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Youngsters impress Fronts brass

There were not many surprises when breakup day came at the Kingston Frontenacs training camp Thursday afternoon.

Despite some impressive younger talent in camp, there just wasn’t too much wiggle room left on a Kingston roster that has many returning players from last season. Eighteen of the 23 players who are left at the Ontario Hockey League team’s camp were with the Frontenacs last season.

Not surprising, either, is that Cody Morgan and Evan Brand, the team’s one-two picks in the 2017 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection, made the big team.

Brand and Colin Van Den Hurk, who was with the Frontenacs to start last season before going to the Kingston Voyageurs for a season in the Ontario Junior Hockey League, are the new faces on defence.

Morgan, 16, and Paul Larabie, 17, were the two new additions up front.

Goaltender Ryan Dugas, Kingston’s third-round draft selection, is staying with the team for some exhibition games, but the plans are to have him spend a season with a team in the Ontario Junior Hockey League.

New coach Jay Varady, in his first OHL camp process, felt it was a good and productive three days.

“I thought the guys worked incredibly hard through the testing, through the practices, through the [scrimmages],” Varady said. “There are three things we really look for: the compete level, skating and skill. We really evaluate those three things.

“I saw a lot of that out of guys that were returning from this group and guys that were coming in trying to make the team.”

Morgan and Brand came in exactly as expected.

Doug Gilmour, the director of hockey operations, said Brand impressed the onlookers with his poise and patience when moving the puck. Gilmour said he’s heard the detractors of big defencemen like the six-foot-six Brand, with foot speed sometimes believed to be a problem, but Gilmour noted there was the same talk about Eemeli Rasanen, too, at last year’s camp.

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