FN Weekend Open Thread – Dev Camp Thoughts

 

 

It was the development camp scrimmage this morning and more than a few folks showed up to watch (my guess is between 500-100). Ryan Pike is busy gathering player interviews as the camp progresses, but for now this thread is share the thoughts and impressions of anyone who has taken in the action thus far.

Today was my first exposure to the kids and so my observations are limited. In a single contest like this a lot of guys kind of fade into the woodwork, especially because the area seating is concentrated on one end of the rink (making it hard to scout action at the other end). Still, here’s what I came away with.

– Mark Jankowski looks bigger. In fact, he appeared to be the second tallest player on the ice behind Kanzig. He’s also still very toolsy, but relatively low impact. Janko would appear in the thick of things now and then, but disappeared for long stretches as well. I had to specifically look for him in the latter half of the game in order to notice him on the ice.

– Turner Elson was one of the stand-outs this morning. Smallish, but a buzzsaw of activity, he also made a number of nice spin-type moves in the offensive zone and set-up one of team Black’s goals after a nice deke off the boards and out of the corner. Had another high-end chance after going wide and driving the net. A pleasant surprise.

– Another unexpectedly good performer was Trey Lewis, the undrafted captain of the Halifax Mooseheads. Lewis seemed to be a decently poised defender who wasn’t shy about communicating or jumping into the rush at times.

– Bill Arnold was also a stand-out at times. He was much more mobile that I remember or expected and seemed to make consistently strong plays with the puck.

– John Gaudreau played a lot with Sean Monahan for team red and they were usually the line that drove play into the offensive zone. Gaudreau is faster this year and he doesn’t look as freakishly undersized either.

Monahan was solid all over the ice. Despite being a younger guy he rarely panicked with the puck and was never victimized on a bad play or missed read. He also scored Red’s only goal.

– Pat Sieloff was a guy who seemed to struggle with frustration/keeping his emotions in check. His signature is playing with an edge, of course, but a guy with a short fuse can cause problems on the ice because it can lead to poor decisions and bad penalties.

– Michael Ferland had a rough go. Plays died on his stick more than once this morning and he seemed to have problems both with execution and decision making. 

– Sven Baertschi was one of the most dangerous guys on the ice for Black of course. He played mostly with Granlund and they combined for a goal and more than one high-end scoring chance. I didn’t notice Granlund as much, but a few others there were raving about him.

– Keegan Kanzig is big.

That’s about it from me. Share your own impressions in the comments. 

  • everton fc

    For me, Black’s defensemen stole the show. Which likely contributed a whole lot to their dominance. And I completely disagree with Scary Gary about Ramage. He was definitely one of the best players out there. For some reason, though, he looked like he was by far the smallest defenseman. Maybe it’s just because he generally played with Kanzig.

    A note on Horak: I think he was hurt by being forced to play with Hanowski and Ferland for the entire game. Though he did get Red’s first scoring chance/shot of the game.

    Ramage: His skating is much much better, and he seems far more comfortable with the puck than he has. Didn’t really engage physically, though, which is disappointing.

    Kulak: It is sooooo tempting to compare him to Brodie. He is going to surprise a lot of people this year. Defensively he was identical to Ryan Culkin (who, btw, impressed me for the first time ever) if a tiny bit smaller. Offensively, it wasn’t even close. Kulak is very good with the puck, and forced Brody Hoffman to make an excellent glove save on the first slapshot of the game (which Ramage followed up all of 30 seconds later with a shot that nearly trickled in). To attempt to get away from setting ridiculously high expectations for him, I’ll say that Kulak right now (age 19) looks a lot like John Negrin did at age 20.

    Sieloff: He’s become much more comfortable with the puck, and he was mostly good. He tended to try to rough people up while the play was still going. FOCUS!!!

    Kanzig: Far better than expected. How he only scored seven points last season is a mystery. He just might be a player, folks.

    Wotherspoon: He’s so steady. He spent the majority of his time with Kulak, and they spent most of the game stifling Red’s offense. I’m looking forward to Wotherspoon’s first pro season. He’ll never be a scorer, but he tended to make smart plays with the puck. Defensively, he’s solid. And in case you’re wondering, yes, I was looking for him. Otherwise I would never have noticed him.

    Culkin: Made some good plays in the defensive zone. His play without the puck is far more impressive than with. He may yet make a player. His skating is far better than it was when I last saw him (which was quite a while ago, in truth).

    Granlund: His skating is better, and he showed more willingness to engage than he has. His shot is still underrated, but at least the people there got to see that laserbeam he put on Berra.

    Linden Penner: He scored a couple goals. And yet, I didn’t notice him at all.

    Bill Arnold: Do you all see why he’s my favourite? The guy is gold.

    The goalies: Gillies looked great, and I’m actually surprised Black managed to score on him. Brossoit looked shaky at first, but he was far more settled in the second period before he was replaced by Ortio, who was the only goalie who didn’t surrender a goal. Hoffman’s stat sheet probably reads more impressive than he was. He laboured a little bit, but the only shot that beat him–somehow–was Coda Gordon’s game winner. Granted, Black wasn’t as dominant in the second as the first and third. Berra got victimized a little in the third, since that was Black’s best period. He got a bit rattled after Arnold’s line crashed the net 400 times, and the goal from Granlund kind of ended it for him.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    Kanzig was the fittest player at camp. 7% body fat, pure muscle type fit. Clay was referring to physique not necessarily agility or mobility though.

    Reinhardt is injured apparently which is why he wasn’t noticeable. He didn’t play.

    I would be hesitant to compare Kanzig to Chara. Also. Kanzig seemed to have decent hockey IQ despite initial reactions. Proof that you really shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover.

    And Hanowski did indeed lose apparently 15 lbs (according to testing). But I wasn’t impressed by him today. His skating still needs a lot of work and he looked lost for the pace of the other prospects today. We’ll see I definitely think the deal -that shall not be named- was more for Agostino than Hanowski. I think Hanowski’s future in the NHL If he has one will be heavily reliant on special teams or as a 4th line grinder and he’s going to have to work hard just for that. Time will tell.

    • People like the look of Kanzig playing against other prospects in a scrimmage. I’ll gladly eat crow if he becomes a player, but we’re literally years away from knowing if he’s actually a player. Guys like Matt Pelech and John Negrin looked like stars in these things before too.

      You’re not counting your chickens before they’ve hatched – the eggs haven’t even been laid yet.

      • J.P.

        Kent,

        Was Kanzig better/ worse or exactly what you expected? I thought he showed more potential than many of our other prospects. (extremely small sample size:)

        • Colin.S

          He was better for me, but that was because I was expecting the absolute worse. I still think his skating was below average and was out of position from time to time.

          But he shot a lot, which is good, a lot of these kids seemed to want to try fancy moves and he just shot things, which is nice.

      • supra steve

        Agree with you 100%. However comments by yourself and many others on draft day, and since, were just as guilty of pre-judging this player/pick.

        I think that we are all relieved at this point that the Flames scouting dept were not just drawing names from a hat or throwing darts at a board, and that they appear to have seen something in a player that others may have missed/undervalued. And yes, I totally agree that Kanzig has a long way to go before he is considered a legit threat to make an NHL roster.

        Also, thanks Kent for keeping the content coming.

      • beloch

        What I’m getting out of the comments on Kanzig so far don’t jive with his assessment at the draft as a player whose only possible use was as an enforcer. It sounds like he might have some potential upside beyond that. If that’s true, then the Kanzig pick looks less like a waste and more like a gamble on a long-term project. It’s better to hear the the eggs haven’t been laid yet than to hear we picked a dead chicken!

    • ChinookArchYYC

      I’m not saying the dude can’t play but I do think its a little silly to play the ‘eat crow’ card after less than a week of a development camp… Your cart is WAAAAY before your horse

      • supra steve

        When people are calling him a coke machine and freaking out about the pick, it seems like the kid has shut up at least a few haters.

        While I’m not saying he’s the next Chara, its nice to see that the kid might be more than a “pop dispenser”

    • NHL93

      I also thought about Chara today while watching Kanzig lumber around. Chara was considered a project at the time, then won some sort of ‘most improved player’ award a few years into his career. You just never know.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    I was expecting Kanzig to be negative value after Kent’s fit on twitter (pull yourself together!). I actually met him a few weeks before the draft. He’s a friend of my cousin from Athabasca. Reminded me of Conan the Barbarian at the time.

    He probably didn’t warrant the 3rd round pick, but he can play hockey. He was the fittest player in camp as well, which isn’t easy for such a big guy. He is definitely committed to improving all aspects of his game.

    He is a project, but nice to see the project is someone with this level of commitment. Howse and Ferland were projects, but we’ve yet to see them drop the weight.

    Kanzig needs a lot of refinement, but if anyone remembers, Chara was a pretty bad player in his draft year. Sometimes tools aren’t everything. Kanzig actually held his own.

  • Scary Gary

    Two cents:

    Kanzig played virtually every other shift (he isn’t hard to miss), his skating could use some work as others have said but man he has a long stride, three strides and he was out of the zone. He looked off balance at times. We’ll see how this goes.

    Wotherspoon didn’t get much ice time from what I saw as I was watching for him but he didn’t seem to do anything wrong so that’s good

    Sieloff was throwing the body a lot in the second, a bit scrambly and out of position at times but his skating looked competent enough.

    Poirier was quick but seemed a bit outmatched with all the size on the ice.

    Jankowski is definitely bigger, as someone who was also a late bloomer (5’9 at 16, 6’3 at 17) I can understand what he’s going through. He looked a bit slow on the draws as he lost the first three but got better later on. He’s a guy I was watching for; he didnt look out of plce, just young. He definitely has potential.

    Knight and Horak both looked loft the most part as they should, a little older, filled out and overall fairly solid.

    Gaudreau was breathing hard in the first but set up a nice goal by Monahan. As others had noted he seems to have filled out a little, and is fast and exciting to watch. He didn’t do too much on a penalty shot in the first which resulted in a disappointing groan from the fans (poor guy). He got better as the game went on. Overall this kids obviously has high end skill.

    Monahan looked pretty good, big, strong, solid with the puck, nice shot, and made good decisions.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    I attended as well, but missed the 1st period was was forced behind the glass, in the concourse with a view of about 2/3 of the ice. Kanzig was a pleasent surprise. He skates well, and and puts his body between the player and his net very well when defending. He is not afraid to pinch in, on the offense side of the ice either. He came down several times to drive toward the net, and wasn’t caught out of position. He’s still raw, but if he manages to grow into his huge frame, the Flames might have of found a gem. And, for the record I was none to happy about the draft choice, until today that is.

    Baertchi was easy to spot, and he was easily the most talented and poised player on the ice.

    Knight, Monahan, Lewis and a kid had to look up to figure 3x to figure out who he was were noticeably good. Agustino was good with the limited ice time he got as well.

    Guadreau was fun to watch, and I don’t know of another player as instantly fast as he is – unreal!

    I walked away happy about Monahan and knight and encouraged about Kanzig, and excited about Guadreau.

    Next year I’ll show up earlier.

  • TheRealPoc

    I echo a lot of the sentiment so far.

    Kanzig BIG, seemed to be front and centre of a lot of attention. I also noticed it was like he was out there every other shift. But maybe that’s because coaches wanted to see how the prospects dealt with the most NHL-like physically mature person on the ice (which was him)

    Impression: I was pleasantly surprised with Kanzig to the point that I think with a solid year in the AHL under Ward he could be a 4,5,6 guy on this young team within by the 2014/15 season. Still needs to work on his skating a bit though.

    Monahan was brilliant off the puck. Again his awareness and on-ice maturity showed. At this point I’d still give him a year in the AHL or back with Ottawa but I think that he would not be hurt if he does jump in right away this year.

    Arnold, Gaudreau, Agostino all showed flare and upside sweet hands. Gaudreau is by far the most developed out of the NCAA guys but I think with another year for Agostino and a 2 for Arnold there’s definitely something there.

    Thought Giles played well in net from what we saw but will likely end up being the main guy or back up in Abby next year.

    Felt like Poireir and Jankowski disappeared a lot. But when they did pop up with the puck you could see their potential to make things happen.
    Coda Gordon (a 6th rd pick) also showed some filthy mitts and again the Flames scouting staff seem to be showing that they’re finding kids that can definitely play. Question will be can they translate it to NHL.

    Both Kerr and Steinberg couldn’t shut up about Granlund and that’s a good sign. He was by far one of the best players on the ice and it’s definitely a good sign that he appears to be really adapting to the smaller surface I would not be surprised to see Granlund starting the year with the young guns 2.0 unless he completely fails at the Abby prospect Tournament and main camp.

    Noticeably Missing (or not noticeable): Roman Horak – Today was not Horaks day hardly saw him on the puck and for a guy whose suppose to be one of the more developed prospects that was depressing. He should have been driving possession and taking advantage of these kids. I could barely find his 21 when he was out there.

    Like Kent said I think Penner definitely made himself stand out from the group of invites he had a solid scrimmage 2 goals.
    Tray Lewis (from halifax) was a beast not afraid to throw the body around but without sacrificing his position. Overall thought these two had the best camp out of the invites.

    I really like Seiloff’s defensive play. I just hope he doesn’t jump into the rush (that’s not his game) and he appeared to be trying to show that he’s been working on it. Honestly, when he uses his body for position and works the guy down low he was at his best. But as Kent mentioned seemed to be easily agitated. However that in my opinion is never a bad thing. Shows his competitiveness. I’d like to see him and Wotherspoon at main camp against the NHL guys and just see how they compare. To be honest I don’t think either of them or even Kanzig could be worse than Butler at this point or how Babchuk and Sarich were.

    But the true MVP: was Torie Peterson as Rob’s colour lady when she came on. Very good job. She’s done her homework on the prospects.

  • Jeff Lebowski

    I was at scrimmage too. To my eyes most of the game was played in the Red team’s end (4-1 score). There were some big guys out there so it was good to see the younger guys hang in physically.

    There were definite times throughout the game where guys sat and conversely times when guys seemed to play a lot. I think coaches were just trying to see some situational hockey and how guys responded. It definitely wasn’t a roll all the lines throughout the game type deal. Monahan, Janko, Agostino et al sat for stretches as others got looks.

    Monahan: Smart, effective player all over the ice. Good on draws and picking up the dangerous guy defensively. Nice shot for Red’s only goal. He’s a young guy but he steps in and just plays with savvy. When he skates the puck he shifts guys to make open ice for himself. Head up, really good thinker and passer. Super poised. I have no doubt he will play and make an impact in NHL. Very happy to see.

    Knight: He’s a solid guy. Strong on draws, strong, heavy skater. Lot’s to like but nothing flashy about his game.

    Jankowski: Heads up player. Nothing horrible, nothing amazing. Good thoughts (he was a guy who played more early but less later). Won some draws against Knight. He’s not puck focused, he constantly surveys the ice and he has a feel to get the right spots at the right time. The thing to remember is not only is he still growing, but the amount of growth (5’9 to 6’3.5 in a small amount of time). I think everything is going to smooth out for him and he will really show everything. He could be more assertive as well. This may sound silly but: some guys when they want the puck everyone in the arena can hear it (IGGY!). Jankowski is a little shy to be vocal right now. He is very young. He will be good. No doubt.

    Granlund: He got better as game went on. Extremely well placed shot, inside post above pad on Berra. That’s talent. He seems like the kind of guy who needs a good play to get him going. When his confidence gets a boost he comes alive. He played well after his goal.

    Kanzig: He was noticeable for his ability to skate. He jumped in a couple of times and he is physical. The kid works hard and his skating is good (not just good for a big guy – he keeps up with the play). JohnnyG beat him wide early but I can’t recall him getting beat like that again.

    Elson: He’s a quick, aggressive guy who threatened many times.

    Culkin & Kulak: Both these guys showed well. They were on opposite teams but both showed good offensive instincts, made good passes and were sturdy against bigger players.

    Poirier & Klimchuck: Showed some flashes. Poirier especially got better as the game went on. He was on the puck and in the third his line had some good control. Klimchuck scored a nice SO. I like them and think more is to come with scrimmages etc.

    Although it was a controlled scrimmage, it was nice to see very few hard of the glass plays. You see guys looking (and having ability) to make plays. Sometimes those plays didn’t work out but hopefully it reflects on the org preference on hockey IQ.

    Johnny and Sven were the ones to elicit the oohs and ahhs but Calgary doesn’t have that get you out of your seat (Drouin), elite talent. That being said, the depth of good to really good offensive players is promising. If they can get some elite, top, game breaking talent…

  • Colin.S

    Kanzig was out there for a ridiculous amount of time, in fact I think he was out there more than any other defenseman, but I didn’t watch the first period so I’m not sure. He made a couple dumb plays but in general he was more mobile than I had originally thought.

    I also liked Granlund a lot and he looked much more noticeable this time around.

    Poirier is a fast skater with some offensive flair, it seemed like for a few shifts, him and Arnold were unstoppable. I was pleasantly surprised by Arnold as I thought of him more as a grinding C but he displayed some ability as a two-way pivot.

    I barely saw Klimchuk at all in the last two periods. I didn’t notice Monahan that much but he didn’t do anything bad to make me notice him in a negative way, and When I did see him he looked good. Like Kent said, Baertschi looked pretty dangerous whenever he was out there.

    As for the tryouts, I liked MacKenzie, Jooris, and Penner the most as they all stuck out more than the other try outs in a positive way.

    Knight seemed feisty when he was around the net, I didn’t see much from Gaudreau other than that he is really fast.

    I didn’t focus much on the other defenseman too much do I’m curious to see what others thought of them.

  • TheRealPoc

    Kanzig was a Corsi monster this morning! Tons of shots from the point.

    The thing I noticed about Granlund the most was the maturity of his decision-making. Never really made a poor play or a really bad read. That’s probably the byprodct of playing with men in Finland for the last few seasons.

    Pretty obvious that Gaudreau and Baertschi are a class apart. Monahan was really good too. And Arnold looked very sharp from what I saw. Overall, some really good signs from the first scrimmage.

  • Colin.S

    The guys doing the broadcast(mostly Kerr) seem to have a love affair with Kanzig, for almost the entire second period that seemed to be the most of what he talked about.

    I didn’t mind what I saw of Kanzig, he was big, not very mobile, but he did something that was really nice, and that was frequently shoot the puck from what I saw of him(it’s hard to distinguish some of those guys with camera angles and such). He has a good shot and it was nice seeming him get a pass and then try a shot. Though again if that shot didn’t get through he had a bit of a hard time in transition.