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07-10-2009, 07:44 PM
Habs in Kentucky
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Predators Development Camp Update from Thursday

Hey guys I attended the Thursday Development Camp and here is how I felt the players looked. The following are the players I felt stood out in one capacity or another:

Geoffrion: I was very impressed with his size, a great kid and he is returning to Wisconsin for one more season. He is listed at 6'1" 191 and he is every bit of that. The wrist shot was accurate however I did not think there was a lot of snap to it. I wish in the drills he had gone harder to the net for a man of his size. I would see him as a very serviceable 3rd line player with potential for a second line winger.

Santorelli: I know that he played in both Milwaukee and Cincinnati last year, I was left wanting more from him. After his seasons on a weak Chilliwack team and good statistics I thought he could have played stronger than he did.

Thang: Great leadership and intellegence during the drills. THese college kids I feel really are much more cerebral than the junior players when playing the game. I don't feel that his abilities are up to that of some of the junior players to his equal, although he ran the breakout and cycling drills with precision.

Below I will get to the big names.

The Predators are sooooooooo deep on defense. In the next 2-3 years they are going to be able to move a Suter or Hamhuis for some real help up front because these guys are not going to stay in the minors for long.

Blum: He will probably need just one season in Milwaukee, in fact by the first of the year he could be ready for Nashville but with Sulzar and Klein there no need to rush things at this point. He is a good skater and positional player on the defense. He has a really good shot and can really see the ice with those passes.

Josi: Very impressive. Good skater and effortless stride. He is further along that Sulzar was at this same point and I think he needs to come to Milwaukee to acclimate to the North American game. This is going to be key to determine how he truly can play the North American game.

Laakso: Good skater and decent shot. Pretty much along the smae lines as Josi and really needs to commit to come to North America and play for Milwaukee.

Sinkewich: I was fairly impressed with him. He and McKenzie are much better skaters than I anticipated from probably the two biggest guys at the camp. Sinkewich was the leader of the one ice activities and really took charge. I think he could be called up to Nashville next year as a fifth or sixth defenseman. I didn't think his shot was where I would of expected with a man of his size, but he is physical.

Engren: Made some phenomenal post-to-post saves and very quick reflexes. I expected him to be the worst one there and behind Pickard he was right there. He did let in the occasional weak goal but great reflexes and positioning.

Lindback: He is huge and takes up a lot of the net. He is always in position to make that initial save. I very rarely saw him beat on the initial shot. The glove is not real qick, but he does go down quickly, however there in seems to be the beginning to the real problem and that is he gave up way to many rebounds, and those goals typically beat. Granted, he did not really have that many defensemen in the drill either.

Jeremy Smith: He is very tiny, he is not much bigger than Ellis. I really see him probably going to the ECHL next year. I do not know the current situation in Milwaukee, but I Deckanich is there. Speaking of him, I was surprised he is not at this camp, I guess maybe he is a little old. Fairly quick reflexes, however I did not think quick enough for as small as he is. A really nice guy and I hope he can make it.

Now for the biggest stars of the camp:

Wilson: I would be very surprised if he does not play in Nashville to start the year. The Preds have a history of sending people to begin their careers in the AHL, if he does he will move quickly like Radulov did. He was the best skater, really can push it through the neutral zone on the rush and can finish, the shot is hard and accurate. In addition, his size allows him to go to the front of the net, which he does by habit better than anybody else. He is the total package and reminds me a lot of Getzlaf, but a much better skater.

Pickard: Very low key guy on the ice and seems to have good composure. He is very good technically, and I believe that should be credited a lot to the goalie coach in Tri-City of the WHL. Carey Price had great position and technique too, although something really happened to him last year under Melanson in Montreal. In fact with Carey one of the questions is his work ethic and that low key attitude. I really hope that Price can rebound because he is a great set of skills. Back to Pickard, he has that similar attitude and everything that he does seems effortless, almost as if he was not interested in the drills. He definitely was the best goalie there and has a lot of potential, the glove was quick and his lateral movement was concise and nothing was over-skated. In fact during one of the drills I can remember him really turning it on and was just superb in his positioning. I am not sure if he is going back to TriCity or if he is going to Milwaukee. I would believe that he goes back with Dekanich in Milwaukee and Smith coming out too. Truly a nice guy and visited with him for a little bit after the practice.

Ellis: Is small, however true to many of the scouting reports he always has his stick in the right position to make a play. He is almost a carbon copy of Dan Boyle, which is not a bad thing. I was a little disappointed that he did not unleash his slapshot from the blueline a little more. He was always able to put the puck towards the net, still at least 3 years away and closer to 4 I would say. However, with the depth at D, there is no need to rush like Blum.

Budish: This guy is built like a fire hydrate, even his face looks to be cut from granite , and you would never guess he has had knee surgery. I did not think he was going to be doing any on ice workouts, he went in every drill and was strong in his skating. After Wilson, this guy had the best natural ability to go to the net, in 4 years there will not be a defensemen that will be able to move him. He is every bit the strength of Okposo, and with him going to Minnesota, I really expect him to be the same type of player maybe more physical. His shot was only wristers and he did not seem to put much on them and he did not unleash any slappers that I saw, I would assume alot of that has to do with the strength of the knee.

The rest of the draftees:
I was really impressed with all ofthere skating, especially Bourque and Oliver. Oliver had a bit of hunched over skating style, but he could really go. Bourque is like a waterbug all over the place, however he needs to work on the puck control at those speeds.

The camp was a blast I recommend that if you can attend sometime to do so. I think one thing that is so great is that these guys are so excited to be at this camp, they will talk and and mingle with all of the fans and I encourage fans to take advantage of this before these guys become famous. The kids are great, even the stars of Ellis, Pickard, and Wilson. I believe that has alot to do with their coach, Barry Trotz became one of my favorite coaches in the league. He will talk to any fan that comes up to him, it is no wonder he is able to get so much out of the players, if they respect him as much as these fans do I can see why.
Let me know some of your guys thoughts.

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