Kelowna Rockets forwards Kyle Topping and Leif Mattson have been added to the Carolina Hurricanes roster for the NHL Prospects Showcase from Sept. 7-10 in Nashville.
Topping led the Rockets in assists and points last season. He had 23 goals and 46 helpers for 69 points in 68 games.
“It’s super exciting,” said Topping, a 19-year-old from Salt Spring Island. “Anytime that you get the chance to go to a tournament like that, it’s an honour. It’s going to be fun going with Leif; it will be a good experience for both of us.”
Mattson, 20, set career highs in assists and points last season while tying for second in team scoring.
The Thompson, Man., native had 22 goals and 41 assists in 63 games played. He said he just needs to play his game in Nashville.
“It’s an experience that I’ll cherish, for sure,” said Mattson. “I just need to go in show them what I can do. It’s pretty cool having both Kyle and I go together.”
Mattson and Topping went undrafted in the NHL.
Carolina will play its first game of the showcase against the Washington Capitals on Sept. 7 at 2 p.m. PT. There is a chance that the duo will face Rockets teammate Nolan Foote when the Hurricanes take on the Tampa Bay Lightning prospects on Sept. 8.
The team will complete the event with a showdown against the host Predators on Sept. 10.
All six of the showcase's games will be broadcast live on NashvillePredators.com.
A goalie to look up to
The Rockets rookies wrap up their initiation camp today at Prospera Place as regulars arrive to start training camp.
Among the young blood to turn some heads — and by that we mean upward — is six-foot-three (and a half) goalie Jari Kykkanen.
He’s only 15 years old.
The Rockets chose him in the sixth round, 115th overall in this spring’s bantam draft.
Originally from Finland, his family moved to Lloydminster on the Saskatchewan-Alberta border.
“It’s really good,” he told Kelownarockets.com of his training camp. “I’m liking the group and the coaching staff is really good here.”
He said his size allows him to outwait the opposition more than a smaller goalie might.
It keeps him in his net longer, and gives shooters fewer openings.
“I don’t have to challenge as much as smaller goalies,” he said. “I can play more passive and cover the net more.”
He’d said Kelowna, the city, has him hooked. “It’s amazing.”