The Winnipeg Jets Summer Development Camp continued on today as the two groups were separated into two different time slots. So as to not overload you with a big recap of both groups in one giant post, I decided to focus on the 9:30 slot only today which was group A (photo of group sheet below):
Thoughts from today:
- Nicolas Petan again showed why so many people are high on him despite his size, as he is just so skilled. He looks extremely confident in his abilities and looks like he's able to slow the play down, as the puck seems glued to his stick. I'll be very interested in seeing how he does later in the week during the battle drills, as that's where my concern comes in.
- Chase De Leo, the other small Portand Winterhawk, also showed his skill. It looks like a different type of skill from Petan though, as he appears to be a little quicker and shiftier but doesn't quite have the same ability to create space and slow things down. Again, size is the concern, but just like Petan the skill is clearly there.
- Austen Brassard is the only pro at the camp and it showed during the drills. He is big, fast and probably the most "polished". He took it strong to the net, made nice passes and looked a step above the rest which isn't surprising. It's good to see him here after all of the "intrigue" about him taking a leave from St. John's last season.
- C.J. Franklin (2014 5th-rounder) has a quality shot and can get to where he needs to go quickly, but his skating stride looked a little "choppy" as per Terrel. I'd agree with that. But, he seems to make it work.
- Matt Ustaski (2014 7th-rounder) is a big body out there at 6'6 and 225 lbs, but he can move for a big guy. He made it look easy against some off the smaller guys during some drills. Certainly and intriguing late draft pick.
- Brendan Harms and Karson Kuhlman were the two forward invites who were noticeable today. Harms, a Steinbach native, never gave up on a play and outworked a lot of the others during drills, while Kuhlman continued to impress with his top speed. Interesting to note that Kuhlman was ranked 94th amongst North American skaters in Central Scouting's final draft rankings this past summer yet went undrafted.
- Joseph Blandisi and Justin Hickman didn't stick out to me much so I'll keep a closer eye on them later this week.
- Marcus Karlstrom was the only defender on the ice today that was actually Jets property, as Nelson Nogier and Aaron Harstad weren't on the ice. Perhaps that's why he stood out the most of the blue liners. He looked very composed and solid.
- Ralfs Freibergs is an undrafted Olympian who played for Latvia at the Sochi Games, and he was the next defender who was noticeable. He's a '91 birthday so he's certainly older than most of the rest, but I thought he looked really good. I'd like to see him retained in some capacity in the organization.
- Shane Hanna and Taylor Fleming looked okay, but much like Blandisi and Hickman above I didn't really notice them stand out. I'll try to look at them again on Thursday.
- Eric Comrie looked good in his brief appearance, but he was replaced by Jamie Phillips fairly early into the session so it was hard to get a good look. He was gone before a bunch of the drills started.
- Speaking of Phillips, the Michigan Tech goalie looked fine. He's tall and lanky, but he looks pretty composed.
- Jussi Olkinuora looked okay too, although it's hard to tell how things are going for goalies during breakaway and 2-on-1 drills. He has a very important year coming up. He has one more year on his deal and with Connor Hellebuyck likely heading to St. John's and the chance that Michael Hutchinson and his 2-way deal this year ends up there too, he'll need to do a lot to get re-upped. I'm rooting for him.