Undrafted Hitmen going to camp

SCOTT FISHER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:33 AM ET

Summer workouts can be long and tedious for a junior hockey player.

But Calgary Hitmen centre Ian Duval received all the motivation he needed when he got a call from the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Lightning invited the 19-year-old speedster to take part in an eight-team rookie tournament in Traverse City, Mich., Sept. 7-12.

"It's very exciting," he said. "I was very fortunate to get a call. I'm just trying to work hard over the summer and hopefully get noticed."

Hitmen right winger Keegan Dansereau, who had a career-high 28 goals and 59 points last season, also received a free-agent invite from the Florida Panthers.

Those two will join drafted Hitmen players Ryan White (Montreal), Carson McMillan (Minnesota), Alex Plante (Edmonton), Brett Sonne (St. Louis), Karl Alzner and Keith Seabrook (Washington) at NHL camps this fall.

"I think Sonns (Brett Sonne) and McMillan will be at the tournament too, so I'll be playing some guys I know," Duval said.

Acquired last November from the Regina Pats in exchange for forward Mike Reich, Duval became a crowd favourite in the post-season.

He scored the overtime winner in Game 7, as the Hitmen completed a first-round upset of the Kootenay Ice.

He said he's spent the summer trying to put some bulk on his frame.

"I knew I had to put on some muscle so I don't get pushed around as much," said Duval, who played at 6-ft., 180-lb. last season.

"I've gained 15 pounds. I've been doing weight training, conditioning and sprints and have been on the ice as much as I can, probably about three times a week."

Adding that much weight in one off-season can cause problems if it slows down a player who relies on speed.

"I haven't seen that so far," Duval said.

The Winnipeg, Man., product can't wait to get started with the Hitmen, who should challenge for the Central Division title this season.

"I think we should have a good chance," he said. "We should be able to go on another (playoff) run."


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