Ed. Note: We will be hosting St. John's IceCaps' GDT's this season in lieu of Jets' GDT's due to the current NHL labour dispute, starting next week.
The St. John’s Ice Caps announced their Training Camp schedule as well as the full list of invitees early yesterday morning. While there will be many familiar faces returning to "The Rock", fans will also get a close up of some new faces, such as that of Alexander Burmistrov.
Due to the influx of NHL players, the camp roster is a little smaller this year than most. Only forty players received invites this year as opposed to the 50+ that would get invited some years.
Here is the full list of players (according to the Ice Caps official site):
Forwards: Alexander Burmistrov, Ivan Telegin, Kevin Clark, Patrice Cormier, John Albert, Norm Ezekiel, Aaron Gagnon, Jason Gregoire, Brayden Irwin, Jason Jaffray, Ray Kaunisto, Jason King, Carl Klingberg, Josh Lunden, Maxime Macenauer, Spencer Machacek, Ben Maxwell, Eric O`Dell, Raymond Sawada, Ryan Schnell, Joey Sides, Brian Sutherby, Hunter Tremblay and Derek Whitmore.
At a cursory glance, this looks like a strong roster for a team that was runner-up to last year's Eastern Conference Champions -- the Norfolk Admirals.
Offensively, newcomers Alexander Burmistrov and Ivan Telegin should add some of the speed and sizzle that last year’s roster lacked. Jason Jaffray is back and healthy too, which is an added bonus. Meanwhile, players like Joey Sides, Derek Whitmore and Hunter Tremblay have performed well at the AHL and ECHL levels thus far, and will be relied upon to add depth.
On defense, the IceCaps will enter a transitioning phase. Brett Festerling and Artrus Kulda are no longer with the club, ceding their positions to Jets' prospects Cody Sol and Julian Melchiori. This should result in an adjustment period, but Paul Postma and Derek Meech should be there (at least to start the season) to iron out the kinks.
In goal, fans should expect an interesting battle. Eddie Pasquale had a breakout season last year, but Mark Dekanich has been a dominant AHL netminder for awhile now. Head Coach Keith McCambridge will have his hands full deciding on a starter.
As Jets fans, what should we be watching for?
- Where will Telegin land on the depth chart? If he can push for top line minutes as an AHL rookie, it will be a great sign moving forward.
- What will the added depth mean for Carl Klingberg? This kid needs to show some consistency and it won’t be easy for him to do if he is getting third line ice-time.
- What kind of impact will Sol and Melchiori have as rookies? Both showed huge growth last year.
- Can Sol continue to progress as more than goon? Here, I am not so sure.
- Will Zach Redmond be able to replicate last year’s success? He started off hot last season, but his scoring pace slowed late in the season.
- Who will be the Ice Caps number one net-minder? It could be a battle if Dex is healthy.
- Will any surprises make the roster? Likewise, who will be bumped down to the ECHL?
For anyone that lives in the area, the team’s camp schedule is as follows (per the team site):
Monday, October 1st, 2012: 3 p.m. – Practice Group A. 4:15 p.m. – Practice Group B
Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012: 10 a.m. – Practice Group B, 11 a.m. – Scrimmage, Group B vs. Group A, 12 noon – Practice Group A
Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012: 10 a.m. – Practice Group A, 11 a.m. – Scrimmage Group A vs. Group B, 12 noon – Practice Group B
Thursday, October 4th, 2012: 9 a.m. – Practice Group B, 10 a.m. – Pre-game skate at Pepsi Centre, Group A, 7:30 p.m. – IceCaps vs. Crunch at Pepsi Centre
Friday, October 5th, 2012: 9 a.m. – Practice Group A, 10 a.m. – Pre-game skate at Pepsi Centre, Group B, 7:30 p.m. – IceCaps vs. Crunch at Stephenville Dome
Saturday, October 6th, 2012: 9 a.m. – Practice, Team leaves Corner Brook following practice
Sunday, October 7th, 2012: 2 p.m. – IceCaps vs. Crunch at Clarenville Events Centre
Is there anything else you will be looking for from the Ice Caps this year? Let us know in the comments section below!