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I had the pleasure of freezing my ass off (seriously, did 11 years of minor hockey not teach me to bring a sweater?) and watching the Day One open practice from the Ottawa Senators development camp.
Before talking about individual players, I just thought I'd make some general comments on the afternoon.
First, the place was packed. Hats off to Sens fans. We weren't loud, but there were many people there.
Second, Marc Power (the skating coach) is very commanding on the ice, and started and ended the two hour practice with some very intense drills.
The set up was 15 minutes power skating, some two-on-one drills, some battling drills. Then intermission. Some more break out, on the rush drills, a cool scrimmage-type drill, where when the whistle blew, Cameron called out how many guys were to come out next, and the puck was left where it was. Then lastly some more power skating, with the parachutes.
Lastly, I found it interesting to note that Dave Cameron ran the show today. MacLean was nowhere to be seen, Tim and Bryan were upstairs, but on the ice (aside from the ~20-30 minutes of power skating) Dave Cameron was in charge. I found it pretty interesting. Check after the jump for thoughts on individual players!
If you don't have time to read all of it, I'll recap at the bottom, and I'll bold this years draft picks!
The Goalies: All three were pretty unspectacular, and undrafted. Clearly just needed some guys in the nets. Interesting that Lehner isn't here though... guess he's not a prospect anymore?
Bryce Aneloski: Fairly unspectacular, as many of the D-men were. Seems to have a good point shot.
Ben Blood: Ottawa's best named prospect seems like a really good guy, was joking and talking to a bunch of the guys between drills. Also, he's huge. Not such a great skater though.
Mark Borowiecki: Not the most talented player on the ice, but he works hard, battles, and challenges guys physically. Also interesting to note, Power had him demonstrate all the drills.
Fredrik Claesson: Hilarious to watch this kid. Calls for the puck and talks to his teammates on the ice in like a high-pitched Swedish accent. Also was part of the only 1-on-1 in the cool scrimmage, and dominated Sorenson, using his size.
Jared Cowen: He's huge. Like, really big. He's very powerful, and uses his powerful stride, and strong upper body to his advantage. Really muscled some guys today.
Jordan Fransoo: Really didn't notice him. He had a sweet pokecheck in a two-on-two in the scrimmage that should have resulted in a breakaway for him, but he's slow.
Kirill Lyamin: Oldest player at camp, second rounder from 04! Hardly noticed him.
David Rundblad: Much bigger than I thought he was. Kinda wish I saw some more hustle from him, he didn't seem very engaged, but you can tell the talent is there.
Chris Wideman: Got absolutely burned by Pageau in a one-on-one drill.
Patrick Wiercioch: Looked really good actually. Very smooth, very polished. Still wish he would use his size better.
Pat Cannone: He's not very good. Or at least wasn't today. Depth in Bingo I guess.
Louie Caporusso: Unreal speed on this guy, but not as much finish as you would like. Spent the first 3 minutes of the skate-around chatting up Cameron.
Jeff Costello: wasn't on the ice.
Corey Cowick: Skating has improved, but I can't see him as more than a third liner in Bingo, just not a tonne of skill.
Jakub Culek: He is really big. Hit Zibanejad in the scrimmage and scored the only goal of the scrimmage, but other than that, didn't notice him much.
Stephane Da Costa: He looked terrible. I'm serious. He didn't look focused, and I didn't see him score on a shot off the rush, the whole time (most of the drills were off the rush shooting). Maybe he had an off day, but in my opinion, there is no way he makes the Sens playing like that.
Ryan Dzingel: Pretty nifty little player actually. Good puck skills, pretty quick, but not very big.
David Dziurzynski: Hardly noticed him. Not a lot of skill in his game, seems to be a decent skater.
Derek Grant: Hardly noticed the guy.
Wacey Hamilton: Much like Cowick, he's older than most guys there, is a good skater, has a decent shot, but I don't see him as more than a third liner in bingo, maybe NHL 4th liner one day.
Mike Hoffman: This kid is full of nasty. His wrist shot is deadly, and there weren't many guys on the ice more dangerous off the rush.
Darren Kramer: Only guy on the ice without a visor! Seemed like a good guy, joking with other guys on the ice. Better shot than I expected.
Max McCormick: This kids got decent jam. A real battler, but not a great skater, and not a great shooter.
Stefan Noesen: At first I was a little unsure about him. He didn't look great in the opening skating drills (he was trying hard but kept falling), or the first two-on-one drills. But the as soon as the first battling drills came, I found out why Bryan liked this kid. He's a worker, and once he got himself engaged physically, his stick skills magically materialized. Good wrist shot, good passer, but a bullet slap shot, not so accurate. Hilarious at the end though, him and Prince set up at one net, Prince setting Noesen up for one-timers, and Noesen didn't put even one in the net. Needs to work on those I guess.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau: I love this kid. He isn't very big, was one of the smallest guys on the ice, but holy moly, does he ever have game. Really deadly off the rush, and in a one-on-one situation, made Wideman look like a pylon he went by him so fast.
Brad Peltz: someone people were impressed with at last years camp, I thought he was so-so today. Lots of guys with his skillset (small, skilled, quick) and out of them, he wasn't anywhere near the best.
Andre Petersson: first guy on the ice, did some cool things with the puck waiting for everyone else to come out. Almost nobody tried harder at the skating drills. Thought he was a better scorer than he showed, but the main concern with this guy is injuries, and sure enough, he didn't show up after the intermission, or at least I didnt see him.
Shane Prince: The guy who stood out the most in my opinion. He is absolutely filthy with the puck, and is extremely quick. Off the rush, his shot is incredible. He almost scored every time he shot the puck, and he really likes to shoot. Think maybe he needs to work on his conditioning, looked bagged during the last skating drill (with the parachutes)
Matt Puempel: Did not appear on the ice during the practice. Wonder if the hip failed to pass inspection in the morning.
Jakob Silfverberg: Might have been one of the best players on the ice. I have no idea what his ceiling is, whether he's a scorer at the NHL level, but he looked good. Scored a couple dirty goals off the rush, crossbar and in. Seems good in front of the net, and can really fly out there.
Marcus Sorensen: Really the only noticeable thing about him was the fact that Zibanejad partnered with him whenever he could. Also, him and Peltz traded sticks and the end (Sorensen is a lefty, Peltz is a righty) and then played keep away with each other. It was pretty funny. Also, Sorensen had a better right handed slap shot than you might think!
Mark Stone: Really thought I would be more impressed with him than I was to be honest. He is good in front of the net, but his skating needs a tonne of work, and he doesn't do so well off the rush. Definitely a project player, but he has good size.
Mika Zibanejad: What you've all been waiting for (even those of you who didn't read much of it). He looked... nervous. He was the last player to get on the ice, and for the first half hour, he looked uneasy. But by the time the two-on-one drill came, he finally showed what he could do. He has really soft hands, and is a better playmaker than I thought he was. His wrist shot needs work, and to be honest, he goes five-hole almost every time, and it didn't work often. Didn't see the slap shot that is supposed to be so good. He drilled somebody in one of the battle drills though, and looked good in front of the net as he has good size. I can definately see him being a fixture in front of the net on the powerplay going forward.
There you have it! It took me forever, and its really long, but I figure one or two people will read all of it.
Most impressive: Shane Prince
Least Impressive: Da Costa
Mika Watch: Looked good, just a little uneasy.