The Winnipeg Jets began their 2014 Summer Development Camp today at the MTS Iceplex, and I was able to make it down to watch some of the prospects and undrafted free agents today. And nobody threw a shoe at me! That's a win in my book. But as I've been saying on Twitter and various other places: This is my positive week, as I have nothing bad to say about the prospects. It's not their fault...
Anyways, enough of my nonsense. Here's what I have to "report" from today:
Here's a pic of the groups of skaters for the week. Both groups were on the ice at the same time so today was just about watching everyone and seeing who jumped off the ice.
News and Notes:
According to Jimmy Roy, the absence of Copp, Lane and Serville is because of school obligations.— PATRICK WILLIAMS (@pwilliamsNHL) July 7, 2014
Roy doesn't expect Lipon and Lowry to be on the ice this week, but they'll be all set for off-center work next week.— PATRICK WILLIAMS (@pwilliamsNHL) July 7, 2014
Patrick Williams provided a few updates about why Adam Lowry and J.C. Lipon weren't out on the ice and why Andrew Copp, Tanner Lane and Brennan Serville would be absent from camp. Makes sense. Jack Glover is another guy who won't be here. I do wonder why Josh Morrissey couldn't have made it into town just to hangout with the prospects as well, but it's no big deal. He's earned his rest.
However, perhaps the most newsworthy part of today may have been the following:
Dale Hawerchuk on the ice as a guest coach? Huh. I realize that he summers around town and has a cabin up in Gimli and everything, but this was an unexpected development. Perhaps a future assistant coach with the Jets?
As mentioned above, both groups were on the same sheet of ice at the same time so there was lots going on, but I've compiled a few thoughts below:
- Nikolaj Ehlers looked a little tentative out there today, as he fumbled a few passes and shots and didn't seem to display the top-notch speed that we've all heard about, but I'll give the kid a pass. Hopefully he gets more confident as the week progresses. Having said all of that, he made perhaps the nicest play of the day and drew some "oooohs" and "aaaaahs" from the crowd on a nice dangle/pass combo.
- With five goalies sharing two nets out there, it was hard to get a really good feel for how any of them did. Still, Eric Comrie was the one guy that seemed to make a bunch of saves. I do recall Connor Hellebuyck making a few impressive stops, though.
- The three invites that I noticed today were Jared Hauf, Karson Kuhlman and Nolan Zajac. Kuhlman impressed with his blazing speed, Zajac (Travis' little brother) looks like quite the composed defender and Hauf is a big dude that seemed to skate well. I look forward to seeing more of them this week.
- Nicolas Petan and Chase De Leo looked like left-handed twins out there, and that's both a good and bad thing. Petan (5'9) and De Leo (5'10) both appear to have speed and skill to burn, but boy do they look small out there. The Portand Winterhawks teammates will certainly be worth watching to see how they progress, as the talent is readily apparent, but yeah. That size factor is clearly why they dropped in the draft but is hopefully something that they can overcome in the "new" NHL.
- A few "honourable mentions" from the brief viewing today are Tucker Poolman, Axel Bloomqvist and Jimmy Lodge. These three guys looked a step ahead of some of the rest.
My 3 Stars (of the day which is pretty much who was the most noticeable)
- 3rd Star: Nic Petan The kid is uber-talented. Whether or not he can grind out the NHL game with his stature remains to be seen, but he can put on a show. It'll be interesting to see how his game stacks up against much bigger NHL defenders.
- 2nd Star: Scott Kosmachuk In what looks like it could turn into a 3rd-round steal, the OHL sniper was clearly one of the better players on the ice. And as one of the "older" prospects, it'll be interesting to see how he does this week and whether or not he can press for duty out of Jets camp later this fall.
- 1st Star: Ryan Olsen He's been one of the better players at each summer camp that I've been to, and he again jumped off of the ice to me today. At 6'2 and 194, I'm really interested to see how his game will translate at the pro level. To me, he looks like an ideal 3rd-liner.