Prospects Camp is great because it's the first sign that a new season is upon us. What I do as I watch is make a check mark every time a guy makes a good play, no matter what kind of a play it is.
I had 16 guys that I highlighted that I really wanted to check out, more than ever before. The play was alot more defensively oriented than other years, as I'm sure the players are aware that without a strong defensive game they have no chance with Boucher being the coach.
The most impressive forward was Nick Paul and not because he scored two goals, but he was dominant on most of his shifts. Next was the impressive new speed of Babcock, Bowers, Formenton, and the new undrafted (actually he was drafted but went unsigned) Matteo Gennaro can really move. This kid can play. I think we should sign Babcock and Gennaro if we want an AHL turnaround.
Other impressive forwards were Chlapik and the new kid Bowers looks like a winner. White was pretty much invisible until the 3 on 3 and then he not only scored on a great move on a breakaway but came close to setting up a couple of more.
Logan Brown looks like a longer term project, as he is an awkward skater who needs to grow into that huge body. All the same he made some nice plays, but I expected more.
One guy I had given up on who really showed up was Gabriel Gagné. Mark him down as the biggest surprise among the forwards besides Gennaro followed by Chlapik.
On the defence, of course Chabot was impressive at moving the puck, and he can really move too.You can see how eager he is to join the rush and he will fit in well, and hopefully grow into our EK#2.
I'd try Chabot with Phaneuf on the second pairing, as Phaneuf loves to play the right side. I don't expect that to ever happen, but I would try that in exhibition, because I'd rather see Ceci succeed big time on the third pairing, and let Boro, Harpur and Wideman platoon with Ceci, while giving Claessen a real chance to play several games with EK. But I'm digressing here.
The biggest surprises were Cody Donaghey who was the best hitter and played solidly and Christian Jaros.
The most impressive goalie was Joel Daccord who stoned them in the first period. He's the dark horse goalie in this organization in my opinion. Hogberg is vulnerable through the five hole.
Who do I think will make the big team? Chabot probably, Paul a long shot, probably among the last cuts and a call up, and Chlapik maybe as a later callup. Jaros who shoots right, will overtake Wideman as soon as he gets a chance as a callup. He is way more solid with the puck and wins more battles than Wideman. And Ceci better watch out for this guy too. I'd love to see how Jaros and Phaneuf line up together.
And Donaghey and Phaneuf would make a dangerous pairing if they ever get to play together.