Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Wheat Kings' Trio Off to NHL Camps

Mark Stone
It'll be far from a sight-seeing tour for Mark Stone when he visits our nation's capital this week.

The Brandon Wheat Kings' forward leaves today for Ottawa, where he'll participate in the Senators' Prospect Camp and compete in a Rookie Tournament taking place in Oshawa.

Stone is hoping his time in Ottawa will be more than just a few days.

"If you can play in the National Hockey League as a 19-year old, that would be something special. My main goal is to try and make that hockey team, they're going young and looking towards the future," said Stone after Tuesday's Wheat Kings' practice, "It's pretty far-fetched right now but I feel I've worked very hard this season and I think they'll give me the opportunuty to prove myself."

Stone was a sixth round pick of the Sens in the 2010 draft and is coming off a monsterous season that saw him finish in a tie for third in the WHL scoring race with 106 points.

This trip to Ottawa will be his sixth since being drafted, and that comfort level is one of the keys this time around.

"I've been down there, I've been training with Matt Carkner, Chris Neil, Daniel Alfredsson, guys like that. You get to know them, and they're just normal people except they're professional athletes," said Stone, "They treat you with respect if you treat them with respect. Going in there, I'm just going to have the confidence to play my game and, hopefully, stick as long as I can."

Stone is taking a teammate with him to Ottawa this time around.

Jordan Fransoo
Jordan Fransoo is headed to his first NHL training camp after being a seventh round pick of the Senators last June.

"Stoner has been there for a year so I guess he knows the ropes a little bit," said Fransoo Tuesday, "He knows what to expect and I'm sure he'll fill me in."

Fransoo had six goals and 18 points in 63 games in his rookie season with the Wheat Kings last year.

The 6-foot-3, 190 pound Fransoo has some simple goals for Sens' Prospect Camp.

"Just as a young guy going in, I'm going to be looking up to all the other guys and seeing where they're at," said Fransoo, "I want to impress the staff as much as I can and do the best I can do there. At the same time, it gives me a measuring stick of wehere I want to be. I think that's a big benefit in having that advantage."

19-year old Michael Ferland is also off to NHL camp, heading to Calgary on Thursday.

Ferland was a Flames' fifth round pick in 2010 but didn't get a chance to participate in their fall camp a year ago because of a knee injury.

Cory Clouston instructs during this first 'official'
practice as Wheat Kings' head coach.
Chaff...F Jason Swyripa and F Bruno Mraz both practiced with the Wheat Kings on Tuesday after both missed the last couple of days of training camp with minor injuries...F Brenden Walker (head) and D Brodie Melnychuk (wrist) watched practice from the stands...Tuesday's session was the first practice under new Wheat Kings' head coach Cory Clouston.

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