July 17th, 2008, 12:26 AM #1
Prospect Development Camp Summary by King'sPawn
I'll begin by saying I left camp a little early, simply because it's felt like a very long time.
I know it may seem a little egomaniacal to start a thread of my own about something that started a week and a half ago, but I have a LOT to write and it is pretty much a summary.
First of all, I had a few encounters with Lombardi, all of them pretty much by accident. My last one was Tuesday around 12:30 in the afternoon, and I finally answered his question from a couple days ago about a particular coach I had in mind for him to consider. He said, "Ah, too late, we got our guy." He gave me a thumbs up and seemed pretty excited about it. When I asked who, he said "You get the inside scoop, as it hasn't hit the papers yet. It's Terry Murray." I immediately got on the phone to tell lunchbox, so she could let you all know... but just as I did that, DL said, "Hey, it's not been filed yet, so don't go overboard, okay?" So, I asked those whom I spoke to, not to actually confirm it. I felt safe I could tell a few friends, but felt that "overboard" was posting the confirmation on teh internets.. Sorry. I wanted you all to know right away, but considering it was a gift, I had to respect his wishes and ask that no confirmation be posted.
I had three other encounters with Dean throughout the week. Most of the info was already posted, I hope. I'll try to post up some of the info throughout this thread, but I want to get started with reviewing the prospects.
Before I do that though, I wanted to thank everybody who spent time with me throughout the week. It was also nice meeting all the people I met; some post on LGK, some lurk. I know if I post everybody, I'll forget someone (I tried writing down all the names, but know I forgot some), so it was nice to meet/see/hang out with those I met. Mad props to OCKingsFreak for hooking me up with a hotel room for a night. That's way above and beyond what I'd even expect family to do.
Anyway, I was about to start listing everybody to thank and for what they did, but I'm already rambling, and there's more to ramble about. Onto what I set out to do:
I'm starting with the purple group, in alphabetical order.
Now just to clear the summary up ahead of time, it's broken into a few parts:
Pre-Camp Thoughts: A brief preconceived notion of the type of player I'd be seeing, based on either watching him from previous years, watching him in games, or from reading about him.
Initial Observations: First impressions. They mean a lot to everyone; I used these first impressions as guidelines to what to look for throughout the week. It saved me a LOT of writing.
Development: The goal of this camp is for the development of their skills. In a way, I treated it as a development of my skills, too, since I hope, eventually, to be a scout. This section basically encompasses their week at camp in a paragraph or two, talking about strengths, weaknesses, improvements, setbacks.
If he makes the NHL, he'll be: Key word being IF. Most of these players likely won't make the NHL. This section isn't a statement of whether or not they'll make the NHL. It simply states that if he were, sometime in his life, to make the NHL, how he would fit on a team based on his style, strengths, and skills today.
Hopefully this thread will lead to a healthy discussion of the prospects; if anyone has any questions dealing with certain encounters, I'll be happy to answer to the best of my ability.
And no, I didn't ask DL about the trade rumors. Like I said, the times I ran into him were completely by accident.
July 17th, 2008, 12:47 AM #2
Pre-camp thoughts: Solid d-man, ready for the AHL
Initial Observations: Nothing special
Development: Andersen displayed better puck skills this year than last year. He's comfortable with handling the puck, he makes good pivots. As a whole, he can skate well enough and can make a breakout pass, but he isn't displaying his physical game and his shot is sorely lacking. I understand it's development camp, but there are players you just know like playing physical, and he didn't stand out in that aspect.
If he makes the NHL, he'll be: 6/7 d-man. He'll keep things simple enough and would help chip the puck out of the defensive zone, but he didn't display any offensive upside, no physical play, and didn't make any strong defensive plays (at least while I was watching him). He's just not a player you want to depend on, on a regular basis.
Pre-camp thoughts: He score over 100+ points in the OHL, so he must be good.
Initial Observations: Was there another Azevedo in the OHL?
Development: Azevedo quickly fell down near the bottom of my list when I saw a munchkin with short, choppy strides display a weak, inaccurate shot. In person, he's tiny; if he didn't have his swagger when he walked, he could pass as a prize you win in the carnival over a stuffed bear. While those are very negative first impressions, he started working his way back up. He skated faster, his shot got harder, and he got more creative.
His response to "in game" situations showed me how he scored so many points in the OHL; in one drill, he drew the coach towards him before making a pass that his receiver couldn't bury. Another time he was watching the rolling screen approaching the goalie, and he fired a shot off. He also roofed a few pucks over the weekend that draw "oohs" and "aahs" from the crowd.
If he makes the NHL, he'll be: 2nd/3rd liner. He's not a sniper like Cammalleri is, and he's not a grinder like Giuliano is. With his size, he's a supplemental scorer who hustles his butt off, but you don't want him for a catalyst. He has a very steep learning curve, given his diminutive size, before he could even consider the NHL, but his hockey IQ will definitely help him on that journey.
July 17th, 2008, 12:57 AM #3
Pre-camp thoughts: Nobody
Initial Observations: Nobody special
Development: Admittedly, I didn't watch the Germans a whole lot, especially to start. Camp invites usually have to do something pretty fantastic to draw my attention towards them, and Busch did nothing of the sort. He has a deceptive wrist shot he can get off fairly quickly and accurately, which could fool most goalies not in the NHL rather easily. He'll accept but not initiate contact. Very average all around, and needs to improve every aspect of his game before he could consider a regular role in the NHL.
If he makes the NHL, he'll be: 2nd liner. The talent and style simply doesn't fit in any other role, in my opinion, and on that note, I really don't think he'll ever make the NHL.
Pre-camp thoughts: Tough kid who took a puck to the face
Initial Observations: Solid all around
Development: Campbell is what I expected Andersen to be. He was a very intriguing player when I heard he played right after taking a puck to the face. Speaking with him briefly, I saw a scar that traced along near his jawline; I don't know if the puck was the cause of the scar, but it just looked like it hurt. The first player I thought of when I saw him was Norstrom; while he likely won't reach Norstrom's level, when this kid fills out, he will be a tough kid who plays defense decently, skates well, has size, and has a halfway decent shot he doesn't use nearly enough.
If he makes the NHL, he'll be: #4, 5, 6 stay-at-home d-man. His solid skills will look mediocre if given a key role, but you can't help but like this kid.
July 17th, 2008, 01:05 AM #4
Pre-camp thoughts: I can't help but think of when he was interviewed after the draft, and he looked high. Someone called him a "wasted pick" and that just stuck in my mind.
Initial Observations: Michigan wanted him?
Development: Czarnik simply did not look good on day one. I truthfully can't even say what it was, but he just looked out of it. After an unimpressive first day, Czarnik simply improved in leaps and bounds, faster than any other player. I am simply impressed with how well he coordinates his entire body with his skating and stickhandling so it never looks awkward. His wrist shot, while it takes time to get off, is wicked hard and accurate. His straight skating speed is good, but he's not a guy you can count on defensively.
After the prospect scrimmage, he was one of five prospects who walked into Chipotle while MindGeyser, OCKingsFreak and I were eating. OCKingsFreak asked Czarnik why he didn't play at the game, and he said he had tendonitis in his shoulder for the past month and a half. He wanted to play, especially after spending all that time doing drills, but the coaching staff wanted to play it safe with him, and told him not to play. He's also looking forward to playing for Michigan next year.
If he makes the NHL, he'll be: Top 6 forward. He has the offensive skills and upside to play in a scoring role; he'd struggle, like most natural scorers, if given a bottom six role.
Pre-camp thoughts: Hopefully he'll be a surprise
Initial Observations: Eh, I can see why he wasn't drafted
Development: You hope a player like D'Orazio walks away from a camp like this realizing he has a lot of work to do. In all fairness, he is the youngest to attend the camp, but he just didn't do enough to look like he could compete with the rest. He'll skate, but he didn't play a physical game, he struggled with simple breakout passes, and he had a very unimpressive shot.
If he makes the NHL, he'll be: No 7. d-man. You put him out there to give the #5/6 d-man a break.
July 17th, 2008, 01:27 AM #5
Pre-camp thoughts: He'll wow me
Initial Observations: Wow
Development: The biggest problem with a player as good as Drew Doughty is he'll set the bar high early, and you expect him to do AT LEAST that good the entire time. He set the bar rather high from day one with his very strong skating and puck control. With the poise he handled the drill, he made the other players look like they were touching the puck for the first time in their life. The luster died a little bit after that, simply because he didn't play head and shoulders better than everyone else, but still at what seems to me, to be an NHL level.
Throughout the week, he still displayed a solid, mature game as forwards just struggled to get around him on one-on-one situations, he communicates well with his teammates, telling them where to go for their defensive duties, he keeps his head up almost all the time when handling the puck, and he quarterbacks the powerplay with confidence.
If he makes the NHL, he'll be: Top 4 d-man. People may respond that this is a knock, but he really is as close to a sure thing that I've seen from an 18 year-old d-man. His point shot needs more power, but he would genuinely fit well in any top 4 spot. Anything below that is a waste of his talent.
Pre-camp thoughts: With his size, I hope he's an offensive d-man
Initial Observations: Most disappointing player
Development: Simply saying that D'Orazio has youth as an excuse for his lackluster play. Hoerdler has a good wrist shot and plays a 2-on-1 well, but I keep thinking this guy is playing like a 16/17 year-old, and he's 22/23.
If he makes the NHL, he'll be: #7 d-man. He's most successful when little is expected of him. Think Kevin Dallman.
July 17th, 2008, 01:46 AM #6
Pre-camp thoughts: He was lazy and unimpressive last year
Initial Observations: Still is
Development: For two years in a row, Dwight King has been lazy on warm-ups and it transcended into shoddy drills on the ice. You would just look at him and say "gosh, this kid is going nowhere." However, as the week progressed, he started taking the warm-ups more seriously and, then he had to be taken more seriously. I spoke to Dean on Sunday while the coaching and scouting staff were playing a game of ball hockey, and I told Dean that I really like how this camp is going, and how players are playing noticeably better; I mentioned Dwight King specifically, saying that he's starting to look good. DL admitted that part of the reason he fell to the mid rounds is because he needs to compete more.
In terms of his play, he was simply doing all the fundamentals (skating, shooting, passing) better. Looking at him, though, he has an impressive athletic build. He may not stretch a whole lot, but you can tell he likes to lift weights, as he's a decent physical specimen. He's not a flashy stickhandler, simply because he has a hockey stick that's too long, that looks awkward on him.
If he makes the NHL, he'll be: Bottom 6 defensive forward. His long stick is good for poke checks, and his upper body strength allows him to be unwelcoming to opposing players who have the puck near him.
Pre-camp thoughts: Will be the most impressive forward of this group
Initial Observations: Wasn't as impressive as I hoped... to start.
Development: At the risk of getting lambasted by LGK united, Moller would sometimes look like Pushkarev when he tried to do too much. He holds onto the puck too long or he dangles one too many times. However, he can often get away with these tactics as well, because he has tremendous puck skills and creativity. He's not fast, but he's shifty; his east-west movements, dips, and pivots all come together much better than his forward skating speed.
The most impressive things about Moller are his intangibles. He is usually the first player on the ice or among the first to do the warm-up drills, he's seemingly compatible with any player on the ice, seemingly walks with any player outside the TSC, and plays with an uninhibited enthusiasm where he'll occasionally let out a "whoop" when scoring on a simple drill.
Edit: forgot to add that another one of Moller's weaknesses, in my opinion, is he really lacks strength.
If he makes the NHL, he'll be: Any line. He can score like a top 6 talent, he can grind like a bottom 6 talent, and just loves the game like a fan. He'd probably play goalie if it will get him to play on the ice more.
July 17th, 2008, 01:54 AM #7
Great observations! Keep em' coming KP! Post a picture of yourself bother. It is always nice when you can place a face.
July 17th, 2008, 01:55 AM #8
What, that's it??
July 17th, 2008, 01:56 AM #9
Pre-camp thoughts: Nobody special
Initial Observations: Simply unspectacular
Development: Meyers is one of those after thoughts of anyone following the Kings prospects, and he was bordering on woefully mediocre until Thursday. That day, I saw his shot. It is simply the most lethal shot I've ever seen a defensive prospect make after Jack Johnson. Every time he took a shot, whether it was a wrist shot or slap shot, you would likely hear a clang as he constantly pegged the inside of the post or crossbar to get the puck in the net. It would be unstoppable with a little more velocity. His other talents are servicable, but his physical game is lacking.
If he makes the NHL, he'll be: Bottom pairing powerplay quarterback. He would provide a good point shot on the powerplay to a team that needed it, but not really someone you'd count on for anything more. Think of a less refined Tom Poti.
Pre-camp thoughts: Will he be there this time?
Initial Observations: In a manner of speaking...
Development: Nolet is one of those prospects we've had for a while, but I never remember seeing. After 6 days of observing, I still feel like I haven't watched him. The only memorable thing I remember is him getting a stick to the face (he lost a couple teeth, and now wears a full face shield). Woefully mediocre, he lacks the skills and instincts to make an NHL impact.
If he makes the NHL, he'll be: #7 d-man; if he's ever an NHL regular, he'll likely get passed around team by team, as he's simply not developing in a way that will convince you he could move up in the depth charts.
July 17th, 2008, 02:06 AM #10
This is great stuff.. look forward to reading the rest.