Training Camp Buzz: Hamilton to make Devils debut against Rangers

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Welcome to the 2021-22 NHL training camp buzz. With training camps open for all 32 teams, NHL.com has you covered with all the latest news.

 

New Jersey Devils

Dougie Hamilton will make his Devils debut in New Jersey’s preseason opener at home against the New York Rangers on Friday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, MSG+, MSG).

The defenseman, who signed a seven-year contract July 28, has been playing on the top pair with Ryan Graves during training camp. Graves, who also will make his preseason debut, was acquired July 15 in a trade with the Colorado Avalanche for forward Mikhail Maltsev and a second-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft (No. 61; defenseman Sean Behrens). Hamilton and Graves are expected to be the top pair when the Devils open the regular season against the Chicago Blackhawks on Oct. 15.

“It’s definitely exciting,” Hamilton said. “I think the first game is a little tough sometimes, but I’ll do my best to get some feel, get back into some rhythm. It’s just nice to get into the gameday routine. Preseason is always different than regular season so just work on creating habits, starting today, and improve and learn from whatever happens tonight and go from there.”

Devils coach Lindy Ruff is looking forward to watching Hamilton play in a game.

“I think he’s excited about getting back playing, and playing with this group,” Ruff said. “We’ll see how he handles it.” — Mike G. Morreale

 

New York Islanders

Semyon Varlamov may not be able to start the regular season because of an undisclosed nagging injury, but coach Barry Trotz said he is not worried about the goalie’s situation.

“If he’s not ready for opening day … I know he’ll be right around the corner and we have (goalie) Ilya [Sorokin] and Ilya could do the job if we needed,” Trotz said. “When you say ‘concerned,’ that’s not a word I would use, for sure, because he’ll be back. He’s fine. He’s just rehabbing.”

Varalamov has not skated nor practiced with the Islanders at training camp.

“We’re thinking long term, I don’t need anything hanging around because once you get into playing all of these games there’s really no time to recover other than just battling through it,” Trotz said. “We want to take care of it on the front end so there’s no lingering issues later on. Is it something major? No, it’s not. But it’s something that’s nagging.”

If Varlamov is unable to start the season, veteran Cory Schneider would be expected to back up Sorokin.

 

Tampa Bay Lightning

Anthony Cirelli did not practice Friday and might miss a couple of days with a lower-body injury. 

“[Cirelli] did not skate today,” Lightning assistant Derek Lalonde said. “I haven’t heard much. He probably will not be around for a day or two, but I don’t think there’s anything to be concerned about.”

Cirelli scored a goal Thursday in a 6-2 preseason loss to the Nashville Predators. The forward left the game in the second period and did not return. Coach Jon Cooper had no immediate update after the game and said the move was precautionary.

Ross Colton took Cirelli’s place at center on a line with Steven Stamkos and Alex Killorn at practice Friday. — Corey Long

 

St. Louis Blues

Zachary Bolduc will make his NHL preseason debut for the Blues against the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday at United Center (8:30 p.m. ET; NBCSCH+).

The center, who was the No. 17 pick in the 2021 NHL Draft, missed the Traverse City (Mich.) Prospects Tournament with a lower-body injury sustained during Canada’s World Junior training camp this past summer; he will skate on a line with Kyle Clifford and Logan Brown.

“I’m really excited,” Bolduc said. “It’s my first game. I’m going to enjoy it as much as I can and have fun and learn through that process.

“I’ll be nervous, but I’ll use that at my advantage, have fun, compete hard and just keep it simple for the first one. Right now, I’m feeling good honestly. I’m feeling 100 percent so I’m ready to play the game tonight.”

Bolduc is expected to be sent back to his junior team, Rimouski of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, but Blues coach Craig Berube wanted to see the 18-year-old in an NHL game before doing so.

“He’s a skilled player,” Berube said. “Watching him out there in practice, he’s quick on his feet, he’s on his toes and he’s got a good shot, obviously good puck skill. Just use his ability and go play the game. We’re all looking forward to seeing him here tonight and seeing what he can do.” — Louie Korac

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