TROY, NY – There is more than one way to make it to the professional level. Just ask the 20 players who participated in the Devils training camp session Monday morning at Knickerbacker Ice Arena. Two of those players, Raman Hrabarenka and Corbin McPherson, took two different paths to the Devils blue line.
Born in Mogilev, Belarus, Hrabarenka developed in North America with Philadelphia (2009-10) of the EJHL and with Cape Breton (2010-11, 2011-12) and Drummondville (2011-12) of the QMJHL — not a typical route for a foreign born defenseman.
“It’s the same hockey pretty much, but it’s just a little bit different,” Hrabarenka said. “And both teams, Cape Breton and Drummondville, gave me a lot of stuff I learned to make me better. I learned English, so I know with the game right now what the coaches want from me.”
McPherson, who was born in Folsom, CA, went the collegiate route. After two seasons with Cowichan Valley (2006-07, 2007-08) of the BCHL, he spent four seasons (2008-12) at Colgate University.
“I started in the BCHL in 2006 my goal was obviously to get a full scholarship to school to help my parents out financially as far as going to college and whatnot,” McPherson said. “So I achieved that goal of going to Colgate for four years and got my degree which I’m very proud of and then I signed with Albany after my senior season, played a few games, and last year was my first year pro, my rookie season. I’m happy to be playing professional hockey now.”
During their rookie seasons, Hrabarenka appeared in 34 games, registering a goal and four assists. McPherson was a main-stay, appearing in 72 games — the second most on the team. He had two goals and five assists.
“Last year, they gave me a lot of experience too,” Hrabarenka said. “And this year I hope is going to be better for me.”
“I had to earn a spot right away,” McPherson said. “I wasn’t inserted in the lineup immediately, but I worked at it in practice and my goal is obviously to play and help the team win as many games as they can. My role as a shutdown defenseman, I want to be in the lineup but I want to play against other teams’ top forwards and shut them down, keep them from scoring and help our team win.”
Goaltender (1): Maxime Clermont
Forwards (13): Reid Boucher, Riley Boychuk, Alexandre Carrier, Artem Demkov, Dmitry Goldenkov, Mike Hoeffel, Chris McKelvie, Harri Pesonen, Ben Thomson, Joe Whitney, David Wohlberg, Darcy Zajac, Kelly Zajac
New Jersey at Montreal
The New Jersey Devils continue their preseason schedule with a 7:30 pm game against the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre. Martin Brodeur is expected to get the start for the Devils.