECHL deal with Ottawa affiliate Evansville but his performance at Sens rookie camp earned him a chance to move up in the organization. Look for Rumble to contend for a spot with Binghamton in the AHL.
Asmundson is still a free agent, on a professional tryout contract with the Sabres that expires on Oct. 1. His performance during the Prospects Challenge earned him a spot at big kids training camp. Organizational depth at goalie (along with goaltender health) has been a problem for the Sabres. While pre-camp odds would have Asmundson in the ECHL to start the season, a strong camp could boost his chances of inching up the roster food chain. Stranger things have happened, particularly when it comes to netminders.
Both Rumble and Asmundson had a year of collegiate eligibility remaining, but were academic seniors.
"It's a great thing because both guys left here with a degree and both guys could have come back," Canisius coach Dave Smith said. "They both had a dream of playing in the National Hockey League and one of the steps is getting to an NHL camp. To see them accomplish so many of their goals in a short time is good."
It's also good to see the the number of Atlantic Hockey alums on NHL training camp rosters.
"Young players are now looking at Atlantic Hockey as a way to achieve their goals in terms of playing pro," Smith said. "Coaches around the league are out there in full force not only identifying talent but getting them onto our campuses. Really good players don't hide and to play in Atlantic Hockey and get noticed by NHL teams is happening regularly now. We want more elite young players to select and choose our teams and our league."
RIT alum Matt Garbowsky is also at Sabres camp. The forward signed an entry-level deal with the organization after the Tigers were eliminated from the NCAA tournament. Look for him to start in familiar stomping grounds -- back in Rochester with the Amerks.
Another Tiger alum, Chris Tanev, returns to Vancouver where he spent the last two seasons as a defenseman for the Canucks. Last season he had a career-best 20 points (two goals, 18 assists) in 70 games.
From Mercyhurst, Dan O'Donoghue will be with the Arizona Coyotes after splitting last year between ECHL Gwinnett and AHL Portland.
Former Lakers' forward Matthew Zay begins his first full pro season at Ottawa camp. He played in eight games with the Binghamton Senators at the end of last season and signed an AHL contract with the team in May.
Former Holy Cross goalie Matt Ginn will be in camp with Boston after playing for the Bruins in the Prospects Challenge in Buffalo last week.