This is as close as you’re going to get to a camp photo – the lighting in the IceForum sucks.
I know it’s taken me, oh, a day and a half after camp ended to get this up here. I’m sure that all 12 of my readers were having an absolute fit waiting for this. With summer vacation winding down and work looming in the future, my motivation’s actually decreased. Sad, eh?
I braved the drive out to Duluth, where the Atlanta IceForum is located, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday afternoons. Friday I got a chance to catch some drill, and Saturday and Sunday I was able to watch the 4-on-4 scrimmages from up in the Breakaway Grill. The view is so much better up there than on the ice – you can actually see plays develop and tell what player does what. It’s fun on the ice, but so much better from above. Above also comes with food.
Anywho, just a few observations of some (not all, obviously) players. After the jump.
Akim Aliu – he’s big with good hands and good puck control. He flew past Mike Forney on the one on one defensive drills, and also considering how big of a guy he is he was surprisingly agile at moving in between players.
Robert Levin – this was the “mystery goalie” of camp, who turned out to be a high school backup from Lake Forest Academy in Lake Forest, IL. Considering who he was up against, I’d say he did pretty well. He needs to work on his glove side a bit, and his reflexes aren’t up to the skill level of the kids in camp, but he still looked good.
Daultan Leveille – Jim Slater, v2.0. No, that’s not sarcasm. The similarities are stunning – same basic draft position, same speed, same lack of finish and stopping ability.
Patrice Cormier – this guy is built like a tank, and from all accounts is a ready made leader on the ice and in the room. Or else other guys are just scared they’ll get bowled over. One or the other. Watching him you can tell why Dudley’s so high on the kid. He plows to the net to get into position, and he can break up the rush very well. He’s a great checker, and easily knocked the other players off of the puck. I don’t see him getting batted around the league too much.
Carl Klingberg – many fans are hoping to see him on the team next year, though I am assuming that to be a year off, not just because of development but also thanks to the fact that our roster’s full barring a trade. He’s quick and has good stickwork. He’s got clear vision – he can complete a tape-to-tape pass in a flash, and he’s got a blistering wrist shot. He’s one of the prospects that scored regularly during drills – he’s got a good aim.
Alex Burmistrov – he was this year’s focal point for the fans in the stands, though quite a few people associated Russian with “Kovalchuk’s replacement,” which is absolutely as far from the truth as you can get. As I mentioned in my NHL Hot Stove write up on Burmistrov, he is not a player in the Kovy/Ovie model. He’s a playmaker, and he’s patient, and he works with his teammates. He creates chances and plays himself, but he looks to the others to contribute. He has super quick reflexes and can change direction on a dime. He was actually setting up plays faster than the other prospects could figure out, which is a good sign. He does need to put on some weight, though, before training camp. He got knocked off the puck a few times fairly easily. He set up Ben Chiarot’s goal in Saturday’s game for one of the fastest plays that I’ve probably ever seen.
Chris Carrozzi – his lateral movement, something that he needed to work on last season at prospect camp, has drastically improved. Now the focus needs to be the glove (something he needed to work on last year as well) and rebound control. Still, he’s set to develop well.
Ed Pasquale – He generally had better mobility than Carrozzi, especially laterally, though he could drop very quickly as well. He’s got a good glove and can challenge the shooter well, coming out of the net to take away some space.