Truth be told, this could be said about any one of the 30 development camps going on this summer, as teams tend to invite a bevy of prospects, signed and unsigned. If you've been following the Jets (and especially if you've been following us) you'll take a look at this list and recognize all the names that have an accompanying link. In some cases, those names are fresh and exciting (such as Jacob Trouba and Scott Kosmachuk), and in others they've been there for years and you wonder if we'll ever see them (such as Eric O'Dell and Vinny Saponari). The third group of players are the unknowns, the invitees, who've not yet earned their NHL.com link. They are the ones I'll focus on here, particularly for those of you who will have a chance to check out the camp in-person.
Without further ado, I'll attempt to answer the question: Who the hell are these guys?
Tim already gave us a look at a few of the players in his post, including Zack Mitchell, Zach O'Brien, and Joey Leach, so I'll avoid covering them again. I've included their camp jersey numbers, courtesy of David Minuk over at Illegal Curve (he supplies the complete list; check it out).
Nicholas Bligh --- C --- 1/16/93 --- 5'11" (181cm), 165 lbs (75kg) --- Dartmouth (NCAA) --- #42
A small centre who spent much of 2011-12 setting up Nashville Predators 3rd rounder Jimmy Vesey, he's a cerebral, shifty player who needs to add muscle and improve his skating at Dartmouth. Kirk Luedeke of Bruins Draft Watch, who's had a chance to scout him, felt he was just as dangerous on the ice as New York Rangers' 2nd rounder Cristoval Nieves.
Danny Dries --- LW --- 4/12/88 --- 6'0" (183cm), 194 lbs (88kg) --- St. John's (AHL) --- #67
Forced to transfer after being kicked off the NCAA's New Hampshire Wildcats for disciplinary reasons, Dries tidied up his act and put in a couple of promising seasons at Ohio State. Though a benefactor of some solid Buckeye offences, Dries is a gritty guy who can bang in garbage goals with his willingness to go into the dirty areas. As evidenced by his two years at Ohio State, he can be a high-volume shooter, though his success is spotty.
Blair MacAulay --- RW --- 6/27/88 --- 5'11" (181cm), 179 lbs (81kg) --- University of Manitoba (CWUAA) --- #51
|2009-10||Univ. of Manitoba||CWUAA||34||12||11||23||5||0||34||91|
|2010-11||Univ. of Manitoba||CWUAA||30||13||20||33||9||0||16||114|
|2011-12||Univ. of Manitoba||CWUAA||30||23||10||33||9||2||18||126|
MacAulay is a local hero in Winnipeg, and has been the best player on the Bisons the last two years. I've never had a chance to see him, but rumour has it that there's at least one guy around AIH that could fill us in.
Matt White --- RW --- 8/23/89 --- 5'11" (180cm), 181 lbs (82kg) --- Nebraska-Omaha (NCAA) --- #76
A talented little winger with some slick moves and passes, he's got average speed but the kind of sense that makes it not matter. Add to it some solid play on the PK, and you have to like White's prospects for the future. Could be another smart NCAA grab by Cheveldayoff & Company, on the heels of the Jason Gregoire pickup last year.
Norm Ezekiel --- RW, D --- 3/17/91 --- 5'8" (173cm), 181 lbs (82kg) --- Barrie (OHL) --- #29
A diminutive scrapper from the Dale Hawerchuk Jets prospect farm (Barrie), Ezekiel is a heart-and-soul goon, capable of beating up on guys far bigger than him. The intrigue from teams might be enough to get him to the AHL, but he's not really NHL material.
Corbin Boes --- G --- 7/18/93 --- 6'2" (188cm), 194 lbs (84kg) --- Brandon (WHL) --- #34
Not much of a book on him, and he hadn't shown up on a lot of NHL teams' radars to the point that he would be drafted. Just turning 19 this month, his strong showing in 2011-12 on a marginal Wheat Kings squad has suggested that the big goalie might be figuring it out in the juniors and could have some upside. In the film I've seen of him, he's seems a bit sluggish though positionally-sound.
Robert Levin --- G --- 9/22/92 --- 6'1" (186cm), 179 lbs (81kg) --- Dubuque (USHL) --- #1
Really, I think the Jets excel at considering goaltenders that nobody knows, because there's not much information available on Levin, either. He's another fairly big goaltender that hasn't greatly outperformed people at his own level. One interesting tidbit, though: apparently, he was invited to an Atlanta Thrashers prospect camp a couple of years ago, so I wonder if there are still some old Atlanta scouts and notes hanging around. If so, can we please throw them out?
For those of you checking out the development camp: please feel free to Fan Post any notes you might have from this week. We have a couple of AIH fellas over there, but we'd love to hear from a multitude of perspectives on these players. And don't forget to make me happy by saying that Zach Redmond looks like a golden god.