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Stop getting so excited over NHL rookie camps

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The start of the NHL season is almost here, but let's not get crazy about rookie reports.

Johnny Gaudreau is the hot topic in rookie camp.
Johnny Gaudreau is the hot topic in rookie camp.
Rich Lam

We're all jonesin' for hockey, but how about we all take a deep breath when it comes to rookie camp?

It's very easy to get wrapped up in the reports from places like London, Penticton, Traverse City, and Nashville when we're all eager to get to the start of the season. It's hard to not think big when you're a Winnipeg Jets fan and see glowing stuff about the play of Nikolaj Ehlers. Same can be said of Calgary Flames fans for Johnny Gaudreau or Edmonton Oilers fans and Leon Draisaitl.

When you've got shiny new first-round draft picks and other top prospects that haven't played professional hockey yet, you want to see what they can do and rookie camp fills that void. Also, let's face it, when you see moves like Gaudreau's against Winnipeg at the Young Stars Tournament - it's hard not to marvel.

Even with great highlights like these to look at, consider the competition.

No, it's not happening against bad players - just other players in the same spot they are in their careers. Hell, this isn't even quite like the NBA Summer League where the running phrase is "You find out who can't play, not who can."

After all, would you believe Buffalo Sabres hot prospect defenseman Nikita Zadorov could be a bust because, as Paul Hamilton at WGR noted, he was benched against the Dallas Stars in Traverse City? Of course not. Would you think recent New York Rangers signing Kevin Hayes wasn't any good because he had a bad first game? No way.

There's going to be plenty of time for analysis of young players. The guys that stick around deeper into camp will be the ones to watch. That means guys like Draisaitl, Gaudreau, and Tampa Bay Lightning stud prospect Jonathan Drouin will wind up in the discussion a lot more often before the start of the regular season.

But for now, let's put the hot takes away because we're going to need them to keep warm in winter.