Prospects camp, Day 1

8 a.m. on a Sunday is really too early for hockey, or much anything else for that matter. But I was able to get out there for the morning session of the camp, and afterward I grabbed interviews with Jack Johnson, Lauri Tukonen, Thomas Hickey, Patrick O’Sullivan, Scott Parse and Marc Crawford. No rhyme or reason to those six…they were just available. I’ll grab different guys in the coming days. I’ll transcribe those interviews and have them up over the course of the afternoon/evening.

Here’s the list of the guys who are participating as part of the “gold” group today and tomorrow. (The second group, the one that’s practicing Thursday-Saturday, is made up primarily of recent draft picks.)

12 — Patrick O’Sullivan
34 — Lauri Tukonen
47 — Vladimir Dravecky
54 — Teddy Purcell
58 — David Meckler
61 — Trevor Lewis
63 — Scott Parse
68 — Brady Murray
70 — Matt Moulson
73 — John Zeiler

2 — Richard Petiot
33 — Jack Johnson
37 — Thomas Hickey
42 — Joe Piskula
49 — Peter Harrold
56 — Joe Ryan
62 — Niclas Andersen
64 – Patrik Hersley
71 — Brian Boyle

31 — Mike Ouzas
36 — Jeff Zatkoff
45 — Jonathan Bernier
75 — Linden Rowat

The guys in the gold jerseys are primarily former (or perhaps some current) Jr. Kings. Team officials have taken to calling them “Rudys,” in reference to the well-known Notre Dame walk-on player. A couple of them really held their own with the prospects and one got into a bit of a shoving match with Brady Murray during the first session.

The forward drills were surprisingly intense. Lots of one-on-one battles and work in the corners and in front of the net. The defensemen seemed to be doing more skating drills and the goalies were very individual-drill oriented, and the Kings brought video cameras onto the ice to record them individually.

It’s a bit early to talk about impressions. Even Crawford said that this week is more about improvement than competition. Wednesday night’s scrimmage will be a good chance to see some competition. But if you’re looking for some initial thoughts…Boyle did indeed play defense and he looked smoother than I expected, for someone who doesn’t have a ton of experience at the blue line. Hickey is tiny, but remember that he’s younger and much less experienced than most of the other guys out there. Johnson looked very solid and, when I talked to him later, seemed to have put on some muscle in the last couple months. None of the forwards particularly jumped out, but again, they were working on a lot of battle drills. Zeiler seemed to have a lot of energy out there.

I’ll start transcribing interviews in a bit. I’ll probably skip the practice this afternoon (in other words, I’ll probably be asleep) so if anyone goes — it’s from 4-5 p.m. — and wants to post their observations, that’s both welcomed and encouraged. I’ll go out to tomorrow’s afternoon practice.

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  • Goon Squad

    Hey Rich,
    Seems like this group has most of the prospects who are “close” to being ready. Any idea what the deal is with Cliche? I know he was injured. Is he more likely headed back to juniors, or might we see him in Manch this year? Also Jon Quick?

    Thanks as always!

  • triplcrown

    Thank you so much for this reporting, Rich.

    Can’t wait for the interviews.

    You rock!!

  • Landon

    I went to camp at 8am. Stayed till 1115 when the defense was done. I was too tired. I would agree Johnson looked really solid and quick. By far the best defenseman out there today. Hickey was very tiny and didn’t stand out to me, understandable for all the obvious reasons. Zeiler was solid too with a lot of energy. Couldn’t tell who any of the goailes were because none of them wore numbers during the 2 sessions. Boyle was huge and surprisingly quick for his inexperience on defense. Stood 5 feet, breifly, from Lombardi outside while the defense and offense was doing warmups on the outside rink. Unfortunately, my camera battery was dead. I actually sat next to Dave Taylor for all the of the 2 sessions and in the first session Marc Crawford and Mike Johnston sat down with him and overheard them commenting on most of the forwards at camp on the ice and talking about free-agent contracts among other things (Gomez, some cap stuff, and minor league hockey). It was surreal listening to them while watching our future faces of the Kings. Mr. Taylor was kind enough to help me clairfy who a few of the players were with their numbers. (I was the guy wearing the Red JMFJ shirt.)
    Never saw you Rich.

  • Royal Fan

    Hi Rich, first of all keep up the great job! I m not really living next door so getting to the rink is almost impossible for me but reading your blog makes up for a bit.

    Looking at the list of players I wonder what Zeilers contract status is since hes in camp. Is he signed yet ?
    Thanks for another great report

  • Rich Hammond

    I agree that the camp seems clearly divided between players who are closer to the NHL and longer-term prospects. I wouldn’t be surprised to see both Cliche and Quick in Manchester this year, but neither one is here. I’m surprised a bit that Quick isn’t here.

    Landon…my observations were largely the same as yours. And us media types tend to hang out on the other side of the rink, next to the locker room, but the crowd looked pretty good for a Sunday morning.

    Royal Fan…Zeiler is a restricted free agent, so the Kings likely will look to get a deal done before arbitration comes around.

  • tom bowen

    I had heard from DT about Quick and that he had been coming back from shoulder and ankle injuries, (maybe some else heard something else)and isn’t there yet.

    It also looked like the Black Jersey were for the guys that might be battling for a NHL job?

    Although I thought that 2 of the guys in the gold jersey’s did pretty well too and should have a look into being a King..

  • Looking forward to the interviews, thanks again for looking out for us Rich. I saw you on the media side of the rink and you seemed quite involved with a puck! Boyle looks like a redwood out there, head and shoulders above everyone else. I hope he can skate! JMFJ is a stud. It was different to see O’Sullivan actually trying during a practice, hopefully he has learned some commitment.

    I took some photos and put them on LGK if anyone is interested. (I could use help ID’ing some of the guys) (:3

  • Rich Hammond

    Yes, flipping a puck against the glass repeatedly tends to help one stay awake when one is about to fall asleep on his feet…

    Nice job with the pics!

  • Daniel

    Here are my thoughts on the 4PM session:
    1. I was really impressed with the tenacity of Meckler. In the forward/defense one-on-one drills, he really gave Johnson a run for his money.
    2. Purcell has a great shot.
    3. Petiot looked strong and NHL ready.
    4. Hickey is physically underdeveloped but technically sound. I see what the Kings scouts saw in him. I say he is NHL ready in four years.
    5. Piskula looked sound. Tried to be a little fancy, though. Crow razzed him on that.
    6. In goal – Bernier is quick and sound. I honestly see him up in two years. JZ was impressive, too.

    One more thing – was it me or did the ice seem slow? Like they were skating on dry cement?

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