67's break camp with 8 new faces

BRUCE GARRIOCH

, Last Updated: 11:41 AM ET

THEY WON'T be the new-look 67's in 2006-07.

While there were eight new faces when the dust settled after the final cuts were made yesterday, there will be 16 returnees when the season opens Sept. 22 against the Kingston Frontenacs.

After taking one final look, 67's coach and GM Brian Kilrea and his staff made their decisions as they prepare to open the pre-season Friday at the Civic Centre against the Belleville Bulls.

Included among those who made the final roster were local products Scott Pitt, who spent last season with the Orleans Blues, and Thomas Nesbitt of Stittsville. Both will play up front and pushed hard for jobs since camp opened with 43 players last Thursday. There are 24 players left on the roster at the moment and that's likely where it is going to stay.

"We're pleased. We've got a lot of players returning. We're still going to be young and obviously our strength is going to be with the experience that we have on the blue line," said Kilrea.

"We feel good about our team. We're going to get a chance to see where everybody fits in the pre-season and we're going to have some guys away at NHL camps. We were pleased with the way guys came prepared to compete for jobs and we've still got some time to ready for the start of the season."

The 67's are going to have to wait to see what happens with defenceman Joe Grimaldi, who will attend the Islanders' camp on a free-agent tryout. He could be a candidate for captain because he's well respected by his teammates.

Winger Jamie McGinn is headed for San Jose's rookie camp, but is expected to return, while defenceman Jakub Vojta will leave on Sept. 13 to attend camp with defending Stanley Cup-champion Hurricanes.

GOALIE BATTLE LOOMS

Among the other newcomers making the club is Swiss goalie Lukas Flueler, the 67's top choice in the OHL European draft. He will battle for the No. 1 job with returning netminder Brady Morrison. The other new faces on the roster: F Cody Lindsay of London, Mississauga F Matt Ribiero, D Tyler Cuma, F Julian Cimadamore and D Jordan Galiea.

The next big decision for Kilrea and Co. is trying to decide who will be captain. In past years, there have been obvious choices, but this year those following the club closely have a tough time deciding who it should be because there are a lot of youngsters on this team.

The possibilities include McGinn and defencemen Elgin Reid and Brodie Beard. Kilrea said he has some people in mind, but wasn't tipping his hand when he might make a decision.

"This is something that we've talked about and we're going to use different people with letters during the preseason," said Kilrea. "This is something we're going to talk about and then we're going to make a final decision closer to the season."


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