This is a list of the players who displayed the best and most attributes at this development camp. Depending on how the categories are weighted, the list could easily be different with two or three players sliding off the list, and others moving up or down. This is not a list of what I think their NHL impact
Broadly speaking the categories I looked for included:
- Athleticism, particularly endurance.
- Agility: lateral motion and turning ability
- Performance in drills
- Performance in 3vs3 scrimmage and other simulated play
A couple honorable mentions who all improved day after day:
- Ryan Lindgren, one of the youngest players at camp and by Friday was certainly performing better than a couple of defenseman who have been through camp before.
- Trent Frederic, another of this year’s draft class. another of the US National Development team members who looks to have some solid upside.
In some ways landing at the bottom of a ranking list is worse than missing it. Kuraly wasn’t bad at anything. He also didn’t thrive at anything, except standing in front of the net and holding off defenders. As one of the oldest skaters at camp, and one of the few to be signed to a contract, he might well have been told to simply stay healthy because no one earns a roster spot in July.
He didn’t show a lot of offensive flair, but when he did score it clearly wasn’t a fluke. He’s a terrier out on the ice, boundless energy, and no fear. He received the hardest hit of the week from Brandon Carlo on Tuesday or Wednesday, and when he was playing 3 on 3 with Wiley Sherman and Matt Grzelcyk, he went to the boards and took the puck from the (larger) opposing player.
Cameron Hughes, this guy can skate, he’s got a good shot, he’s a solid passer, and he can handle the puck at speed.
The reason he’s not higher on the list than the other defenseman is as much a matter of positioning during game play and my weighting of the factors listed above as anything else. There wasn’t anything bad about his work at camp, it just wasn’t as polished. I wonder what he’ll look like at next years camp with another year of building strength and endurance at Boston University.
The first two things that will stick out to you after watching the Moosomin Saskatchewan native play are that he’s speedy, and happy to shoot the puck. Beyond that he’s a good puck handler, dropped back to defend in play, and passes well.
I think some day, NHL coaches are going to like this guy. He’s not particularly flashy, but he does all the things he’s supposed to and did so consistently in drills and play. It wasn’t just skill that set him apart from certain players who spend the academic year around Comm Ave, it was consistency and effort.
There’s a lot to like here, good speed, good passing, very agile, and a strong passer. Not much in the way of downside, except maybe size and even that’s not a huge concern with the way he skates. I think the bigger factors on if he makes the Boston roster this fall will be which side he ends up playing, and endurance.
After you get done gawking at Sherman’s size, pay attention to his everything else. He skates well, he was one of the few players who never looked tired on the ice, and he’s got a pretty nice wrist shot. Defensively he uses his stick well, doesn’t get caught up in chasing when he can simply deny access to the high percentage areas, and he uses all his tools fluidly.
If there is a single player that went through the more challenging drills with more agility, and deftness not named Grzelcyk than Bjork I must have missed them. Even more striking is that he did them with more speed than anyone including the Terrier’s Alum. Bjork has finished two seasons at Notre Dame, the latter at a point per game, Bruins and Bjork fans should be hoping that when he’s done at school there’s an open contract and roster spot to slide him into somewhere in Providence or Boston.
I did consider putting someone else in this slot, but not very hard or for very long. Vladar was the best player on the ice all week. I started watching when camp opened on Tuesday, and spent the week looking for a hole in his game. It wasn’t his glove, it wasn’t his positioning, it wasn’t getting back up off the ice, I can’t fault his blocker and stick side combination, and he didn’t lose pucks in his feet. Another thing I didn’t see (and bear in mind no one was ripping off slapshots) was rebounds. Everything fell within a foot of his body and was smothered quickly, assuming it didn’t land in his glove.