The Warrior Ice Arena is a totally different place to watch the youngsters than the Ice Box in Wilmington.
My first impulse today was to wonder at the fitness level of the first group on the ice. Yes they were hamming it up for the cameras on the ice, but they were also clearly laboring. When guys like Bjork, Gabrielle, and Sherman look a bit slower than normal it i a pretty safe bet Whitesides and crew have been up to their tricks testing and building the fitness of the prospects.
Wiley Sherman continued to eat opposing players alive, in one on one drills they usually didn’t make it over the blueline. He looks to have an even higher percentage of lean mass this year, and he wasn’t exactly fluffy last time I saw him.
Ryan Donato is just polished. He is clearly one of the most talented players, not just one of the oldest.
Oskar Steen is clearly more physically mature than last year, and make four or five passes that drew notice.
Anders Bjork should be your favorite to take a roster spot in Boston this fall of all the players yet to play a professional game. Like Donato he’s fast, he’s agile, and he may have the best shot accuracy of all the forwards outside the NHL/AHL.
Daniel Bukac was their seventh round pick this year, I didn’t need to look up his stats to see him as a defensive minded defenseman. He didn’t seem out of his element playing against the older forwards.
Perhaps the most surprising guy was late invitee James Corcoran, the Walpole High goaltender. Smaller guy, but really, who cares? I liked his ability to hold the post while down, and still extend well forward and uses his stick. Snappy glove too.
Jack Becker might have been feeling the least wear from whatever was going on before practice. Only Senyshyn appeared faster in drills and rushes. Becker skated well, passed solidly.
During the scrimmage Jack Studnicka had a completely filthy, behind the back, through the defenders legs pass to Bjork pass that should rightly have sent everyone in the building to decontamination showers. (Bjork roofed it.)
A late add was Ori Abramson, a big defensive minded defenseman born in Ontario and attending University of Vermont. He’s a little older than most of the prospects but didn’t look out of place. Leans towards a close space and use stick type of defense.