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Tropp Closes Up Camp With Hat Trick

07/11/11
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Corey Tropp spent his rookie AHL season putting up respectable numbers for the Portland Pirates. Now he’ll be calling Rochester home from October to June. How is he preparing for the Sabres’ affiliate moving back up the I-90? By spending the summer in Buffalo training.

Corey Tropp was drafted in 2007 (89th overall) by the Buffalo Sabres and spent 3 years playing for what is a popular draft target for the team, Michigan State University. He didn’t put up stellar numbers until his final season playing NCAA hockey when he scored 42 points in 37 games. In his first pro campaign with the Pirates, he went from being a 1.13 points-per-game player in a trusted scoring position to being a .520 points-per-game player in a third line capacity. Not a bad drop off for someone who had to re-tool his game for a different role.

Something that didn’t change was his intensity. In the playoffs last season, he was back to point-per-game status (12 points in 12 games played) and a large reason for that was his tenacity never wavered. He was strong on and off the puck, and he only plans on getting stronger by taking advantage of the Sabres’ training facilities this offseason. “I’ve been here in Buffalo the whole summer training with Doug McKenney, then working with Kevyn Adams…me, Kass, Foligno, and Lukey, we’ve been here the last three weeks leading up to the camp and I think we’ll here pretty much up ’til training camp,” said the soon-to-be AHL sophomore, noting his rookie year really helped his physical development. “I think a year in the AHL really helped, getting stronger. One thing you pick up at that level is that you have to be stronger because everyone is a bit stronger, a bit faster.”

That kind of commitment is something you want to see in a prospect as he matures and grows as a player and professional. It was only a few short years ago that Tropp made the kind of reckless, dangerous decision that could end more than one career, taking a two-handed chop at the neck of the Bruins’ Steven Kampfer. The punishment Corey received was harsh, but it’s obvious that he’s moved on from the incident. The progress he’s made and hopefully will continue to make does well to silence his remaining detractors stemming from that debacle.

In the scrimmage that concluded this year’s edition of prospect development camp, Tropp showed off some of that progress by scoring a hat trick and helping Team Blue even the score after being trounced the day before. It’s a fitting send-off for a guy who looks to excite fans in his new home barn of the Blue Cross Arena, but maybe also family too. “I’m from Detroit, so more family and friends will be able to see me if I’m in Rochester.” Describing one scenario, Tropp mentioned a division rival close to home. “One opponent is Grand Rapids, which is only a couple hours from home as compared to a 4 hour flight or 15 hour drive out to Portland,” He also liked the improved time the minor league players will get with coaches, saying “The staff will be able to see us play more often, be more hands on with the prospects than they were in Portland.” As excited as he is to play in Western New York, he had great affection for his former minor league home. “The city of Portland was awesome and I know every single one of us that played there enjoyed it. The fans were amazing, but I hope we can have the same success we had there in Rochester.”

The Sabres have had a bounty of minor league success in recent years, boasting three consecutive Dudley Garrett Award-winners, and they’re looking forward to more now that they’ve landed back Rochester. Corey Tropp figures he’ll factor more into that success after a solid rookie season and a summer spent kicking his butt into shape at the foot of Washington Street.

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