Yay. Hockey is back. The good news first. We have added alot more speed. The Sens brought in alot of speedball types, including guys that have been drafted and several undrafted speedsters as well. For the first time, the scrimmage was 3 periods.
The kids who impressed me the most were Colin White, Angus Crookshank, Markus Nurmi, Alex Formenton and undrafted Luka Burzan. On defence, Christian Wolanin was the best puck mover, while Jacob Bernard-Docker and Jonathan Tychonchick show alot of promise.
White was far and above the best player, as he kept creating scoring chances, and was the center of the action almost every shift. He took a hard shot off the leg in the last minute and limped off, so I hope he isn't hurt ttoo badly for training camp.
The funny thing is that the red team was stacked with all of the supposed closest to NHL-ready talent and they lost 6 - 3. Part of the reason for that was the play of Jordan Hollett who far and above was the best of the goalies. Filip Gustavsson let in a flurry of goals.
Brady Tkachuk impressed with his playmaking. He also lost the puck several times and then went out for revenge. He seemed more intent on hitting someone than scoring goals. At one point he had words with Filip Chlapik after on headhunting episode. I don't know about the wisdom of spending our 4th overall pick on him. Time will tell on that one. He does have the speed.
The most impressive new draftee was Crookshank, who was involved in some beautiful passing plays, and was easily the 2nd best forward after White.
The bad news is that Logan Brown could not keep up with the pace and was a few steps behind the play consistently. Those of you counting on him to be a top 6 forward had better prepare for a long wait for that to happen if it ever does. Like Gabriel Gagné he seems to have alot of tools, but doesn't make much of anything happen when he is in the ice at this level. The NHL is not like Junior where you can get away with being slow. Gagné is a puzzle because he is not slow. But like Brown he always seems to be on the periphery at this level.
Drake Batherson was in on alot of scoring chances but didn't finish any of them. He seems to be skating better.
Aaron Luckuk was completely unnoticeable.
It's hard to say how much any of this new speed is going to affect the current Sens, but it will hopefully help improve the Baby Sens. When the game is on the line, Boucher does not put kids on the ice. He puts the veterans out there, and will that change this year because GMPD told him to play the kids? We will see.
NHL-ready players? IMO, Wolanin, White and maybe Formenton. Tkachuk, we will see.