Submitted by Ken on July 25, 2006 - 20:35
I'd agree with the experts, there appears to be a good core that will one day play in the NHL. Having followed this team since the beginning I've seen a lot of young ones. At this age it can be hard to judge this group. There are none with Hamrlik type skills, but who will be Kubina's and Ranger's vs. Bannister's and McBain's? My impressions based on today:
Rogers - Looks like Ranger minus the puckhandling. Is playing solid
positionally and defensive minded. Seems he could adapt in 5 -
10 NHL games like Ranger did. Does have an injury history and
lacks some experience accordingly. I think he'll impress
strongly in camp again. (I had no predisposition towards him
prior to today by-the-way.)
Egener - Looks good, lacks something (perhaps passion). He has yet to
learn "Safe is Death". Everything is totally safe. Gets a
little fiesty behind the net, otherwise not very physical. I
see his upside as a better skating Nolan Pratt. We need those
Mihalik - I'm not comparing him to Kubina, but if this were the old
Lightning he'd be up this year and everyone would curse him
as a waste like they did the old Kubina. No "Safe is Death"
issues here. In fact he'll need to be reeled in a hair. Good
skater, agile on his skates somewhat. Not sure if he has
hand/eye coordination becauase he lacks hand/feet
coordination right now. As an example, Croxton's goal: he
went to the back wall to retrieve the puck, stopped, put his
stick to the ice, overshot the puck, stubbed the stick into
the ice and toppled head first into the board. He got back
out, stopped the scoring chance, regained the puck, settled
it as everyone cleared the zone, started up ice, passed to
his partner too hard and to bouncy, Croxton retrieved it and
took it in alone. He made lots of good plays to stop scoring
chances around the net. He made lots of bad plays such as
getting caught up ice trying to hit people into the side
boards while the play passesd him by in addition to some
passing woes. I like him alot, but he'll need time.
Smaby - His first camp may be a rough one. There'll be a lot for him to
take him. He had the broadest shoulders on the ice. He skated
well, covered a lot of ice. Tried to make an impression by
hitting at evry chance. Really destroyed one of the tryout
guys at center ice who had his head down. Didn't notice him
much offensively, the positive being he didn't mishandle the
puck much. Maybe a mid/late year call-up from springy. I think
going from college to the NHL, he'll get spun around to much
without a little professional seasoning.
Rosehill - I can't give a lot of details, but overall he made a good
impression. Played pretty solid. One thing I really liked
was he made a good outlook pass and hustled all the way down
ice going to the net back door as our system tries to do so
often. The pass just missed him but he showed good straight
ahead speed getting there.
Lundin - Had to look for him to find him. Small compared to most of
the others. Didn't make the most of an opportunity IMHO.
I'll go back one-to-two more days, so I'll pay closer
attention to him.
Quick - I got there right as the horn sounded to end warm-ups. It was
about about 1 minute into play before I got settled. Didn't
bring my reading glasses so I couldn't read the program. The
first person that got my attention on the ice had the name
"Quick" on his sweater. He may end up being Dan Boyle's
future replacement. The scouting report on the program
compares him to Phil Housley. It's impossible to tell how
he'll develop from a high school senior to a 23/24 year old.
He was the top offensive defenseman today. He rushed the puck
up the ice straight down the middle into a pocket of
defenders and got off a decent backhander that Beech kicked
aside. Shortly after Croxton'd goal he was at the top of his
circle and saw that Croxton had a little datlight at center
ice on the two d'men like we see Marty and Vinny so often.
Quick hit him in stride tape-to-tape for a breakaway. (Unlike
Marty & Vinny, Croxton has no moves!) Physically not a
hitter, but initiates more contact than Boyle. I hope we see
him develop fully.
Atherton - Bad stick! bad stick! He's as bad with a stick in every way
you can be. Other than that he could be a prospect. I'll bet
he does not get signed.
D'Aversa - I liked him the best of the try-out guys. Other than getting
shot into Ramo's gut, he played reasonably well. Was
impressive breaking up a 3-on-1.
Barthel - Might rate a Johnstown contract. Not physical. Point shot
that banked in was a good one.
Deck and Grover - Saw 'em, didn't notice 'em.