McRae tests Knights waters

RYAN PYETTE -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 9:13 AM ET

London Knights first-round pick Philip McRae will be front and centre at the team's open house on Saturday at the John Labatt Centre.

The 16-year-old from Chesterfield, Mo., will also skate a couple of times with fellow Knights prospects this weekend. But it remains to be seen if the son of Knights' minority owner Basil McRae will be in the lineup when London opens its 2006-07 exhibition schedule against Sarnia on Sept. 1 at the JLC.

Philip McRae has said he wants to either be a Knight this year or wait until next year and play another season with the U.S. development team in Ann Arbour, Mich. Participating in the Knights' open house, however, is a positive indicator.

"Almost 100 per cent of the players who come to the open house come to main (training) camp," Knights assistant GM Jim McKellar said. "It's an orientation weekend, a meet-and-greet, a way for us to get to know the players and for them to get to know us."

Fans are invited to attend the open house from noon till 4 p.m. for free. Entrance is through Gate 4 at the JLC. Besides interactive displays on the arena floor, London will hand out its team awards and offer autograph opportunities from many of last year's Knights. (Top scorer Rob Schremp won't be there because he's still with Edmonton as the Oilers prepare to play in the Stanley Cup final.)

London GM Mark Hunter will attend the NHL draft in Vancouver on June 24 and is expected to meet with Montreal GM Bob Gainey to get a better idea of where high-scoring forward Sergei Kostitsyn will play next year. The Knights have already said they would love to have the 19-year-old Belarus native back in London, but Kostitsyn is Canadiens property and could end up in the team's farm system.

Look for London to hold on to Kostitsyn's rights as long as possible and select at least one European player in the Canadian Hockey League's upcoming import draft.

Hardware for Bolland

Knights forward David Bolland will be awarded the Jim Mahon Memorial Trophy as the OHL's top scoring right winger at the league's annual awards ceremony at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto on Wednesday. Bolland, who finished with 57 goals and 130 points, ensured London kept the hardware for the third straight year. Corey Perry took top honours during the 2003-04 and 2004-05 seasons.

Rights deadline

London captain Dylan Hunter and forward/ defenceman Trevor Kell must sign pro contracts by today or they will re-enter the NHL draft this month. Hunter's rights are currently owned by the Buffalo Sabres and Kell is a Chicago prospect. Former Knight and Guelph defenceman Ryan Pottruff is in a similar situation with the Carolina Hurricanes.

Perry update

Former Knight Corey Perry scored a Game 7 goal, but it wasn't enough to help the American Hockey League's Portland Pirates get past the Hershey Bears and into the Calder Cup final on Tuesday night.


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