Just got a great review of today’s development camp action from a reader by the name of Sky Felix. Some good insight, for sure. I watched most of the sessions this morning although got distracted by trying to talk to some players and coaches. For a while, all of the staff rink-side headed out to check out what was going on at the roller rink…which was women’s roller derby.
Anyway, a few players have stood out to me. A couple of them fall in the category of, “They might have a chance this year, but we’ll see what happens in training camp.” They, not surprisingly, would be Jonathan Bernier, Drew Doughty, Oscar Moller and Colten Teubert. Other names that stayed in my mind were Geordie Wudrick and, based on the limited time I got to see them today, David Meckler and Wayne Simmonds. Perhaps I focused more on the kids drafted this year because this was my first look at them.
I have interviews with Bernier, Doughty, Teubert and Bill Ranford ready to be transcribed, so I’ll do that ASAP. For now, you can check out one fan’s in-depth analysis of today’s sessions…
A great crowd on hand today, I would say maybe 100 people. I was on one side of the ice so these were the players that were mostly on my side. If you saw a guy with a laptop furiously typing and taking notes that was I.
These are the players I focused on for Team A:
Doughty- He looked very solid in every aspect that you could think of. I can compare him to a Jack Johnson only without the flash. He made everything look effortless. There was one drill where 1 forward and 1 dman lined up facing each other. To start the drill they passed the puck back and forth until the whistle blew and then it was a 1 on 1 with the forward trying to score on net. Doughty was on offense this time and I don’t know who he was up against, but whomever it was they got schooled by Drew. To me it looked like he wasn’t even trying, but he pulled 3 or 4 sick moves to just toy with the dman. Also it’s good to note that he was solid positionally as a defender. Always made the right choice when it came to take the shooter or the open man. Never hesitated to use his stick to poke-check pucks when needed. He has a very deceptive stride, he isn’t technically the best skater but he is very quick on his feet especially in the corners when retrieving pucks. All I can say is that after the first time seeing him I can think of no reason that he would not make the team.
Parse – I saw his name on the roster sheet and thought to myself, “oh that guy, I remember him” He looked pretty good, this being the this first session at this year’s camp. I will say this, when it came to a 2 on 1 and he had a choice between passing or shooting…100% of the time he chose to shoot, sometimes passing up a better shot if he passed it off. He also has a fair amount of speed as well. Looks to maybe need another year to be able to make a push.
Azevedo – Man is he small. But if you have blurry eyes he looks like Cammy out there. Sometimes he would be moving his feet very quickly, but then you would zoom out and you would see that he wasn’t moving fast at all. He showed glimpses of skill but all in all he was muscled off the puck easily. He did however look better than past reports have indicated, not a whole lot better but slightly. I think him and Doughty were the only ones to get the crowd cheering. Justin had one and ONLY ONE nice goal when he took on a defender on the one on one drills and deked to the backhand and roofed it shortside high. All in all he showed quick hands and a lot of skill around the net. He could be a Luc type and could be a solid scorer in front of the net, but he would have to improve a lot of his game for the NHL level.
Wudrick – I really liked this pick from the first interview on draft day. You could tell he had a lot of energy and a lot to say. His play was solid as well. Good skater for his size and he had a wicked shot. It seemed like he placed every shot exactly where he wanted it.
Piskula – Stood out for me mainly because he was against Azevedo in every drill. He looked better than he looked last year. I really didn’t pay close attention to him but I will say that he had some of the hardest passes of anyone.
Czarnick – As other have noted he is a very quick player. Had no problems moving up and down the ice. Didn’t pay much attention to him but will tomorrow.
Campbell – Tall kid, a very good skater as well. We didn’t see any dman shooting the puck unless they were playing a forward for the drill so his shot cannot be commented on. He did look very strong on his feet though. Stick was always in the right position and he was taking the body on the 1 on 1 and 2 on 1 drills. I would rate him among the best dman in the camp along with Doughty and Teubert. Also to note, Westgarth was the first one on the ice and really was the first one to every drill location on the ice. He also led the end of session stretches.
And team B:
Teubert – For a man of his size he is a very strong skater. He has a beautiful stride and can get to top speed rather quickly. Like Doughty he used his stick a lot today in trying to poke check the puck and such. The drills weren’t overly physical so that side of him I cannot comment on. I will say that depending on how you rate them, Teubert would be either number 2 or 3 talent wise in this camp. Also he is a workman on the ice. No joking around, not even a lot of emotion. I can’t wait to see him in the game when his physical game will hopefully emerge.
Voinov – Tough kid. he played every drill hard. One drill he maybe worked for a good 30 seconds trying to take the puck from 2 forwards and he finally won it. He looked like he was still adjusting to the time and didn’t have a lot of interaction with the players. But the coaches were all able to communicate with him with no problems. As with Teubert the physical side of Voinov wasn’t shown today since the drills weren’t that demanding in that area. I think TSN quoted him as “a mean SOB” as with Teubert. Hopefully that side of Voinov will come out in the game.
Martinez – Shows promise in his abilities. Didn’t really stand out as far as skills go. But in every drill he was solid. I would say he’s equal to Voinov.
Meckler – I don’t know what this kid ate or what happened to him. He was very good today. I would say 90% of his shots were goals. He picked literally every corner there was and basically owned Zatkoff. I really liked his play today and I think he will have a shot at the team maybe next year.
Simmonds – Boy oh boy was this kid fun to watch today. I think last season his goal was to be better with the puck, boy has be gotten better in just one year. He by far is not the greatest technical skater but he sure gets to where he wants to go in a hurry. He was very good with and without the puck. He was one of the few who excited the whole crowd. I think he will make a push for a spot on the team. But I think he’s maybe 1 year away at the latest.
Drewinske – I remember him being signed and I didn’t really look into him all that much. He is a big body. He made some solid plays to strip the puck away from the forwards. Also he was a physical force as well.
Moller – DIdn’t really pay that much attention to him since he was on the other side of the ice, but what I did see of him he was very skilled with the puck. Very shifty. Still probably needs to add on a few pounds but all in all is going to be a very good possibly top 6 forward.
Hope you all enjoyed my thoughts.