Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A Few Thoughts on Prospect Camp

Although I would have liked to have attended more of the prospect camp things, frankly I had better things to do. Namely staying employed and well rested. But Saturday offered me the opportunity to go see what the hubbub was about and take in some hockey in an otherwise hockey-unenriched summer.

I went to Johansen's first camp back in 2010, for one day. Just to see what it was all about. CBJ fans seemed to be a more optimistic bunch back then. Despite this, only about a quarter of the seats were occupied in the ice haus and the camp seemed low-key and a little fun. Not the kind of place you'd expect to see players improve over a week but the place they would show the CBJ staff what they've been up to, development-wise. Where the team would be able to show their prospects that, if they work hard, they will be able to use the best training facilities in the world and have all the amenities afforded to NHL players. The talent evaluation aspect seemed to be secondary.

On Saturday, it was a different experience. Starting with the crowd, there were enough people there to fill the bleachers and have many left over for the standing room spaces at the ice haus. The crowd was kind of into it too. There was a rousing "let's go jackets" chant during the finale and some cheering throughout. People really like Boone Jenner too. Or they just like shouting "Booooone", which I certainly can't blame anyone for. It's a favorite pastime of mine when I'm at home alone.

"Does it feel better now that we found a phone book for you to sit on, Cam?"
The camp was more intense this time. I'm not sure if having Cam and Joey there was a factor, but some of the guys seemed pretty motivated. Boone seemed to be the gold standard when it came to giving effort in drills and Aleardi clearly felt he had something to prove when put into game-type situations.

Just a few thoughts on the guys who were there:

Johansen looked like a very talented guy who just gained a lot of weight. He looked like he was dogging it a bit on some drills, but stood out from the other guys by just murdering the goaltenders in the shootout drill at the end. Not sure if you want the guy "setting the tone" to look sluggish, although he seemed to turn it on after getting embarrassed by losing the puck in a simple stick handling drill. He also nailed a between the legs top shelf goal that I've tried about 500 times in practice and never came close to that kind of effectiveness. It would be nice to see him thrown into a few shootouts this coming year.

Atkinson looked good. Just like the guy at the end of this past year. Camsanity continues.

Aleardi looked like he was there to keep everyone from not taking this seriously at all. He's a gamer. Looked like he was fighting for his very existence out there.

Dansk didn't look great and Korpisalo looked ok. But the camp is not the be all end all for those guys. Their chances will come in the CHL this year.

Anton Forsberg did actually look pretty good, but he's the most experienced of the group so you would hope he'd give a better showing.

Gabriel and Anderson looked like they had surprisingly good shots. Hopefully our scouts picked the right guy with Anderson.

Ryan Murray would make a good forward, his hands and vision are so highly tuned. He seems to just be in the moment more. I'm more optimistic about him every day.

Seth Ambroz was supposed to have some upside at some point but I didn't see it one bit. He looks like he may have peaked in high school.

Mike Reilly will be in the NHL one day. But not in any of the next 600 days.

In the end, the whole prospect camp exercise is highly masturbatory. You look at your own organization's prospects only and everyone is gonna look somewhat good, one way or another. I guess it's better to spend the summer in false optimistic bliss than in hopeless despair. And since when does something being masturbatory make it a bad thing?


  1. I'm surprised you made no mention of Zaar. That guy has one hell of a shot... really stood out to me on Saturday.

  2. My apologies. Zaar also had a great shot. I just didn't get to see him that often from the seat I was in.