Another pair of NHL draftees from the Kootenay Ice are off to their respective development camps this week.
Captain Sam Reinhart, a 2014 second-overall selection of the Buffalo Sabres, joined his NHL squad on Monday as it opened development camp at the First Niagara Centre.
Defenceman Tanner Faith, a 2014 fifth-round selection of the Minnesota Wild, was named to the team’s roster for its development camp, which begins July 9 at the Xcel Energy Centre.
Reinhart, a 19-year-old native of North Vancouver, skated in nine games with the Sabres at the start of the 2014-15 season before being returned to the Ice.
After suiting up for 47 games with the the Ice, tallying 19 goals and 65 points, the 6-foot-1 pivot was re-assigned to the American League’s Rochester Americans, where he saw three games of action and registered three assists.
“I was excited for that opportunity [to play in Rochester],” Reinhart said at a Sabres press conference on Monday. “It allowed me to go into the off-season knowing what the pro game was like. Obviously a little different at the NHL level, but with that being said, a lot different than the junior level as well. It was a step up.
“I had taken some away from my game on-ice through the year [in major junior] but I was preparing for another chance professionally. It was motivating to get that opportunity. It made me confident going into the off-season as well.”
Reinhart remains eligible to return to major junior for the 2015-16 season, but he is expected to turn pro, whether that be as a full-time member of the Sabres or on the farm with the Americans.
Sabres development camp runs July 6 to 12.
As for Faith, the 19-year-old native of Terrace suffered through a second consecutive injury-plagued campaign with the Ice.
A shoulder injury shorted the defenceman’s 2013-14 WHL season to only 10 games. In 2014-15, a different shoulder injury cut his season to 19 games.
The 6-foot-3, 216-pound blue-liner remains eligible to return to major junior, but should he sign a professional contract with the Wild, he is eligible to play professionally, whether that be at the NHL, AHL or ECHL level.
Wild development camps from July 9 to 14.
Reinhart and Faith are the fifth and sixth Ice players to venture off to NHL development camps this week. Tim Bozon (Montreal Canadiens), Jaedon Descheneau (St. Louis Blues), Luke Philp (Philadelphia Flyers) and Rinat Valiev (Toronto Maple Leafs) were named to development camp rosters last week.
Notes: Former Kootenay Ice defenceman Landon Cross has committed to the University of Regina. The 21-year-old rearguard left the Ice prior to the 2014-15 season, joining the Steinbach Pistons of the Manitoba Junior ‘A’ Hockey League. He suited up in 54 games (1G, 9A, 10pts) with the Ice during the 2013-14 season after being acquired from the Kamloops Blazers as a part of the deal that brought Tim Bozon to Cranbrook. In 188 career WHL games with the Blazers and Ice, Cross tallied four goals and 33 points.