The Future

Playing in the NHL runs in the family for Lucas Johansen

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. — Lucas Johansen was just 12 years old when his older brother was drafted. He remembers looking over at his parents and noticing how sweaty their palms were. As Ryan Johansen experienced just about every emotion as he waited for his name to be called, Lucas focused on the bright lights at Staples Center instead of the tension next to him.

Ryan’s stress was short-lived, the fourth overall pick to the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2010 NHL draft. When that pick was about to be announced at this summer’s NHL draft in Buffalo, Lucas was the one anxiously waiting, and Ryan decided to remind Lucas what was at stake.

“I kept saying, ‘As long as you don’t go top three, I’m fine,’ ” Ryan said earlier this summer. “I need to be able to keep those bragging rights.”

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Brothers Nick Schmaltz, Jordan Schmaltz face off

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — Chicago Blackhawks forward prospect Nick Schmaltz finally had an opportunity to go head-to-head against the one player he idolized as a teenager during the Traverse City prospects tournament at Centre Ice Arena this week.

In the end, St. Louis Blues defense prospect Jordan Schmaltz got the best of his little brother with a goal, an assist, two shots on goal and a plus-2 rating in a 3-2 victory on Friday. Nick Schmaltz had no points and two shots on goal.

“It was the first time we ever played against each other, so it was fun watching him play; he had a great game,” said Nick (6-foot, 179 pounds). “Hopefully, one day we’ll get a regular-season NHL game in against each other.”

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Kerby Rychel excited by second chance with Maple Leafs

Kerby Rychel is like most Maple Leafs prospects — polite and very anxious to earn a spot on a Toronto roster continuing a trend from last season where young players will be thrust into the NHL spotlight to see if they belong.

Rychel, though, is going through the “young gun” phase of his career for a second time, as he joins dozens of regulars and prospects in daily workouts this week at the MasterCard Centre, ahead of the opening of training camp later this month.

The 21-year-old is coming off a trying 2015-16 with Columbus, where his career failed to launch, prompting a trade request and a silver lining in a Calder Cup championship with the Lake Erie Monsters.

“They (Leafs) told me to come to camp in great shape and just be ready to play,” said Rychel, who was dealt to Toronto on June 25 for defenceman Scott Harrington and a conditional draft pick in 2017 (a fifth-rounder if Rychel is placed on waivers).

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Christian Dvorak convinced he’s ready for NHL

TORONTO — Arizona Coyotes prospect Christian Dvorak is convinced he’s ready for the NHL.

“I think so,” said Dvorak, a center who attended the NHLPA Rookie Showcase on Aug. 29. “Obviously it’s up to the team. But I’m going to try my best, give my best effort in training camp, and I’m looking forward to the opportunity.”

Dvorak, 20, had 93 goals and 230 points in 125 games with London of the Ontario Hockey League over the past two seasons. A left wing, Dvorak was selected by the Coyotes in the second round (No. 58) of the 2014 NHL Draft. He had a little taste of professional hockey in 2015, playing in two regular-season games and five playoff games with Portland of the American Hockey League. Dvorak had a goal and an assist in the two regular-season games and one assist in the five playoff games with Portland.

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Mac Carruth put his his career back on track by living in the moment

Mac Carruth’s career was heading in the wrong direction.

Carruth had played in more ECHL games than AHL games two years after signing his entry-level contract with the Chicago Blackhawks. His ECHL numbers weren’t great. He was also thought to be immature and a hothead. When his NHL deal came up after the 2014-15 season, the Blackhawks didn’t offer him a new one. His best bet was an AHL/ECHL contract with the Rockford IceHogs and Indy Fuel.

That could have been the last you heard of Carruth. Plenty of NHL-drafted goalies never find their footing in professional hockey and end up bouncing around lower leagues or get out of the game all together.

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Cal and Nolan Foote knew it was inevitable. Reach a certain level as hockey players and the questions and comparisons would follow.

Questions about following in their dad’s footsteps and making their own name, and comparisons to how he played and what he accomplished at a similar age.

It’s inescapable when dad played 19 seasons in the National Hockey League, won two Stanley Cups with the Colorado Avalanche, represented Canada five times internationally, won the 2004 World Cup of Hockey, and won a gold medal at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games.

Instead of distancing themselves from dad Adam’s path, Cal and Nolan have embraced the same road. Step one has already been taken: the dual citizens – both were born in Englewood, Colo. – accepted invitations to Hockey Canada’s National Teams’ Summer Showcase. Cal, a defenceman, is the youngest player at Canada’s National Junior Team Sport Chek Summer Development Camp, while Nolan, a forward, is attending Canada’s national under-17 development camp.

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JT Compher takes next step to achieve goal of winning Stanley Cup

When the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2010, Northbrook native JT Compher had planned to go to the celebratory parade with his buddies. But on that day, Compher told them he couldn’t go because he had a hockey workout.

Why would he skip such a historic event? His friends tell the story again and again, and Compher’s response was something like this, according to his mother Valerie: “I don’t want to celebrate them winning the Stanley Cup. I want to win my own.”

JT Compher, a 5-11, 195-pound forward, signed with the Colorado Avalanche this spring, taking a big step toward that climb toward his own Cup.

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Kings sign G Jack Campbell, re-sign Nic Dowd, Derek Forbort

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — The Los Angeles Kings have signed goalie Jack Campbell and re-signed center Nic Dowd and defenseman Derek Forbort.

The Kings announced the moves Monday.

Los Angeles traded defenseman Nick Ebert to Dallas last month for Campbell, the 11th overall pick in the 2010 draft. Campbell played just one NHL game for the Stars in October 2013, spending most of his career in the AHL.

Goalie Jeff Zatkoff signed with the Kings last week to compete for the backup job behind Jonathan Quick.

Dowd and Forbort were restricted free agents who made their NHL debuts last season. Dowd played five games for the Kings, while Forbort scored two points in 14 games.

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J.T. Compher is shooting to make the Colorado Avalanche this season

J.T. Compher hasn’t played a game for the Avalanche organization, yet he already is part of the ongoing evaluation of the controversial 2015 trade that sent Ryan O’Reilly and Jamie McGinn from Colorado to Buffalo.

With that comes some pressure to avoid having the deal go down as a disaster for the Avalanche.

“That’s nothing I can control,” Compher, 21, said last week at the Avalanche’s development camp. “I want to do whatever I can do to help win hockey games. That’s my main goal, to have a great summer and be ready for training camp. For me, that’s the focus. There’s nothing else I feel a part of. Not the trade. That’s not in there at all.”

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Prospects Schmaltz, Hartman see opportunities after Blackhawks’ offseason moves

Following a national championship at North Dakota in his sophomore season, 20-year-old Nick Schmaltz opted to turn professional over returning to college for his junior year.

Signed last month to an entry-level contract, the 2014 first-round pick now turns his attention to trying to make the Chicago Blackhawks — a team that traded Teuvo Teravainen this spring — next season.

When he signed, it was thought that Schmaltz could perhaps be the replacement for Teravainen — a tall order right off the bat given Teravainen had 13 goals and 35 assists in his first full season in Chicago.

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