Another year of watching the Bruins prospects is upon us and while the show was fun, there were some big disappointments. Some of the most intriguing prospects were not on the ice. Rob O’Gara is no where on the list even attending this years camp, Matt Benning was likewise conspicuous by his absence. Zachary Senyshyn is down and out with mono, and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson is not attending for “personal reasons”. Worse, only the absence of the latter pair is explained. With the utter lack of quality in the Boston Bruins defense this year not seeing O’Gara and Benning is likely cause for concern.
A few players stood out in multiple areas. I thought Heinen, Steen, and Kuraly had the most developed shots. The release from all three is hidden until the puck is two feet off the blade of their stick. Matt Grzelcyk as the grizzled veteran of the skating contingent looked to have slid into a leadership role demonstrating all the drills, and showed the high end agility, puck handling and shooting we’ve come to expect from the healthy and fit version of the Charlestown native.
What might be the most pleasant surprise is Daniel Vladar who looked like he could have stopped pucks for another six hours. He is a big, tall goalie who unlike a lot of guys approaching his six and a half feet he doesn’t seem to lose the puck when its on the ice right around his pads and skates. Day one is hardly the time go projecting NHL career lengths for anyone but he made the skaters work for the very few pucks that went by him, and had a quiet efficiency of movement.
Wiley Sherman is another of the jumbos, he seems to have put on some muscle filling out a body that looked a bit scary his first year at camp. That first year you’d watch him recovering between drills or at scrimmage and you’d see his jersey get sucked into his ribs when he breathed. To go with the muscle his straight line speed is certainly adequate.
Brandon Carlo should probably get the “Anthony Camara” award for body contact as he pressed hard on forwards during drills and the center ice simulate play.
In the first half of day Stephen Dillon looked a bit ragged and the skaters put more than a couple pucks past him in the early drills, repeatedly going to the same spots. As he warmed up and settled in the Niagara Icedog (and youngest player in camp) looked better and better.
The biggest takeaway from the group as a whole is the most noticeable separation between the most agile third of the players present, and the rest of the group. Not surprisingly small and very small men like Steen, Grzelcyk, and Fitzgerald were near the top of the chart.
Malcolm Subban and Zane McIntyre were on the ice early today doing goaltending drills with the staff, but did not participate in the general session with the youngsters. The most impressive player of the day was hands down Daniel Vladar who didn’t flinch from contact, tracked the puck well, and used pads, stick and glove to great impact.