Geordie Wudrick is back in the mix.
The Phoenix Coyotes returned the 20-year-old Abbotsford native to the Kelowna Rockets on Thursday following the NHL team’s rookie camp.
Wudrick is expected to fill one of the three key over-age spots on the WHL club’s roster this season.
“He’s a big, 20-year-old forward with a lot of experience in our league and we look to him to be a big contributor for us this season,” Rockets coach Ryan Huska said of Wudrick.
“He’s certainly a big piece of the puzzle for us.”
Wudrick was originally drafted by Los Angeles in 2008, but was left unsigned by the Kings.
This fall, after earning a free-agent invitation to Coyotes’ camp, the Rockets were braced for the possibility that Wudrick may not return.
“The way it’s been for us the last few years, you have to be prepared for guys not coming back,” Huska added.
“Guys go to camps to try and earn pro contracts and that’s what we want for them. In Geordie’s case, it didn’t work out and he’s coming back to help us.”
The 6-foot-3, 215 pound Wudrick—acquired from Swift Current last season—rejoins defenceman Brendon Wall and forward Tyler Matheson as over-age players currently in Kelowna.
Forward Evan Bloodoff—Kelowna’s other 20-year-old—impressed the Coyotes enough to earn an invitation to main camp beginning this Saturday in Glendale, Ariz.
The Castlegar native will either sign a pro contract and likely play with the American Hockey League’s San Antonio Rampage, or will be returned to the Rockets for the 2010-11 season.
Forward Brett Bulmer and defenceman Colton Jobke both earned invitations to the main camp of the Minnesota Wild after solid showings at the NHL team’s rookie camp.
Defenceman Antoine Corbin returned Thursday from the rookie camp of the Dallas Stars, while forward Mitchell Callahan, a sixth round draft pick in 2009, is expected back from Detroit Red Wings main camp early next week.
The Rockets open the WHL regular season Saturday, Sept. 25 at home to the Prince George Cougars.