You'll have to forgive me, but I missed the first 25-30 minutes of the Group A session at this morning's Winnipeg Jets' Development Camp as I couldn't get out of house on time. The little one had us running around for a little while.
Regardless, I walked into to the MTS Iceplex just before 10:00AM and settled in to watch the first group of the day finish off their practice. Sadly, I missed a fair amount of one-on-one drills, but I did manage to make a few notes on them before they finished. I did, however, catch all of Group B, which included Mark Scheifele, Jacob Trouba and Joshua Morrissey.
- As I mentioned above, I did miss a fair amount of the first session. However, I did manage to catch a number of solid moves and plays during some 2-on-2 battle drills and managed to again notice some players.
- J.C. Lipon, Nicolas Petan, Adam Lowry, Scott Kosmachuk and Austin Czarnik were the five forwards that jumped out at me in my brief viewing. Andrew Copp, Matt White and Lukas Sutter were likely the next three.
- Lipon and Lowry were a pair that dominated in the 2-on-2 drills, The two of them combined on a gorgeous give-and-go goal that had me salivating at the thought of those two playing together for a long time.
- On the defensive side, I liked Julian Melchiori, Ben Chiarot, Brendan Kichton and Zach Loesch. Jan Kostalek and Marcus Karlstrom just missed and get my honorable mentions.
- When the first session was over and they flooded the ice for Group B, a number of players headed out to the opposite rink and put in some extra work. Melchiori, Kostalek, Lipon, Sutter, Copp, Juho Olkinuora and Jamie Phillips spent about 20 extra minutes doing some drills. Melchiori and Lipon looked good out there, too.
- Group B had the "star power", and what more can be said about Scheifele and Trouba? Those two are easily the best guys out there. Scheifele's shot is HEAVY and his hands are so quick, while his skating is much improved. I expect him to crack the lineup with the Jets this season, as he looks way better than he did at last summer's camp. And Trouba makes it look so easy out there, it hard not to marvel at his skill level.
- I thought that Morrissey looked really smooth out there with his skating and puck control, but I thought he played rather small during some of the battle drills. It's not surprising that he'll need to get stronger, but his skill is certainly evident.
- I focused on Brennan Serville, Tucker Poolman, Jimmy Lodge and Matt Bailey the most today. Serville and Bailey were the two that made an impression. Serville made a number of excellent outlet passes in the drills, has quick feet and looked solid defensively. Matt Bailey impressed me big time. He kept scoring goals during the battle drills, and his skating is impressive.
- It's not that Lodge and Poolman didn't look fine, but they didn't make as many impressive plays. I am interested to see what Poolman will look like after some time at UND.
- Ryan Olsen looked really good too, and Cody Sol turn-stiled a guy during an offensive rush. I never thought I'd see that happen. While he'll never be a burner, Sol looks much better than I recall from last summer.
- Tanner Lane, Austen Brassard, David Johnstone and Peter Stoykewych were also names that I matched up to the numbers after seeing some nice work.
- All of the goalies have looked good, but I really like what Olkinuora and Hellebuyck have done. Heck, I'd probably pick either of them over Ondrej Pavelec right about now, but that's just me... =P
There are a number of guys that I haven't mentioned in the past two days, and unfortunately it's for good reason. Some of the invites look a step too slow and a few inches too short. But the overall depth at this camp is so much better than last years that it's silly. Way more passes are on the tape and way more speed is being displayed.
Editor Ryan Blight will be covering the Winnipeg Jets' Development Camp all week. Stay tuned for his next instalment.