Another addition to this year's development camp was a focus on puck possession, puck protection, and controlling the puck while maneuvering. Let's take a look at a few of those drills.
For reference, Here's the full camp roster with more information on each player. I updated the chart with some additional info, including most of the players' projected teams for this season.
The first drill is pretty straight forward. Two players come out, the player with the puck gets a little pressure from the side, and spins in the opposite direction, keeping control of the puck, and shoots at the net.
- The goalie for the far side drill is Toni Eskelinin. The goalie for the near side drill is Jake Patterson.
- The goalie for team Lidstrom drill was Andrew D'Agostini
- Rasmus Bodin had a dickens of a time staying on his feet during this drill, however that's uncharacteristic of him. He's a strong skater who's usually pretty darn smooth. There were several players that fell unusually often during this drill, but I was especially surprised that Bodin fell so often, given his skating skill. I'm sure fatigue played heavily into things at this point, after 3 days of intense drills, workouts and a scrimmage, along with the "off day" that sounds like it was pretty exhausting as well.
This next drill gets a little more difficult and has the player skate a figure 8 around two *mostly* stationary players who harass them a bit.
- James DeHaas nailed this drill and looked Zetterbergian while doing it. He gets nice and low, maintains great balance and strength, sticks his hip/butt out to keep as much distance between the attacking player and the puck as possible, and he kept good control of the puck with one hand on his stick while he used the other arm to hold off the attacking players.
- Andreas Athanasiou is an incredibly talented young man. His skating is incredibly fast and smooth, and he makes silky smooth passes, and that shot. Mmm mmm mmm. Wait, where was I going with that train of thought? Oh yeah, this drill... Athanasiou's skating skills are a benefit to him here because he leans waaaay over on his edges and sticks his leg out quite a bit, which helps create more space between the puck and the attacking player; but he still maintains great puck and skating control. Xavier Ouellet wasn't quite as smooth in his execution, but he's also a very strong, smooth skater and you can see the similarities between in his footwork execution and Athanasiou's.
- Tyler Bertuzzi, Luke Glendening, and Marek Tvrdon also had good techniques and execution. Bertuzzi uses one hand to create more distance, and he's a pretty good skater, which helps as well. Something I noticed about Glendening's technique, is that he pulls his stick closer to his body and rotates it so that the blade covers most of the puck. Tvrdon did pretty well, though he looks very stiff, and his skating looked a little rougher; but again, both of those things could be a result of his rustiness from missing so much time with his health issues.
How about a little more intense one-on-one action to see those puck protection skills at work.
- The transformation in Bertuzzi's attitude and demeanor as seen here, and the ones he started camp with are incredible. This is the first time I saw him smile, laugh, and look like he was enjoying himself. That's a good thing. The size and strength discrepancy between Goodrow (6'2" 214) and Bertuzzi (6'0" 178) was pretty drastic, but Bertuzzi has the skill foundation to be much more effective; he just needs to bet bigger and stronger (don't we say this about every prospect?) in order for those skills to be maximized.
- Athanasiou isn't an overly physical guy (he'll need to work on that skill set more), but he's incredibly mobile, quick, and skilled with his stick. He's a very athletic player and has impressive range of motion; which you can see here as he rotates, pivots, and twists to protect the puck.
- Tvrdon vs Frk is a good battle because Tvrdon was very effective in protecting the puck, and Frk is quick, shifty, and relentless.
- The size difference between Ildar Telyakov (6' 10" 240) and Trevor Hamilton (6'0" 186) is kind of comical. I can picture Telyakov holding Hamilton at arms length, and taunting him because he can't reach the puck.
Other Development Camp video posts: