Day 1 of Winnipeg Jets Development Camp is in the books and Day 2 is already under way. Unfortunately I won't be able to make it out today, but I figured I'd give you guys a little run down of what you should expect if you can make it out. For starters, don't expect to see anything fancy.
Day 1 was full of passing, shooting and skating drills. Defensemen practiced carrying pucks out from behind the net and they ran through a 2 on 1 drill, but it wasn't an ideal set-up for player evaluation. Players were flying in every direction and they were using both ends of the rink at the same time. It will be a little easier to focus on individual players when they separate the groups (Tuesday - Thursday).
Day 1 Notes / Highlights:
Mark Scheifele - The kid looks great. He was the best and most confident player on the ice. He is obviously bigger and he seemed a lot quicker. He showed off his patience and passing during the 2-on-1 drills, even intentionally banking a pass off the goalie to set up his flanking winger. He also sniped a number of shots when he was alone and pulled in some ugly passes without breaking stride. This kid is fun to watch.
Jacob Trouba - His skating and his shot jump out at you right away. I don't think he gets many chances to get in tight on goaltenders, but he went roof daddy a couple times in the drills. He also showed off a nice crisp pass during some of the passing drills. Getting a sneak peek of Trouba is one of the highlights of this camp. I believe NCAA obligations will keep him out of training camp, you may not see him again for another couple years.
Carl Klingberg - He is a big kid and a smooth skater. He seems to have a lot of fun out there. I noticed him a few times and he flashed some puck skills before blasting his shots two or three feet wide of the net.
Zach Yuen - This kid is an amazing skater. When the D men ran their breakout drills his feet were fun to watch. He changes directions with such ease. He showed good burst too.
Jordan Samuels-Thomas - I don't know if I noticed him or if I was looking for him, but I like what I saw. He skates well for a big man (he is pretty dang big) and he had a wicked release on his wrister. He put a quick one off the goalies mask in one of the drills.
Will O’Neill - He caught my eye a couple times too. He is another smooth skating defender, although he did bail hard behind the net when during the breakout drill. That was probably a one time thing. I expect him to get a good look from the Ice Caps 2012-13. He may be this year's Zach Redmond.
Zach Redmond - He is a smooth skater and he looked sharp off and on throughout the drills.
Vinny Saponari - I didn't see him a lot, but he put a beauty of a move on one of the goalies 1-on-1. I really hope this kid pans out. The system desperately needs depth at RW.
Cody Sol - He is noticeably big, but also noticeably slow. I know he stepped up his offensive game this year, but I am not sure he has the speed / skill to be much more than an enforcer at the NHL level. Then again, shooting and skating drills aren't great for evaluating big-man hockey.
John Albert - He looked really sharp. Smooth skater and a nice shot. He is another player that is hard to project. He perfomed well in St. John's last year. May cap out at being pretty farm good.
Nicolas Bligh - I saw this kid buzzing around a couple times, but I had no idea who he was. Thankfully Ben cleared that up for me. I am very curious to see which (if any) unsigned players get deals or invites to training camp. Matt White caught my eye a couple times too.
Zach O'Brien - He looked a little quicker than I anticipated and wasn't obviously smaller than the rest of 'em. It would be nice to see this kid stick with the Ice Caps. He has a chance and he would add some nice local flavor to their lineup.
Adam Lowry - He also skates really well for a big man and he is even bigger than JST. My head was spinning and I didn't get too many good looks at him though. Maybe Ryan can add a little insight. *** Yes, I can. Ryan here, and I thought that Lowry looked great. His skating stride looked smooth, and his top speed was good for a big man. It looked effortless, yet he was flying. I am very interested to see how he pans out, but other then Scheifele and Trouba he was the most noticeable on the ice to me.
Lukas Sutter - I was looking for him, but to be honest he never stood out. That said, it was really hard to follow the action and the quicker skaters were generally the easiest to see. Again, Ryan might have more. *** Sutter wasn't a disappointment, but he didn't really do anything noticeable. He looked solid, his speed and hands looked good, but I had to look at my sheet to find out what number he was and make sure he was out on the ice at one point. Still a project, but I hope he impresses more as the week goes along.
Scott Kosmachuk - Ryan mentioned him a couple times, but I was always looking in the other direction. Hopefully he can add a little more insight on Kos as well. *** While Sutter didn't really jump out at me, Kosmachuk did. He was flying out there, and looked like he knew what he was doing. His speed and hands looked very good. I have a feeling that Kosmachuk falling to us in the 3rd round may turn out to be a steal. Very impressed.
That's what I saw during yesterday's skate. Sorry for doing such a crap job of following Lowry / Sutter / Kosmachuk, hopefully Ryan can rectify this. If you have any questions, ask away. If you make it out to any of the other practices, please share your insights. Just type 'em up and throw them in a Fan Post.