The Winnipeg Jets took to the ice for the third-straight day of their Summer Development Camp, and I was there for the 9:30 session to watch Group B today. Below is a photo of the group sheet and some of my thoughts:
Thoughts from today:
- The forwards spent a large chunk of the practice huddled together in a meeting and then working on face-offs, so it was hard to get a really in-depth read on them.
- Nikolaj Ehlers looked like the real-deal today. I took a bit of heat on Monday for some reason when I suggested he didn't look great in his first day of an NHL camp in July despite giving him a pass because he was probably nervous and/or jet-lagged. He certainly looked great today though. He has the combination of speed and shot that should have Jets fans salivating. He scored multiple goals during some individual drills with the shot that appears to be pin-point accurate and hard. I'm very glad he was still around at the 9th selection.
- Scott Kosmachuk looks to have formed some chemistry with Ehlers already, as the two spent the majority of the practice together during the drills as well as various others things like stretching. Kosmachuk has a bullet of a shot as well. His transition to pro will be an interesting one to watch.
- Ryan Olsen continues to impress me, and I'm not sure why. I just like how he looks out there, despite his likely role as a bottom-six forward. He just strikes me as a guy who can play the 200-foot game while still chipping in some offence. His hands look good.
- Jimmy Lodge caught my attention today as well, as he displayed speed and puck-handling skills during the individual drills. I look forward to seeing him in some traffic during the scrimmage on Friday.
- Axel Blomqvist is... um... tall. He just looks a little awkward out there with his stride, but he managed to get to where he needs to be and his hands look pretty good for a big man (6'6 212). Still, some of the smaller guys managed to dart around him in some drills.
- I didn't see Kalle Kossila out there today, and Blake Tatchell, Reid Sturos and Ben Walker all did some nice things at times, but it looked like they needed to work harder to do the same things that the others didn't have to. Luckily, it looks like they all work hard. Sturos did manage to finish off some nice plays during a 2-on-2 drill though.
- There were only four defenders on the ice today, despite having 7 listed on the sheet.
- Tucker Poolman was the most noticeable of the four on the ice, which isn't surprising as he was the only guy out there that wasn't an invite. He looked good in some drills and appears to be a good skater.
- Nolan Zajac was next on my list, as he continued to stand out a bit during individual drills. He has quick hands and can skate, but again his size may be a bit of an issue. He got a bit overworked in some battle drills.
- Kevin Lohan and Jared Hauf were the other two guys out there, and boy are they big. At 6'5 202 and 6'6 216, respectively, the big guys looked okay if not a little awkward just due to their long limbs. Didn't see a ton of battle drills though, as I'd be curious to see how they could use their size in net-front battles.
- Connor Hellebuyck is huge out there, and covers the net really well. He does look like the blocking-type of goalie that we've heard him talk about. Lots to like about his stature and calmness in the crease.
- Jason Kasdorf and Jussi Olkinuora both spent some time out there and both looked pretty solid, though again it's hard to say how a goalie is doing during these drills. I'm interested to see how Kasdorf does coming back from his surgery.