The prospects were "only" on the ice for a total of two hours today, but they were an intense two hours. Griffins Coach Jeff Blashill ran the boys through a fast paced set of drills and gave plenty of instruction during the drills to make sure the prospects understood and did things correctly. The format and length of the on ice workouts are shortened from last year, but it looks like Blash is going to make the most of his time with the young bucks.
We had a limited look at the guys after day one, but there were a few observations that stood out.
- Center Dylan Larkin has been advertised as "Darren Helm with more offensive abilities" and he's certainly fast and fun to watch.
- Defenseman Mike McKee is a big boy at 6'4" 245# and he skates surprisingly well for someone his size. While he's still listed as a defenseman, he played a majority of last season at Western as a winger. I'll be interested to see if he stays on D during camp or if we see him moved up to forward.
- Defenseman Marc McNulty was skin and bones last year when the Wings drafted him, but he came into camp this year looking much stronger and with more meat on his 6'6" frame. He used his size well, and his wingspan is a great asset that he's using increasingly effectively. He was one of the best defenseman on team Yzerman for the first day.
- Andreas Athansiou is one of my favorite players to watch. His speed is unmatched, he's dynamic, and has great puck handling. His biggest weakness last year in camp was that he needed to learn better control. He has the wheels, but he'd sometimes lose the puck because he was too fast. What I saw today was better control, there's still plenty of room for improvement, but he's made progress. I watched him come from behind 3 other players who were all skating forward in the same direction as he was, and he blew past them like they weren't even moving. It looks like he frequently has to make a conscious effort to move slower so that he's not way too far ahead of his teammates of the puck. As an added bonus, he's not only a speed demon who has incredible offensive abilities, but he's also pretty good defensively as well. He has the potential to be a dynamic two way forward with high offensive potential.
- Tomas Nosek looked hesitant and a little confused to start. While Blashill was at the white board drawing up the first drill, Richard Nedomlel, a fellow Czech, was translating and explaining to Tomas what they were going to do. After a few times through the drills however, Nosek became a little more comfortable and made some great offensive moves. Time will tell, but he appears to have some great offensive abilities and slick moves with the puck.
- Alexey Marchenko was slated to be in attendance today, and his gear was in the dressing room, but he wasn't on the ice. There's no word on why he wasn't there, but my first guess is that perhaps they wanted to take another day for off ice workouts to make sure his ankle is fully healed before getting back on the ice.
Tomorrow we'll get a chance to see thee guys in a little game action at the afternoon scrimmage after a short practice in the morning. Kyle and I will both be tweeting live coverage of camp, Kyle's Twitter can be found here, and mine is here. More to come soon!