WRITTEN BY- SensProspects
Editor’s Note- If you spend any time on Twitter, you’ve likely come across the work of SensProspects.? There are a lot of great voices on Sens Twitter but it’s hard to find a more useful one. SensProspects does an incredible job keeping followers up to date on every prospect in the organization. From Thomas Chabot to Macoy Erkamps and every player in between. And luckily for us, he’s watching this year’s Development Camp up close and personal. SensProspects will provide his thoughts on yesterday’s on-ice session and then hopefully have time to do the same for the upcoming on-ice session. Then we’ll wrap it up with a Q&A on his general impressions from this year’s Camp. You can follow SensProspects on Twitter here and subscribe to his YouTube channel here.?
The second day of the 2018 Sens Dev Camp felt familiar to those of years past.
The focus was on skating and skills drills, split across three ice pads. One being led by AHL coaches, another by a professional figure skating coach, and the last by the vintage tracksuit guys—development camp stars.
Jari Byrski and his gang of instructors from SK8ON Hockey School are legends in the hockey world, and the Sens are lucky to have them at dev camp.
With SK8ON comes a number of additional goalies on hand who you might notice in highlights, including locals Kai Edmonds (Barrie – OHL) and Zac Hamilton (Colgate – NCAA).
On Wednesday, the guys at camp were split into three groups that moved between the rinks. With unique props and drills all over the place, it was hard to spend much time watching anything but the groups working with SK8ON. I managed to spend some time viewing the skating and puck control work being done on the other rinks too, but only for a few minutes at a time.
Players sometimes stayed behind to put in extra time on specific drills. Such was the case for Aaron Luchuk, the reigning OHL scoring champ and somewhat recent FA signing by the Senators back in December 2017.
Luchuk spent back-to-back sessions working on skating drills. One thing that caught my eye with Luchuk was that when it was time for guys to switch drills/pads and the zambonis to come on, he immediately went to the net, dropped to one knee and started helping the instructors load pucks and cones into milk crates. By the time 2018 4th rounder Jonathan Gruden noticed that other guys had skated over to Luchuk and were helping clean up too, there wasn’t room for another body to squeeze in. Little things like this make it easy to see why Luchuk was Windsor’s captain to start the 2017-18 season, and was a revered member of the Windsor community before his mid-season trade.
Quick thoughts from the first on-ice sessions at #SensDevCamp 2018.
I should probably get that website going soon… pic.twitter.com/RRAdrGZW8W
— Sens Prospects (@SensProspects) June 26, 2018
In my quick thoughts from Day 1 at dev camp, I highlighted Christian Jaros as “a man among boys” out there. Not surprisingly, I’d add Colin White and Christian Wolanin to this mix. These three are almost always a step ahead out there, and they carry noticeable confidence on the ice that isn’t lost on the younger prospects. Nick Paul fit this bill last year. Some quicker thoughts on…
-Gabriel Gagné’s shot is just ridiculous. If he can put everything else together over the next two season, the Sens will have a true offensive weapon.
–Logan Brown’s skating continues to look… unique. More than once, skating instructor Shelley Kettles could be heard yelling: “Logan! Sit!” to get him lower.
-On the flip side, Drake Batherson has clearly invested a lot of training to improve his skating over the past 12 months and is looking great out there.
-I almost wrote off Markus Nurmi after last year’s dev camp, where I thought he looked awkward and out of place, but he’s looked like a new player out there this week. His impressive rookie campaign in the Finnish Liiga changed my view of him as a prospect. Huge frame that’s he’s still filling in to.
-Didn’t think I’d lead this off by touching on both 2018 7th rounders, but here we are. Jakov Novak (188th) has some work to do on his skating, which should be a primary focus this coming season at NCAA Bentley, a school I admittedly had never heard of.
-Meanwhile, Luke Loheit (194th) has impressed with his skating and shot. Not bad for a 17 year old taken out of high school who won’t be in the NCAA until 2019-20.
–Jonathan Gruden clearly has a lot of potential, but also plenty of rough edges. Excited to track him at NCAA Miami (Ohio).
–Jonny Tychonick is a shifty little defenceman who should be fun to watch. He’s pretty crafty and creative out there.
— Sens Prospects (@SensProspects) June 27, 2018
-Finally, Angus Crookshank will be one to keep an eye on during Friday’s scrimmage. Though a little undersized, I imagine he’ll shine in the 3-on-3 tournament. Speed to burn and beautiful hands.
Angus Crookshank (2018 Draft, 5th Round #126) looked impressive today at #SensDevCamp Day 2, despite being stopped by Kevin Mandolese here. Quick feet, good hands.
Will have a little more Crookshank in the Day 2 highlight pack later. pic.twitter.com/390BVaGXAl
— Sens Prospects (@SensProspects) June 27, 2018
-It’s hard to devote too much attention to the invitees when many of them are clustered in invitee groups. That said, Luka Burzan is top of the pops after 2 days. It was a surprise to many that he wasn’t chosen in the 2018 draft—one of a few members of Canada’s latest Ivan Hlinka U18 gold medal team to not have his name called.
–Robert Lynch (Drummondville – QMJHL) is the best Drake Batherson impersonator out there, at least from a face and gear perspective.
-Didn’t get much chance to watch?Eduards Tralmaks?(Maine – NCAA) but plan to keep an eye on him during Thursday’s session. The Latvian had 25 points in 37 games last year.
Finally, it’s hard not to follow and pay attention to the dev camp group that features the American bromance between Brady Tkachuk, Colin White, and Logan Brown. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a trio seem so inseparable on the ice at camp. Their larger group often includes Drake Batherson, Jonathan Gruden, Aaron Luchuk, and Luka Burzan, so naturally this was the group I spent most of my time watching.
With nothing but bad news and sad rumours coming out of the Sens locker room over recent months, this is one of the most exciting things about adding Tkachuk to the organization. Having guys who know each other, and spend time together away from the rink, can create an incredibly unique on-ice product. You become more than just teammates. Let’s just hope we aren’t venturing into Flyers’ Dry Island territory, though I haven’t heard anything to make me nervous yet.
Here is a short video of the highlights from the day.
Hope to be back with thoughts about today’s on-ice session and possibly recaps of Friday’s Scrimmage and Monday’s 3-on-3 tournament if I’m able to make it out to all three.
For those that missed it, some highlights from Day One can be found here.
Thanks so much for having me!