July 17th, 2008, 05:20 PM #81
July 17th, 2008, 05:21 PM #82
Bear in mind I only saw two "drill" days for the Gold group specifically, and one of them I was late. I'm a lot less confident with these than the purple group.
Pre-camp thoughts: Top Manchester D-man next year?
Initial Observations: Wants the job
Development: Bagnall is one of those players I didn't want to read about, simply because I was getting such mixed reviews that if I predisposed myself to one of those observations, I'd gravitate toward the wrong one. Overall, though, Bagnall just showing up is reflecting what Dean was saying about some kids appreciating the chance they're getting and he was taking a bit of a leadership role among the d-men.
He skates very well and makes smart plays with the puck, and he's one of the better one-on-one d-men, especially from this group. He needs to keep his head up more to evaluate his options, and one breakout pass Kompon wasn't happy with how he wasn't looking, and said, "Bags! Come on!" He won't shy away from physical contact, but he's not a physical defenseman.
When he's on the ice, he communicates well with his teammates. He motions to his partner who to cover, and stays with his man. He quarterbacked the powerplay during the special teams scrimmage quite well, and while he wasn't the catalyst of any goals, it was at least serviceable while under his watch.
If he makes the NHL, he'll be: #3, 4, 5, 6 d-man. He could be a top d-man on a bad team (or a team that's not NHL caliber). He will do whatever role is asked of him, but down the road, I just don't think his skills and style fit in with a top pairing d-man.
Pre-camp thoughts: To hell with pre-camp thoughts, I just want to have initial observations
Initial Observations: Just came out of nowhere.
Development: Cliche was one of those players I wanted to see, but didn't know what to expect. I was watching him skate for the first time around the ice, before actual drills. He wasn't skating hard, so I really didn't know what to expect. Suddenly, he had to do skating drills, and I saw just how fast this kid is.
His acceleration is probably the top of this camp class. If he were a car, he'd go from 0 to 60 in 2.6 strides. His shot, like his skating, can come out of nowhere. He doesn't have a bullet, but there are times I was watching him shoot that I thought he'd never make one in, then he suddenly surprises the goalie with a good shot. In other words, he's inconsistent.
He's not a flashy player by any means. He can control the puck, but he lacks the creativity to do anything to wow the crowd. Not necessarily a bad thing.
If he makes the NHL, he'll be: 2nd or 3rd liner. He looked a lot like Eric Belanger before he had a down year; gets going quickly, good speed, and has the work ethic to be good defensively. Might be a bit more gritty. Not good enough to be a good first liner, and having him as a 4th liner would only be acceptable if you're running 3 scoring lines.
July 17th, 2008, 05:37 PM #83
July 17th, 2008, 05:41 PM #84
Pre-camp thoughts: Skilled European who would set himself apart
Initial Observations: I kept overlooking him
Development: Dravecky is one of those players I really struggled to see at first. There are some players who stand out and you say "Who was that?" as you furiously try to remember the jersey number, so you can look at the roster. Dravecky didn't do that initially.
But as the time went on, he started standing out a lot more. He shows very good creativity with the puck; not in a flashy manner, but he makes good decisions when it comes to carrying the puck or finding someone to redistribute the puck to. He also took on a bit of a mentoring role for Loktionov. Here's this poor, jet lagged Russian kid, who doesn't speak a lick of English, trying to do the drills. Dravecky looked like he was trying to show him how to do drills that were confusing. I don't know if he can speak Russian or not, so maybe he was just making the gestures hoping that Loktionov understood. Still, it was nice to see the older player try to help a younger player out who was REALLY struggling, especially at first.
If he makes the NHL, he'll be: 2nd liner. For the same reasons all these other prospects would be 2nd liners; lacking the top end talent, but not gritty enough for anything else.
Pre-camp thoughts: Expecting to be impressed
Initial Observations: Still expecting
Development: Drewiske was another FA signing by DL, and you like what you read about him. But you know... I can't really say he did anything I liked. There's not much a player slated for Manchester will do fundamentally wrong, except he really struggled with his passing. He just didn't look like he was trying very hard. Maybe I left too early, as it took some other prospects a while to look good, too.
If he makes the NHL, he'll be: #6/7 d-man. Maybe he had a bad camp, or maybe I suck, but he wasn't playing at a level where I feel he'd fit on an NHL team.
July 17th, 2008, 05:56 PM #85
Pre-camp thoughts: Should be better than last year
Initial Observations: Much improved
Development: Holloway was one of those players last year who, when I watched him last developmental camp, I saw a player who just didn't look like he'd make any type of NHL impact. This year, while he still likely won't make an impact, he just looks like he could be a respectable mainstay on a team. He just does everything the best he can, and while the ceiling isn't quite there, you know he's gotten better due to a strong work ethic. He's willing to play physical, skates hard, and can chip in the occasional goal. He's the epitome of a blue collar type player.
If he makes the NHL, he'll be: 3rd/4th liner. You can't help but cheer for a guy named Bud, and you hope this guy sticks to his learning curve, as he's definitely on the right path to start playing in the NHL.
Pre-camp thoughts: Didn't expect much
Initial Observations: Still very raw
Development: Kidd is one of those big players who is very raw, but at the same time doesn't show a lot of upside, either. He had to take on a bit of a lead-by-example type role in this camp, as he's the only other right handed d-man of this camp aside from Voinov. Voinov didn't look like he understood what the coaches were doing, and whenever they had a job for the right handed d-men to do, Voinov was looking at Kidd.
The problem though is that when Voinov knew what he had to do, he was doing it better than Kidd.
If he makes the NHL, he'll be: #6 d-man. People will think I'm bagging on him for comparing him to Kuznetsov, but he is what he is: a big player who, at this rate of development, should be given limited ice time at best.
July 17th, 2008, 07:31 PM #86
After reading about him in Future Greats and Heartbreaks, I really can't help but pull for the kid. I'd love to see him become a bottom-six mainstay.
Originally Posted by King'sPawn
July 17th, 2008, 08:26 PM #87
Originally Posted by PowrrrPlay
thanks for your input.
obviously the challenge with these message boards is that most contributors have never played the game at a decent levl and do not know the finer points of the game.
Also, there is a HUGE difference between a 'practice player' and a 'gamer'
the practice player looks pretty in practice and doing the drills; but a gamer will perform no matter what the challenges are during a game.
practice players do look pretty in ptractice, but become invisible in games.
it is a good thing that the coaches are the ones picking the team!
July 17th, 2008, 08:46 PM #88
Originally Posted by King'sPawn
That's a nice level of insight there. I'm sure there are a number of professional interviewers who wish they could get DL to just answer the question they ask.
Hats off to you also for having the sack to make these kind of projections/predictions with total assurance. You could've hedged your bets but did not.
July 17th, 2008, 09:35 PM #89
Thanks King'sPawn! Much appreciated!
Ignore my comment when I gave you karma. I typed "V" and accidentally hit enter instantly.
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July 17th, 2008, 11:29 PM #90
Pre-camp thoughts: Was a bit of a disappointment last year.
Initial Observations: Looks better
Development: It's odd, but even though I say Lewis looks better, his game has not really changed at all. He's a forward who accelerates well, skates fast, is defensively responsible, and gritty. He has an improved shot from last year, but all in all, he made those subtle improvements in his game that I can't really specify what it is, but he just looks better out there.
If it's one thing he really needs to practice with, it's skating with the puck. He has great acceleration, but he moves a lot slower when making maneuvers with the puck.
If he makes the NHL, he'll be: 3rd/4th line defensive forward. I know people don't like seeing a 1st round pick as a 3rd liner, but it's the game he plays. He's on a slow but steady developmental path.
Pre-camp thoughts: Trained with Igor Larionov, so... does he play like him?
Initial Observations: He played like, well, let's just say he was jet lagged.
Development: The Russians were SO entertaining to watch, but admittedly it was really tough to watch them at first. Simply stating, the only explanation I could think of when I first saw Loktionov was jet lag. Even on game day, he just wasn't in sync.
Tuesday, he looked much improved. He has an unusual skating stance and style. At first, I thought it looked like Pavel Bure's technique, but maybe that's just fuzzy childhood memories, since re-watching Bure highlights now, it doesn't look like it. He has a very deep bend of the knees almost like he's skiing, and his feet move forward and backward like pistons, unlike a normal skating stride. I had seen it before, but now I can't recall who.
Anyway, he had a lot of obstacles to overcome with training camp; not really knowing anyone, jet lag, youth (remember he's an 18 year-old playing against 20+) and the language barrier. One drill, the forwards were supposed to strip the coach of the puck, play the puck off the board after retaining possession, then skating down the ice. Loktionov thought he could kill two birds with one stone by hitting the puck away from the coach so it would hit the boards, then he'd get possession and skate away. It was amusing.
Overall, though, he does look like a smart player. He has patience, waits to see how things develop, then usually makes a good play with the puck. Him and Dravecky really clicked on the drills they had to do together. His shot is very inconsistent, but he handles the puck really well. If he improves his leg muscles, his unusual stride may be a huge bonus where he could play with great speed... but at this point he's still a huge project.
If he makes the NHL, he'll be: 1st/2nd liner. I'm teetering on whether or not he should go to his OHL team or Manchester, as he would definitely benefit from both. If he were to make the NHL, though, it would be as a playmaking forward.