Hello again internet friends! After a two day hiatus, I returned to the Bell Sensplex for day five of the Development camp. I once again, due to transportation issues, only saw the final 45 minutes or so of the practice (and stayed after to watch them fool around), but it was enough to atleast give you some information. I'm planning on attending the whole practice this afternoon, and if you aren't sick of these by now, let me know in the comment section and I'll do another big write up.
I arrived in time to see them practicing 3 on 3 (they were basically playing the hockey equivalent of basketball half court three on three) and to do one final station drill where one station was backwards skating with a parachute, one station was skating with a coach water skiing behind you trying to slow you down until you hit the blue line, and the other station was a shooting station, with a couple passes before a 2-on-0.
Ben Blood: this guy is tough as nails, and works harder than almost everyone on the ice. He has a decent wrist shot that he used a couple times in the practice 3-on-3 but, overall, he has quite a bit of work to do, especially with his skating and puck handling.
Fredrik Claesson: Is actually really good with the puck. I've heard lots of Anton comparisons, but Anton always looked like he was holding the puck with like it was a hand grenade, and Fredrik is actually quite smooth.
Jordan Fransoo: was practicing one timers at the end of practice with Sorenson, but his slap shot isn't very good. Went bar-down a couple times with his wrist shot though, earlier in the practice.
Jared Cowen: Holy man is this guy strong. On the "water skiing" drill, he was an absolute beast. They had to go get a heavier coach to try to slow him down, and even then he just powered along.
Patrick Wiercioch: In the three on three looked really good. I think my money might be on his Orange Team to win on Monday.
Forwards apres le jump.
Jakob Culek: I was pretty unimpressed with him the first few times I went, but on day five I could see some really good things in him. He has a great, quick release wrist shot that I didn't see until today, and in front of the net, at the end of practice, was doing some pretty neat stuff with the puck. I still see him as a project, but with his size and hands, there is potential there.
Mark Stone: Another big guy that I was harsh towards in my first two posts, must have read them and decided to prove me wrong. Still not a great skater, but I can at least see how he managed to pile up all those points this year. His touch around the net is impressive for a big man.
Mike Hoffman: one of my most written about players, didn't look as good in the three on three practice. His teammates on team blue aren't the most creative bunch though, so I don't think what he was trying to do worked.
Stefan Noesen: May one day end up as my favourite Senator. It seems fitting that we traded Mike Fisher for him, because he has some Fisher-esque qualities. He is such a battler along the boards, and in the 3-on-3 a couple times did a power move out of the corner before displaying such soft hands around the net. Once again he was one of the last guys left on the ice, and it seems like him and Zibanejad are bros. They were making fun of each other and shooting pucks at one another on the ice at the end. One more thing about Noesen, and something that will serve him well going forward: this kid hates failure. Even if he just misses an opportunity that he thinks he should have converted, he gets visibly upset, and then gets himself ready for the next chance.
Shane Prince: Once again, I'll say it, this kids got great skills, but he definitely needs some time, because it doesn't translate well into success in the game-type situations, but he has the stuff you can't teach.
Jokob Silfverberg: Looks like a pro. Super focused in the drills, isn't one of those guys you look at and say "needs to add x amount of muscle". Really excited to see what he eventually brings to the table.
Mika Zibanejad: he's really good. The kid is silk. He doesn't have the nasty factor of a Filatov or Hoffman, but everything he does with the puck is so smooth, so fluid, and he is always in control. On the 2-on-0 drill he wow-ed the crowd on two consecutive plays; once as the puck carrier, when he scored a dirty goal by looking directly at the guy he was doing the drill with, like he was going to pass, and firing a no-look shot right in, making the goalie look stupid, and once as he one timer-ed a bullet from one knee, bar down. In the water-skiing drill (which the coaches, including Luke Richardson, were LOVING) he looked as strong as an ox, and he has a great, powerful skating stride.
So there you have it. Some more of my thoughts. I'm heading to the practice in about an hour and a half, if there is anything/anyone you'd like me to focus on, I'll check the comments right before I leave, or tweet at me @DaveYoung19 while I'm there. Hope you are enjoying these, and if you'd like I'll publish one more tonight, and hopefully Peter can give us a great recap of the three on three Monday, when I will sadly be at work.