Eric Majeski's (aka Netwolf) Camp Reports for LetsGoPens.com
2013 Development Camp, Day 1
July 16, 2013
The Pittsburgh Penguins were nice enough to extend an invitation to me for Prospect Development Camp this week, so I was there this afternoon and will continue to be all week. Check back here for daily reports and follow me on Twitter @LGP_netwolf for observations during each session.
The rest of the week shakes out like this:
Wednesday, July 17th: 9:15-11:30am
Thursday, July 18th: 10am-noon
Friday, July 19th: 9:15-11:30am
Saturday, July 20th: 3-5pm Scrimmage (Free & Open to Public)
Today was just a lot of drills to get everyone moving and handling the puck. Lots of skating, passing, and shooting. The only "defense" out there was in the form of loose gloves lying on the ice and coaches that served as moving obstacles. Because of the format, offensively skilled guys are the ones that tend to stand out. Guys like Harrison Ruopp and Clark Seymour for example, whose strengths lie in playing strong, physical defense, aren't going to excel in sessions like this. You still need to be careful not to overestimate those who do. Performing well in skill-drills is obviously a good thing, but while it's one thing to do that, it's quite another to be able to do the same things during actual competition. At some point we'll see some 1 on 1s, 2 on 1s, and some other battle drills as the week progresses. Those will be better indicators and the scrimmage will be an even better one, but you still need to remember what the level of competition is.
That blathering disclaimer aside, here's what grabbed my attention while watching today...
Tom Kuhnhackl hit the ice first, likely one of the first times since recovering from a shoulder injury that cost him most of his first year of professional hockey. He didn't show any outward signs of a lingering injury. His shot looked decent and at the end of his session, he engaged in some board work along with Jayson Megna and a couple of the coaches. It wasn't that intense, but they did rough him up a bit and give it a good test.
Nick D'Agostino will be making his pro debut this fall after signing a 2 year entry level contract. His name is often overlooked when discussing all of the Pens defensive prospects, partly because he's spent the last 4 years playing college hockey at Cornell, and partly because he was a 7th round pick back in 2008. You wouldn't know that watching him play though. He's a very fluid skater, has a nice release on his wrist shot, and seems to see the ice very well. From what he showed in 2 shootout attempts, he also has really good hands as well.
Bill Guerin was on the ice and beat Eric Hartzell with a long range slapshot that he put right in the corner. Shades of Steve Yzerman against the Blues in the playoffs, just with slightly lower stakes. =) Hartzell gave up a few in a row after that, but settled down to make several stops in a row, prompting him to yell the question "The goalies can't win this?"
Scott Harrington may not have the highest ceiling among Pens' prospects, but I think he's the most likely to be a solid pro. When you watch him, he doesn't have any skills that really jump out and wow you, but he seemingly does everything very well. He's just so solid overall, no glaring weaknesses.
Teddy Blueger is a shifty skater with really good hands. Looked to be a little bigger than last year to.
This year's 6th round pick, Blaine Byron, also has really good hands. Looks bigger than the 5'11", 163 he was listed at.
Jean-Sebastien Dea is a undrafted player attending camp as an unrestricted free agent. He had 45 goals in the QMJHL last year. The Q is a more offensive league, but that's still pretty impressive. Kevin Forbes of Hockey's Future told me that he scored 33 of his goals in the first half of the season, and then fell off. Could have been a case of him wearing down as he's only listed at 155 despite being 6'. Could also have been part luck as he shot a ridiculous 33% to start the season, and no one can sustain that kind of number. He's pretty fast around the rink and does get his shot off quick. Interested to see what he does as the competition level increases.
Per Shelly Anderson of the PG, Anton Zlobin is at camp, but will not be skating as he is recovering from a shoulder injury.
Chris Shero (Ray's son) took part in the first session. Anderson reported this was just a way for him to shake the rust off.
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