Skip to content

Appleby to showcase his game for Blues and Devils

After being passed over in the NHL Draft for the third consecutive year, Memorial Cup champion Ken Appleby will be attending the St. Louis Blues' and New Jersey Devils' proespect camps in the coming weeks.

After being passed over in the NHL Draft for the third consecutive year, Memorial Cup champion Ken Appleby will be attending the St. Louis Blues' and New Jersey Devils' proespect camps in the coming weeks. PHOTO BY TOM MARTINEAU

Resilient would be an appropriate word to describe Ken Appleby.

Defined as a person’s ability to adapt and persevere through stress and adversity, resiliency can determine who makes it and who doesn't. 

So after a triumphant Memorial Cup title, beating Connor McDavid and the high flying Erie Otters in the OHL Championship, and posting the OHL’s best goalie statistics for one of the top junior teams in the country and still not being drafted to the NHL, it’s fair to say Appleby fits the bill.

Given his first opportunity to show he was capable of being a strong starting goaltender in the 2014-15 campaign, Appleby didn't disappoint. 

But in the wake of the draft snub, the 20-year-old North Bay native has been given another opportunity to prove himself. 

This time, the 6’ 4”, 205-pound goaltender will be showcasing his game for the St. Louis Blues and the New Jersey Devils at their prospect camps on July 6 and July 13, respectively.

Immediately after being passed over by all 30 NHL clubs for the third consecutive year at the draft last weekend, Appleby received a flurry of phone calls from seven of those teams offering him a free-agent invite to their prospect camps.

Choosing to see more doors open at that moment than close, Appleby and his agent meticulously analyzed the offers and their respective depth charts to strategically choose which camps he would attend.

“Going into the draft I wasn’t really a big fan of going down there because I wasn’t completely sure I would be drafted, I was just hoping I would,” Appleby explained on Wednesday.

“But now, after not getting drafted and seeing how much interest there was with all of the teams calling like crazy after the draft ended, it’s a good thing to see because you can choose your best option and test out being a free agent,” he added. “We just figured that those were the two that didn’t interfere with each other and gave me the best options.”

Of course, there’s the obvious connection between the towering goaltender and St. Louis: Appleby’s backup in Oshawa this year was, after all, the son of retired NHL legend and current Blues assistant general manager, Martin Brodeur.

Brodeur’s son, Jeremy, will also be at the St. Louis camp.

“Before the draft was over, Martin called me and said that they would love to have me and they really wanted me to come to the orientation camp,” Appleby explained about utilizing the personal relationship. 

It seems strange that after playing 75 games in his first season as a major-junior starter and winning an OHL Championship and Memorial Cup title that the real work is only just beginning for Appleby.

Since hoisting junior hockey’s most coveted trophy and being named the tournament’s top goaltender just over a month ago, Appleby’s off-season has been anything but time off.

After a couple of conditioning camps with the Chicago Blackhawks and Toronto Maple Leafs and being snubbed at the NHL Draft last weekend in Sunrise, Florida, Appleby has been back in North Bay working with long-time trainer Dave Whitehead in order to bring the best version of his game to St. Louis and New Jersey.

“I’m just trying to better myself overall from last year,” said Appleby. “I didn’t want to come back here and relax and be complacent; I just couldn’t wait to get right back to work because I know this is a big summer for me."

He has been praised by scouts for his big league stature, positional play and big game composure. But, as with any prospect, there's always something that needs work. 

“Throughout the year you hear talks about what scouts like and don’t like about you,” said Appleby. “My goalie coach [in Oshawa] knows a lot of the scouts and would talk to them a lot and he would relay the message to me so we could work on it all.

“Most of what I heard was about speed or making the proper decisions when it comes to position," he added. 

But, heading into the camps, just how much does riding the high of an incredibly successful season help him?

“I think teams give you a different look because they know what you’ve done," he said about the Memorial Cup spotlight, "so I would say my confidence level is pretty good heading into these camps.”

Needless to say, this isn’t the last we’ve heard from Appleby. 

Reader Feedback

Liam Berti

About the Author: Liam Berti

Liam Berti is a University of Ottawa journalism graduate who has since worked for BayToday as the City Council and North Bay Battalion reporter.
Read more