What I saw at development camp

One of the advantages of working for yourself is being able to take the day off to watch hockey in July. I went to both the morning and afternoon sessions and here, for what it is worth, are my observations- in no particular order-of who stood out.

Perreault is small and quick and skates like the wind. As Peerless noted, he was opposite Finley for most of the early morning one-on-one sessions. Peerless thought Finely held his own but I tend to disagree. More than a few times Perreault got wide on Finley and simply skated around him. Had Finley been able to plant him into the boards once or twice (as he seemed to desperately want to) it might have been a different story. But as hitting seemed to be verboten (except for Flemming, see below), it wasn't much of a contest. Perreault has a quick release and very good hands and clearly has a ton on physical skill. What stood out to me is that his compete level was inconsistent. He seemed to play as if he has already made the team and skates with an arrogance that is not quite deserved. If he can get his head straight, he might be dangerous. Needs to compete harder.

Sean Backman impressed with his hockey sense, positioning and compete level. He is just so small that he'll probably never make it but he went balls to the wall every shift and often out competed guys much bigger than himself. I really like this guy but he likely has no chance.

Brett Flemming was very good positionally, competes hard and definitely plays with an attitude. He was the only guy using his body at all- until BB told him to calm down. He came to play and show he belongs.

Finley was just not that impressive, once I got past his size. He is easily beaten by speed and showed no ability to recover. Bottom line, if you can get past him it's over. He had a few nice poke checks but all on guys with average speed.

Joel Broda showed flashes of offensive ability but was inconsistent.

Garrett Mitchell- very good compete level. Tried hard everytime he was given a chance.

Carlson- what can you say? Strong, fast, great compete level, good positioning, great outlet passes. Of some interest is that he dominated Bouchard in the one on one drills

Orlov- Is the real deal. He was paired with Carlson and (I thought) was just as good. I read that BB thinks Carlson stood out and he did- but so did Orlov. He is just as good a skater, is a better stickhandler and has a great shot- really quick, hard and well placed. I thought he did the 2-1 drills as well as/better than Carlson though Carlson's outlet passes were generally better. In my mind, these two were light years of the other D-men. Very impressive.

Baby Gus- BB thought he did well but I'm not so sure. He clearly has a ton of talent but he seemed disinterested at points and, like Perreault, often played as if he had already made the squad. I'm sure I don't know what I'm talking about but I expected more than I got or than he gave. Orlov dominated him on the one on ones.

Kugreyshev- did well. Good/great skater, works hard, good instincts, good hands. Could be the real deal. He was paired with Eakin and Cassavant.

If ever there were a study in contrasts, it would be Eakin and Cassavant. Eakin is as fast as Cassavant is slow. Eakin was the best skater out there and worked very hard. I was impressed with his game. He worked well with Kugreyshev.

Cassavant is a project, plain and simple. His skating is as bad as advertised and he needs to spend as much time as he can with a power skating instructor. He was never really in the play with Kugreyshev and Eakin- he just couldn't catch up.

SDR- was very average. He competes like a fiend and finished the suicides first and in pretty good form but that was about it. Had I not known who he was, I might not have noticed him at all.

Eric Mestery- reminds me of Sarge in all the good and bad ways.

All that being said, one guy who really stood out was JP Testwuide. Who? I later discovered he is an invitee from the Denver Pioneers. Almost everything he shot went in- slap shots, wrist shots, backhands, wrap arounds, everything. He was always in the right place, skated very well and was the best of his group in the suicides. He played in college as a defenseman but he was on the wing today. Very impressive. This may have been a flash in the pan but he was a stand out today.

There's more but those are the highlights. It was a great day.

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