Training camp and preseason preparation for the 102nd season of the NHL began last week, with nearly a dozen former MI-HS players vying for roster spots on 10 of the 31 teams in the league.
Captain of the New Jersey Devils, Andy Greene (Trenton, 2000) is the most seasoned of the bunch as he enters his 14th year in the league. The former captain of the Trojans, Greene has played 870 regular-season games entering the 19-20 campaign.
A pair of prep alumni will also be sporting letters this fall for the Detroit Red Wings. Justin Abdelkader (Mona Shores, 2005) is a part of the Wings’ leadership group for a fourth season, and he’ll be joined by fellow west-sider Luke Glendening (East Grand Rapids, 2007) who will wear an “A” for the first time in his career.
Mackenzie MacEachern (Brother Rice, 2012) hopes to earn a full-time spot this season after playing in 29 games last season for the defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues. No longer considered rookie status, the 25-year-old scored three goals and five points in a limited role during the ‘18-19 campaign.
Nolan Valleau (Novi, 2012) is slated to make his NHL debut this preseason with the Tampa Bay Lightning. The 26-year-old defender has played more than 200 games between the AHL and ECHL and will be in the thick of things at the Lightning’s training camp.
Edmonton’s sixth round pick in 2015, Cooper Marody (Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, 2013) made his debut last fall and spent the majority of 18-19 with the Oilers’ AHL affiliate Bakersfield Condors. The Brighton native will look to play a more impactful role during his sophomore season with the organization.
Other MI-HS alumni include Winnipeg Jets’ starting goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (Walled Lake Northern, 2011) as well as Greg Pateryn (Brother Rice, 2007) who enters his fourth season in the league and second with the Minnesota Wild. Jeff Petry (Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, 2005) will begin his fifth season with the Montreal Canadiens having played in 195 consecutive games; that is the 19th longest active streak in the NHL. Tanner Kero (Hancock, 2009) last appeared in the NHL in November 2017, but a change in scenery from the Vancouver Canucks’ AHL affiliate to the Stars’ affiliate may open up some new opportunities for the 27-year-old. Former captain of the 2019 AHL Calder Cup champion Charlotte Checkers, Patrick Brown (Cranbrook, 2010) moves back to the Midwest to play for the Vegas Golden Knights’ affiliate Chicago Wolves.
Teams will compete in nine preseason games before rosters are finalized and the regular season begins on Wednesday, October 2nd.
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