Thursday, July 24, 2008

prospect camp day 4: i take it all back(lund)

today was the first day i took in the entire morning's worth of sessions, and yesterday i caught the group A afternoon skating drills as well. i'm not sure if it was due to it being downtown pre-lunch hour, or if it was the buzz on backlund & ryder, but the fanbase probably tripled for the group B practise at 11am...

in no particular order, here are some notes:

1. if you had asked me about mikael backlund yesterday, i would have said that his chances of cracking the big club's top six, come october, were slim-to-none. i'm thinking he may still have been suffering from jetlag, since today's practice showed me otherwise. this kid is outrageously talented.... he reminds me a lot of huselius in both his skating and stickhandling, in that he can stop and turn on a dime, or dish off a sweet pass under pressure. he can shoot effectively forehand or backhand, and i've decided that the 'showboating' merely a function of style, as he seems to have an innate sense for the deke or a fancy play... still, i'm sure he could put on a bit more size and tweak his game with another year in vasteräs. besides, who knows where the hell he'd fit into our totally disjointed roster...

2. matt pelech. multiply what i said yesterday about 100 times for today. i think he is the group B standout, meaning that i see him outshining the likes of backlund, greentree, and everybody's favorite news story: dan ryder. there were a lot of drills today with 2 or 3 skaters on 1 defender, and pelech was holding his own with excellent positionning and a very effective stick. i think he's so noticeable due to his undenyable confidence... plus the guy is a GIANT (ohhh, how i'd love to see him hit).

3. like pelech is head and shoulders above his group B teammates, dustin boyd is (and SHOULD be) the group A standout. he was the fastest skater in drills yesterday, and is developmentally far superior to everyone else on the ice in his group...

4. more info on kris chucko: i think i may be too hard on him, as he looked halfway decent this morning. he does have a pretty good eye for the net, an accurate shot, and he uses his size effectively (he absolutely toppled negrin at one point). his downside is obvious, though: he's not fast enough to keep up with the rush, he is rarely in position, and i can't quite decide if he's sloppy or just lazy...

5. yesterday was the first time i'd seen john negrin since last fall and i'm not sure exactly what it was that i loved about him. he seems smaller than i remembered, and nervous or jittery somehow. he had a lot of trouble with some of wednesday's power skating drills (he's a big fat cheater when nobody's looking), and alongside tj brodie and gord baldwin, he didn't look like anything overly special today, either... i think the odds of him skipping over the A, and straight to the bigs, are unlikely at this point...

6. jimmy canaryshirt is sportin' a pretty serious buzzcut. i'm pretty sure he's still got a goatee but it's trimmed real short so it's hard to tell.

7. jd watt is also impressing me. i thought he was just another lunkhead, but it turns out the guy's not bad at hockey. he scored a few really pretty goals today...

8. all goalies are looking solid ---even james spratt, who's clearly not in the same league (haha) as keetley (who is a very competent goalie, as noted last year, albeit with an additional season's worth of experience), but is definitely keeping up with lalande and (to some extent) leland irving. irv got the loudest reaction from coaches, teammates & fans with an absolute beauty of a save: lying in the crease blocking half the net with his body after the initial shot, his stick on the ice to take away the easy goal, the skater (i forget who, now) raised the rebound towards the gaping net and leland grabbed it with his glove. it was one of those "he was down and out but he still made it look easy" stops... no wonder sutter won't draft a goaltender for another few years.... i still worry about his fivehole, though, as he had a couple of slow trickling pucks slide through today....

9. lance bouma is doing tömi mäki's #57 proud (dude is fast), but my new favorite baby flame is john armstrong, hands down. what i noted on day 1 was not a fluke: #75 has some skills. he's obviously got no shot of making the big club this year, but he looks to have a bigger upside than most of the other guys in group A (chucko, carpentier, severyn). he's sizey, he can skate, and he can score.... congrats, "army", you're my new horse... ;)

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is a really good read. Ty so much. I would really really like a better read about Dan Ryder if at all possible. Thanks again

MetroGnome said...

Thanks for the detailed scouting report. If you logged into Calgarypuck and shared this you'd be an instant sensation.

Im really excited about Backlund, too. If (when) he makes the team he's an automatic top-sixer (like Backstrom in Washington). Similarly, I'd like to see him land with Iginla when that happens.

awildermode said...

calgarypuck or not...you are still a sensation. great report. i hope someone shot a video of that leland save and posted on youtube or flames.com

my thoughts on backlund...i like swedish players.

interviews with some prospects on flmaes.com (pelech, leland, backlund). pelech looks hugh

MetroGnome said...

pelech looks hugh

Jackman or Grant?

walkinvisible said...

my thoughts on backlund...i like swedish players.

you and me both, sister
;)

awildermode said...

pelech looks hugh

Jackman or Grant?


...stupid typing skills....uh, jackman...hugh like jackman.

and huge, too :P