Wednesday, July 23, 2008

prospect camp day 3: first rounders

i got up painfully early (*ahem 8am) to go watch the group B session this morning, and there is no doubt in my mind that the standouts were all former first round selections.

1. matt pelech
i have yet to lay eyes on john negrin this summer, but pelech is definitely looking NHL ready to me, and the most likely for promotion. the other 3 group B blueliners (aulie, wilson, deilert) were easily a step or two (or eight) behind pelech, both developmentally and physically. at 6'5" & 227 lbs, this guy stands out like a lumberjack playing shinny with some teenagers, and could probably do some serious damage on the boards, given a game-day opportunity... his passing was generally tape-to-tape, with very few bouncing or rolling pucks (showing excellent powerplay potential) ---even after the 'dome ice got decidedly choppy. he appears to have a rifle of a slapshot, and a pretty accurate wrister... oh, and the dude can skate.

verdict: buy me a tshirt for the matt pelech fanclub.

2. mikael backlund
i'm still not sure i see what all the hype is about, but it's the little things that are promising about backlund. he's definitely on par with the other group B skaters in all aspects, but he has a way of finessing the puck (see: huselius/forsberg) that gives him an upper hand. in a shootout drill, most of the skaters opted for wristshots, while backlund did a nifty toe drag move, and he seems to hit the net topshelf with some serious accuracy. in another drill he opted for a fancy drop pass between the legs rather than just tapping the puck to his partner: i'm not certain if this is showboating or a sign of stickwork mastery. he's definitely sizey for a 19-year-old, but looked to be 'illegally' clutching and grabbing in the boardwork, rather than using his body to check. this could easily be a factor of practise vs. game play. i think taratukhin showed more potential.

verdict: undecided.

3: leland irving
i can definitely see the potential here, for this guy to be the successor to heir kiprusoff, but he's got a long way to go. he looked a bit tired today, though he's definitely eager to play, working hard at both ends of the ice (defensive/offensive drills). in the shootout drill, he made a wickedly sweet fivehole save, which was followed immediately but an absolutely terrible fivehole goal. we'll see if this gets addressed in the next days.

verdict: still not as good as keetley (but younger !).

other notables:

-kyle greentree has a mean shot
-keith aulie is big, but has a long way to go (and was the only guy to fall... twice)
-lance bouma (????) is effin' fast
-chris bouton (????)can shoot from anywhere and score
-dan ryder still looks interested, but also looks like a longshot to make the big club (at best).
-i'm kinda loving JD watt

1 comment:

Kent W. said...

Good to hear that about Pelech. I've only ever seen him play once and he was decidedly ordinary. From other reports, including yours and the organizations, Pelech is rapidly becoming the best defenseman on the farm though.

Are they going to have a scrimmage this year?