The younger players will get a four-day jump on the veterans Saturday when the Phoenix Coyotes open their rookie training camp in Glendale, Ariz.

The Coyotes, entering their third season as NHL parent of the Portland Pirates, will open their main training camp Wednesday with medical examinations and fitness testing.

Not all of the 36 players assigned to Phoenix’s rookie camp are first-year pros; 17 of them logged time with the Pirates last season.

“The biggest reason to get the young guys there early is to put them through the paces to get ready for main camp,” said Portland Coach Ray Edwards, in Arizona. “It gives them a couple of days to get used to the hotel, to get on the ice and get used to their surroundings, and everything else.”

The rookie camp will include first-round draft choices Max Domi (2013), Henrik Samuelsson (2012), Connor Murphy (2011), Brandon Gormley (2010) and Mark Visentin (2010). In addition, top prospects, including Chris Brown, Lucas Lessio and 2011 Hobey Baker award winner Andy Miele, will participate.

It is unusual for a player like Miele, who is entering his third professional season, to be included on a rookie camp roster.

“He asked to come to the rookie camp to get himself ready to go,” Edwards said.

Most of the players who will participate during the four-day training session also attended the Coyotes’ development camp held in July.

“The one reason we have development camp is just to check up on how the training’s going,” Edwards said. “If there were areas at that point during the summer that needed to be tweaked, that’s when we say ‘hey, let’s get going here.’ “

The rookie camp will enable the Coyotes’ coaching staff to gauge each player’s progress during the past two months.

“Some guys maybe needed to get their body fat down or some guys needed to get a little stronger or some guys needed to get a little faster,” Edwards said. “Whatever it was, we’ll be able to take a look when we get to camp.”

The first full on-ice practice session at the Coyotes’ main camp will be Thursday.

The Pirates open camp Sept. 23 at the MHG Center in Saco.

Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: PaulBetitPPH


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