Last one for the night, isolation on Toffoli, Vey, little Nolan, Andreoff, Campbell and Deslaurier and a dash of Gibson from the Group B Practice. This one is edited down... as opposed to the raw mass of gold and garbage in the scrimmage video, so it should be more palatable to the swiftly disinterested.
White won 1-0 this morning. Nick Shore with the only goal.
Said on draft day that Shore has talent, he just needs to be more coordinated. Once he matches up his physical with his mental capabilities, he will take off as a prospect. Someone else had a more detailed scouting report, I think it was Josh Deitall (sorry if I spelled your name wrong).
I find it interesting that the two posts above this one were written by guys with "Bernier" in their name, YET used to have names including players not in the Kings long term plans. Is a pattern emerging?
I find it interesting that the two posts above this one were written by guys with "Bernier" in their name, YET used to have names including players not in the Kings long term plans. Is a pattern emerging?
Not to completely negatize this thread, but who was the worst at camp? Was there anyone out there that just stood out as "No way in hell" ?
Only ask cause I was totally that guy. Guy coming from Canyon Country, CA trained in Minnesota for 3 weeks and got totally destroyed. Best I did was couple junior college/crappy college team offers. Roommate was a guy who got drafted by the Blues that year... ended up as an 18yr old playing with all the 16yr olds by the end of it all.
I attended camp on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. I wrote some basic observations and opinions for those who couldn't attend.
However, keep in mind this IS development camp, so the idea is for these players to play better. I'm not a professional, either. I did the best I could to get some good glimpses of every player, but some just stood out more than others.
6 - Jake Muzzin: I thought he had a pretty good camp overall. Others have noticed a bit of a swagger to his game, which isn't untrue. I think some of it looked more like boredom. He would, at different times, completely control the play, take control of the puck, lead the rush, and apply pressure. Other times, he would lazily slide a pass to the opposition to be picked off. He's definitely a player who will get some looks at training camp, but it could either be a long look or short look, depending on if his sometimes lazy plays will carry over to that camp.
34 - Saverio Posa: He is a smallish looking defenseman, but he plays big. He's actually fired a few rockets from the point during drills, and he's not shy about getting into a bit of a shoving match with other players. I didn't get a good read on how he looked hockey sense wise, but the effort was there. However, I don't think the Kings will offer him a contract, and he'll have to re-enter the draft.
38 - Pierre Durepos: I only saw him once, and that was today. I didn't see anything stand out, so I'm not going to try and comment.
41 - Alex Roach: Roach is one of the more enigmatic invitees. He showed some good puck decisions in the offensive zone, knowing when to move and get more open ice. He got a goal when he fluttered a puck towards the net. However, he also coughed up the puck that led to a goal. He looked not too different from Alec Martinez with his decision making once Martinez bulked up, but at the same time Roach hasn't demonstrated the same speed (though in his defense, he's only 18 years old). He could have played meaner. I'd say there's a slim chance he gets any contract offered, and he'll have to try again next year to get drafted.
42 - Jeff Brown: I had a hard time getting a read on him. He looked smaller than his listed size (6'2, 202), but he shows a better scoring touch than his numbers indicate (33 points in 56 games as a 20 year-old). He's one of those tenacious players who doesn't give up on the play, but I didn't get a good read on his play without the puck or even his skating.
43 - Michael Shumacher: This is a low risk, high reward pick. He's only 17 years old and he looks pretty big. He skates well, makes good puck decisions, even in close quarters, and can snipe a hard shot. He seems to struggle most with decisions away from the puck. Most notably was his failure to get into an open spot so Nick Shore could lead him with a pass. The OHL will be a great developmental scene for him.
I wanted to add that he's not shy about playing defensively, either. Even though he's a left winger, he was grinding it out in the right wing corner in his own zone to win the puck free.
48 - David Eddy: I didn't watch him a whole lot, but he showed good speed and tenacity. However, there's not one thing I can think of that was memorable.
49 - Joel Lowry: More than anyone else, Lowry was the biggest surprise to me. I mistakenly wrote off his BCHL numbers because he IS 19 years old, and I didn't think he would do anything to make him noticeable. He has an awkward stride, and at times looks like he's loafing around, but then he surprisingly initiates body contact. He plays gritty, but not undisciplined. He also has a very quick, deceptive shot that surprises goalies.
With that in mind, he DOES look like a work in progress and he will be going to Cornell, if I understand correctly. He could definitely use some instruction on his skating stride. It's rather awkward like Simmonds' used to be. He also didn't show the most creativity with the puck, but he will probably develop into more of a blue collar player anyway.
51 - Brandon Kozun: He treated this development camp like a training camp, and that's a good thing. He played with incredible intensity the entire time, with either his head, hands, or feet moving. He showed some creativity when he held onto the puck a little longer to buy appropriate time, he showed good skill when he would snipe the puck, and he showed some chippy play when he took a jab at big d-man Cajkovsky with his stick after he took him out in the scrimmage.
Obviously, enough has been said about his size being a deterrent. It does affect how easily he can get muscled off the puck when challenged by a stronger defenseman. He also played very hot and cold, where even though he played hard, he would have bouts of play where he was off. This is common for younger players, but it stood out more with Kozun. He's going to have his opportunity at training camp to get a spot as a 4th line energy player. He has a shot, but he will stand a better chance if he uses the summer to work out and get stronger.
52 - David Freidmann: He projects to be another energy player, displaying good speed and a scoring touch. He doesn't back down from physical contact, but his size will be a hindrance from him being effective. He's facing a similar predicament as Joel Lowry, where he needs to make the transition to a tougher league instead of the OJHL.
I don't think he'll get a contract with the Kings. He looked like another run of the mill prospect, who needs to play against tougher competition.
54 - Kevin Gravel: Gravel is still a work in progress, which is fine. He is a defensive defenseman, who seemingly embraces the Rob Scuderi type role. He got nailed pretty hard by Kantor the first day of scrimmage, but he never seemed to retaliate... and by retaliate, I don't mean go head hunting, but he didn't seem to look angry or pissed off that he just got punked.
The good news is, he is very responsible defensively. He was probably one of the better players when he had to block passes in the passing lanes. So, he could very well become a Rob Scuderi type of player. He could afford to play with more of a mean streak, and he definitely needs to bulk up, both of which could develop with more confidence and maturity.
55 - Michael Mersch: I was excited about seeing this kid, after reading some articles about him. He's a very promising draftee of the Kings, with some decent size, soft hands, and good chemistry with fellow 2011 draftee Nick Shore. Around the net, he had bouts of genuinely soft hands, but he shows willingness to play a rugged game.
The biggest knock I read about him was his skating which, to me, doesn't look bad. I think his biggest problems involve decision making, both with and without the puck. When he has the shot, he knows to shoot, but when he doesn't have a shot, he doesn't have the ability or creativity to buy time to redistribute the puck; he will either lose it or have to get rid of it. Luckily, he had a player like Nick Shore giving him options at all times.
56 - Nick Shore: Dynamic player has hockey sense in spades. How he fell into the third round is a huge shocker to me, but he has potential to be a very dangerous player. He showed smart decisions either in holding onto the puck to make a play or to drive to the net. He's more of a playmaker than a goal scorer (although he was the only player to score in both scrimmages), but he seems to have a knack of putting himself, and his players, in positions to succeed.
He's not particularly gritty, and he should use this time in college to add muscle mass and to cultivate his talents (such as skating and shooting). Showed great chemistry with Michael Mersch for the couple days I watched them.
57 - Linden Vey: Savvy playmaker Linden Vey showed why he scored a lot in the junior league this year. He has the ability to buy himself time and make smart plays with the puck. He's not the strongest, sharpest shot, fastest, or best playmaker, but he utilizes all that he can to try and take control of the game. As I described before, he looks a lot like a younger Justin Williams to me.
The biggest knock I see on him is he tries to do too much with the puck at times. He was able to get away with it in Juniors, but now that he's playing against better overall competition, he got himself in over his head a little bit. He COULD challenge for a spot as a 4th liner come training camp, but I think he'll benefit more from playing in Manchester for a year to have a better understanding of his limits.
60 - Jordan Weal: Speedy playmaker who, as a whole, had a rather underwhelming camp. I don't know if he caught the flu bug or if he was hurt, but after some strong showings in drills on Sunday, he disappeared the following two days.
He has exceptional acceleration and overall speed, and can change directions on a dime. He's unselfish with the puck, perhaps to a fault. He lacks the size and doesn't show enough intensity or aggression to be a grinding or energy player, but he didn't show enough of a scoring touch to look like a promising top line forward in the future.
I'm more inclined to chalk this camp up as an aberration, as he seemed to regress from last year. Training camp will definitely be a better gauge of where he is and where he wants to be.
61 - Rob Mignardi: He's another one of those invitees whom I noticed in short bursts, where he would suddenly come out with a burst of speed and aggression. All in all, though, he just didn't show anything spectacular in camp on a consistent basis that has me thinking the Kings would want to sign him.
64 - Andy Andreoff: Andreoff had an average camp. He was described a lot like Clifford when he was drafted, but he didn't exactly match up as well as I hoped. Clifford just always seemed to be involved in the play, and Andreoff struggled with his puck battles. He did show his chippiness during the scrimmage when he took a couple jabs at a player after there was a collision, but he didn't make nearly the impression as other players of his ilk have made.
I'm pretty sure there will be a very mean line in Manchester, consisting of Clune, Andreoff, and Nolan.
70 - Michael Kantor: This is the true agitator that looked a lot like Clifford at camp last year. He looks like he came to camp with the intent of getting a contract with the Kings. He laid out some pretty hard hits during the scrimmages, and played with an unbridled intensity that kept the opposition looking over their shoulders. He has surprising top end speed and keeps control of the puck fairly well at said speeds.
He doesn't seem particularly dangerous around the net, possibly limiting his upside as a forward, but I have a hard time doubting he will make it in the NHL some day. It may be just as a 4th liner, but it would be a reliable utility player. If there's one player the Kings offer a contract to out of camp, I think he has the best chance of getting it.
71 - Jordan Nolan: He looks a lot more trim and fit this year, and it's more evident when you see him skating. He has pretty good top end speed for a big guy, but his acceleration is sub par. He doesn't shy from physical contact, and given his penalty minutes in Manchester last year, I think he was holding back a little bit during the scrimmages.
However, he struggles a lot with puck control and hockey sense. These two key factors are the biggest obstacles that keep him from projecting to be a power forward; right now, he looks more like he could be a more refined Kevin Westgarth, given his skating abilities.
72 - Nic Dowd: I'd say he's the most improved prospect from last year, hands down. He looked like any run of the mill prospect who wouldn't amount to much the previous year, but this year, he made smart, subtle plays that always lead to chances for his teammates. The puck just seems to find him, and while he lacks the ability to take control of a game, he showed a frequent ability to just change the momentum for his team.
I think his overall skillset, at this point, compares to a player like Derek Armstrong, but before that gets taken as an insult, remember that Armstrong put up some solid points with the right linemates in the NHL. Dowd just needs to continue working on his strength and fundamentals to give himself a better chance to succeed.
73 - Tyler Toffoli: I was pleasantly surprised at how much stronger Toffoli looked, not just skating around on the ice, but with the puck. He's an incredibly dangerous player in the offensive zone, with great vision and a nose for the net. He also gets himself into prime scoring position when he doesn't have the puck, giving his teammates a viable option when they have the puck.
I heard he was a little sick, so I'm going to overlook the fact he looked like he was skating through mud. I'm more worried by how often he was cherrypicking, making him unreliable defensively. He's going to have to show more commitment to defense if he wants to make the Kings from training camp, but again, I'm hoping this is more about him feeling sick and not having the drive to skate all the way back there.
77 - Robbie Czarnik: He's another forward who can be extremely dangerous in the offensive zone. For the past several years, he's displayed an incredible release that makes his shots nearly unstoppable. He has very good puck control. He has decent speed, and isn't shy from bumping against equally sized or smaller players.
The problem is, we've seen this skillset for the past few years. Granted, he's adding a little more sandpaper to his game, but he always shoots for the top corners. With his puck control, he could add a new element to his game by trying to do the "goal scorer's goal" (stickhandle to get goalies to open up, then tuck it between the legs). He instead takes the Brian Rolston approach of trying to shoot it as hard as he can from further out with the hopes of beating the goalie.
I do think he'll have a lot of success once he plays in the AHL, but I sincerely believe he's holding himself back more than most other players, given his abilities with the puck.
79 - Michal Cajkovsky: Slovak invitee plays a fairly mean game, not unlike the last Kings prospect to wear #79 (Colten Teubert). He's definitely more of a defensive defenseman than an offensive defenseman. His shot is unspectacular, and his one-timer was pitiful. He thrives in the physical aspect of the game, seemingly looking like an Matt Greene type of player. During a 2-on-1 drill, he was very good about blocking up the passing lanes, and as soon as the puck carrier seemingly lost control of the puck, he charged after him to knock him off the puck. It was a dangerous play, because if the carrier regained control, there was a player alone in front of the net to pass to, but Cajkovsky either because he was very smart or not very smart, applied just enough pressure to put an end to it.
80 - Nicolas Deslauriers: The speedy two way defenseman still has an amazing skating ability, a rocket of a shot, and now showing more commitment to the defensive side of things. He can, at times, rush the puck end to end, or pull a Drew Doughtyesque spin-o-rama to evade the opposition. His talents with the puck are top notch amongst the defensemen, and while I think he'll be hard pressed to surpass Muzzin, Martinez, Voynov, or even Hickey on the depth charts this year, I do think he is adding more to his game that will give him a longer look at training camp.
While he is showing more commitment to his defensive game, he still makes glaring mistakes. During a 2-on-1 puck control drill, for example, he had multiple episodes of laying the stick down to block a pass, only to later find out that the receiver was behind him, and the passer got the puck by Deslauriers which resulted in a goal. Before he can be successful at the next level, Deslauriers MUST show better awareness of his surroundings, and his skills will only take him so far if he's not looking around. However, during other drills, he also consistently blocked three shots in a row, so once he's aware of the danger, he's great at resolving it.
81 - Andrew Campbell: Campbell looks like another solid defensive defenseman, as far as prospects are concerned. He is typically the last player out of the defensive zone, and the first player out of the offensive zone, but he still shows a willingness to try carrying the puck up the ice. He's very alert with his surroundings, will play the body, and otherwise does so many things right without the puck.
With the puck, though, is a completely different story. His questionable decision making is magnified by his poor execution. He had many giveaways, broken up passes, or missed breakouts that left his team scrambling to recover. I'm sure he'll get a look at training camp, but I wouldn't be surprised if he was among the first cuts sent to Manchester.
82 - Ray Kaunisto: I remarked how Kozun was very hot and cold at times, and Ray Kaunisto was another such player. He's not shy about the gritty part of the game, but he's not overwhelming, either. He had spurts of confidence where he would lead the rush, but then he would disappear for shifts at a time. He's not exceptionally fast, but he does put forth an honest effort 100% of the time.
He is a sneaky shooter, though. When he's on, he can snipe a shot like Czarnik. However, more so than Czarnik, he adds more deception to his shooting. During a 2-on-0 drill, Kaunisto, when carrying the puck down the right wing, looked to the slot where his linemate was crashing. The goalie moved over to the right, anticipating the pass, but then Kaunisto did a no-look wrist shot right by the goalie.
Kaunisto's overall effort and ability may win the coaching staff's hearts over, and he may get a shot in the NHL this year or next year, but I think he'll benefit more from getting more seasoning in the AHL.
83 - Colin Miller: He looks a lot bigger than his size would indicate. He's solid, if unspectacular on both ends of the ice. His biggest asset would probably be an overall good hockey sense, and a confidence in his game that won't let him back down from the opposition. He makes good enough decisions that keep his team in possession of the puck, and also limits the options of the opposition. He lacks the gamebreaking ability at this point that may develop with some physical maturing. However, he would be one of those "safe" prospects.
84 - Derek Forbort: If not for Nic Dowd's rapid improvement, the most improved award would have been given to Derek Forbort. His skating has improved by leaps and bounds, and he would have glimpses of brilliance with some INCREDIBLE passes, whether they be breakout passes or a pass through traffic for his teammates to bury. His vision and overall fundamentals look like they've improved quite a bit, and I'm excited about the numbers he'll put up with more minutes in North Dakota next season. I also like the fact that he is willing (and able) to use his body at times to separate the players from the puck.
Of course, every player has their issues. Forbort really needs to bulk up, first of all. He's too lanky. He also has some of those head scratching moments where you're left wondering what he was thinking. However, I've yet to see a prospect where consistency isn't an issue, so I'm not concerned about that. It's just something he needs to be mindful about in the future, especially as he gets bigger playing minutes.
85 - Blaz Gregorc: Slovenian defenseman plays an overall solid game. He has an underrated skating ability that allows him to move out of trouble and not force the play. In that regard, he looks a little bit like Sergei Zubov (not that he projects to be that kind of player, just that he has Zubov like patience). I'd say he's more of an offensive defenseman than a defensive one, and he likes to have the puck.
He's a lot like Colin Miller, where he doesn't really dominate the play, but he's like a magnet in that the puck always finds him. He would be another very safe, if unspectacular prospect in the Kings' system.
I'm only going to talk about Jones and Gibson, as I lost track of the other three goalies very frequently and couldn't give an honest assessment.
31 - Martin Jones: Jones had an average camp, to be honest. He has size and athleticism, and he makes judicious use of both to take away the shots from the forwards. However, he still needs some experience to make better snap decisions. For example, during Shore's 2-on-1 goal, the defenseman was covering the receiver, as he should have; Jones should have come out to challenge Shore. Instead, he stayed deep in his net, giving Shore too much to shoot at.
Once he starts developing a better sense of when to come out to challenge the shooters, the opposition will be very hard pressed to get one by him. Until then, he would do well to develop more in Manchester.
75 - Chris Gibson: He looked terrible to begin with, and then improved to inconsistent. He has a magical glove hand that swallows the puck up. He has athleticism and a lot of quickness to his game that at times can make him tough to beat. However, his fundamentals are really off. He had to be told about laying the paddle down flat to block passes from behind the net, he cheated off the post a lot, and at times lost the puck.
However... he's only 18. He has some wonderful tools that, if supplemented with some good fundamentals, could make him a dangerous goalie years down the road. At this point, he just needs to focus on working on those fundamentals and building on them in Chicoutimi, because he still has many years before he can be considered NHL ready.
"It has not been a good day. I lost my glasses early this morning and I had to go buy a pair of 79 dollar reading glasses today. 79 bucks. You can literally get them at Costco, three-for-20." - Darryl Sutter's response to going up 2-0 in the series.
Anyone watch goalie Michael Morrison at all, and can give an update on how he did?? Thanks guys.
Morrison was right in front of me for much of his practice Tuesday. He looked good. I wasn't focusing on him much so I can't say anything substantive... But there's video of him in the video I just posted on lakingsnews.com if you want to see for yourself (though the video is more weighted towards following the skated.
Prior to his eligibility I saw him a couple dozen times over a couple of years and since have watched him play in Manch the same.
Any specific question? I like what KP had to right about him at camp and it seems to be accurate with how I see his game with the only exception being that I see Kaunisto playing a smart game typically. He does a good job at picking his hits and can generally make things happen on the fly. KP basically has him pegged but these camps bring out weird things in some players some of the time to me.