Red Wings Development Camp is underway! That means a new crop of fresh young faces join the few returning members of the Wings organization. While this camp is more about training, constructive criticism, and instruction than it is evaluation players; there are some fun things to learn.
Here’s the roster, player information, and team breakdown. I’ll be updating this throughout camp to add the dev camp teams and player numbers, as well as scrimmage lines and whatnot. You can also check out the full camp schedule to know when the action is happening.
The morning started out with the goalies hitting the ice for some personalized instruction. And with eight coaches on the ice with the six goalies, there was plenty of individual attention.
After that it got a little tricky to watch the players, because for the rest of the day they were working in both rinks simultaneously. During both the practice and skill drills there were some interesting observations to be made.
Being the 9th overall pick will get you a lot of attention. Several people asked me to comment on Rasmussen’s skating abilities to see if they’re as good as advertised. Unfortunately he wasn’t among the players to participate in the skill drills (more on those later) so I didn’t get a good look at his technical abilities. What I did notice right away during practice, was now long his legs are and how well he uses them to his advantage. He uses long, graceful, smooth strides to fly down the ice (often having to wait up for his line mates). Several of the other players on the ice looked choppy in comparison, but Rasmussen was smooth and fluid. His skating style and stride were beautiful to watch. I wasn’t able to see a lot from this big kid yet, but what I did see was good. He also looks like he has a bomb of a shot!
Motion Sickness Drill
I’m certain there’s a more official name for this drill the defensemen went through, and it made me a little dizzy just watching them.
To start the skills drills portion of the morning, the coaches set up a bunch of Power Edge Pro devices that looked like a maze on the ice.
The routine the players then had to perform required great hand-eye coordination and excellent skating ability. Dennis Cholowski, the Red Wings 2016 1st round pick (20th overall) was the first to run through the drills, and I think he was also the best at them.
Here’s a clip of him performing it the first time.
This is Cholowski’s second development camp, the Wings signed him to his entry level contract, and he’ll likely be headed to Grand Rapids this coming season. The Wings obviously think he’s ready to turn pro and has a lot of potential, and in this young group he truly did stand out as ready. All of the on ice activities, drills, and practices are conducted at high speeds, there’s barely any time to even write notes because things are happening so fast. Even in that situation, Cholowski looked completely calm, confident, and executed with poise and accuracy. I can see why the Wings felt he was ready for an NHL contract.
Many players understandably struggled with this drill, and it got even more complicated as they progressed.
Libor Sulak, who the Red Wings signed as a free agent in May, handled the drills very well. Please don’t judge him too harshly, I happened to catch his only booboo’s on camera. He did very well.
As Griffins coach Todd Nelson reminded us today, this camp is not an evaluation, it’s all about education. The way to educate players and help them improve, is to expose their weaknesses and give them tools to improve them. And players are getting an education to help them improve their on ice abilities as well as learn how to be professional hockey players off the ice.
Tomorrow is another round of on ice practice and fun (to watch) drills. If there’s a player you’re particularly interested in learning more about, or you have specific questions, please drop them in the comments.