Martinelli to experience pro camp

JIM CRESSMAN -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 8:51 AM ET

Ryan Martinelli figures in his case, size does matter.

Standing six-foot-seven in skates helped him stick out the few times he played on defence with the London Knights last season.

The London native was called up from the junior B St. Thomas Stars in early December.

Martinelli, who turns 19 tomorrow, has been invited to the Atlanta Thrashers rookie training camp in Traverse City, Mich.

He reports on Monday, where he'll be reunited with former Knights teammates Danny Fritsche and Marc Methot, both with the Columbus Blue Jackets, and goalie Gerry Coleman, with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The NHL teams are combining their rookie camps so they can schedule exhibitions.

"The call came (from the Thrashers) out of the blue a week and a half ago," Martinelli said yesterday.

"I was pretty surprised. I didn't really think that would happen for me. I didn't really play too much last year -- they were so deep I didn't have a chance to play much -- but it definitely didn't hurt playing on this team.

"And size doesn't hurt."

He's six-foot-five in stocking feet and weighs 212 pounds. He added 17 pounds over the summer.

"It feels a lot different carrying more weight around on me, but it feels good. I feel stronger," he said.

While Martinelli will be returning to the Knights, the experience will be immeasurable for him.

He also credited the Knights coaching staff with helping him with his game.

"I felt like a fish out of water and it took a good couple of months to get accustomed to this, but Jacques (Beaulieu), Dale (Hunter) and Jeff (Perry) really worked with me."

There was also the experience of practising daily with a team that won the OHL and Memorial Cup titles.


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