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Hurley, Fitzgerald and Kauppila Fill In at NTDP

Connor Hurley and Ryan Fitzgerald will join the NTDP U18s this weekend, while Sam Kauppila will play for the U17s

Bruce Bennett - Getty Images

Due to things like injuries, there are usually a few opportunities throughout the year for the NTDP to add players from outside the program for a couple games of experience and exposure. This weekend, two high-end college prospects in Connor Hurley and Sam Kauppila and BC recruit Ryan Fitzgerald are getting that opportunity.

Edina HS forward Connor Hurley will take a break from the Upper Midwest Elite League to play a pair of games with the NTDP U18 team, as they play exhibition games against Wisconsin and Notre Dame. Hurley was a 'B' rated prospect in the NHL's preliminary Central Scouting rankings, but has the potential to push himself into the discussion for the first round of the draft, and a big weekend here against top notch competition would really help that. Notre Dame is also one of the schools in the running for Hurley's services once he finishes high school.

Boston College recruit Ryan Fitzgerald is another 'B' rated NHL prospect looking to make a jump up in the rankings. Fitzgerald helped himself last weekend with an MVP performance at the All-American Prospects Game, and another solid weekend would only help his stock.

Joining the NTDP U17s last night for their 3-2 loss to Indiana was Chicago Mission U18 forward Sam Kauppila. Kauppila, who is currently uncommitted, doesn't have the raw skill of teammate and Wisconsin recruit Christian Dvorak, but is probably a better fit for the role the NTDP is looking to fill with his aggressive, physical style of play. Kauppila's strong start to the season, along with this call-up, should elevate him to one of the better '96 born college prospects available.