Exodus to NHL begins
NORTH BAY, Ont. — Five members of the Ontario Hockey League’s North Bay Battalion were headed to National Hockey League rookie camps Tuesday, with two to follow Wednesday and another Saturday.
Goaltender Dom DiVincentiis was on his way to join the Winnipeg Jets, while defenceman Tnias Mathurin headed to the Detroit Red Wings, left winger Justin Ertel to the Dallas Stars, centre Dalyn Wakely to the Vancouver Canucks and right winger Anthony Romani to the Carolina Hurricanes.
Leaving Wednesday are centre Liam Arnsby and goaltender Charlie Robertson, both to the Florida Panthers, while defenceman Ty Nelson is ticketed for the Seattle Kraken on Saturday.
Nelson, a third-round choice in the 2022 NHL Draft, and DiVincentiis, a seventh-rounder, have been signed by their respective clubs. Mathurin and Arnsby are draftees, while the others are free agents.
“Those guys are doing exactly what they would have done if they were drafted,” Battalion general manager Adam Dennis has noted.
“They’re at an NHL camp. They’re getting that valuable experience. They’re working on themselves and they’re going to get some great feedback when it’s all said and done, so I think it’s just part of it. It goes to show that there’s lots of scouts that come to our building and watch games.
“There are a lot of different ways that you can make it to the NHL, and free agency’s one of the bigger ones that I know that we’ve talked about in the past. I think it’s great that they can get there.
“When you go there, you get to size yourself up against some other guys that were maybe picks or signed or different things like that, so it is a nice measuring stick for those guys to go in and see how they line up.”
With the Battalion enjoying a day off Monday, most of those destined for NHL camps left North Bay for home immediately after a 2-1 victory via shootout Sunday over the Owen Sound Attack in exhibition action. Nelson scored the only goal of the shootout.