Thursday, August 19, 2010

Observations About Some of the Prospects at the Hawks' Prospect Camp

I went to the last two days of the Hawks' Prospect Camp last weekend. It was pretty cool--it was my first camp that I've gone to watch.

Here are some of my observations/amateur scouting report, I guess you could say:

Kyle Beach

The Hawks' 1st round draft pick, taken 11th overall in the 2008 draft wasn't very impressive the days I was there.
On Sunday, he looked uninterested. He didn't hit much, didn't go to the net like he should use his big frame for, didn't turn on the jets, he just didn't do a whole lot.

The only thing he did do was fight on Sunday.
He fought Mathis Olimb twice. Beach didn't prove anything because he fought a guy half of his size.
During the 1st fight, as the refs were separating the two, Beach cheaply punched Olimb in the side. After they were separated, they were still yapping at each other.
The 2nd time they fought, Olimb fell awkwardly and hurt his shoulder [He now needs surgery on it and he will be out for four months.]

Beach was challenged by Scott Brannon, who was sticking up for Olimb.
Brannon landed some pretty good ones, but Beach held his own. Beach was then tossed with about 1:30 left in the scrimmage.

Monday he looked just a little bit better.
He was skating better and went to the front of the net.

But overall, he's not NHL ready. The kid might be physically mature, but mentally, he's got a lot of growing up to do.

 Shawn Lalonde

Lalonde looked really, really good. The 20 year old defenseman can skate like the wind and can move the puck out of the zone well. He was paired up with Nick Leddy and they played well together. He showed some real composure and the 68th overall pick of the 2008 draft could definitely have a legitimate shot at making the opening day roster.

Stephen Johns

Johns, the 60th overall pick in the 2nd round of this year's draft, looked great for an 18 year old. The young defenseman from Wampum, Pennsylvania showed a lot of great qualities. He had a good stick, made good outlet passes, had good positioning, and played very good defense. He wasn't as physical as he could be, but that will come with age and experience.

He reminded me of a young Brent Seabrook--except Johns is probably a better skater than Seabrook was at that age.

Unfortunately, I only got to see Johns on Sunday; he wasn't there on Monday.
He's going to attend Nortre Dame and will only turn into a better player. I personally can't wait to see him develop and one day be on the Hawks' blueline.
He has a very bright future.

Mitch Versteeg

Yes, this is the little brother of Kris Versteeg. Except, he's not so little.
Mitch is 6'2", 204 pounds compared to Kris, who is 5'10", 182 pounds. Also, Mitch is a defenseman, unlike his left winger brother.

Mitch looked pretty good. He had good positioning, really used his size to bang some bodies, and picked smart times to pinch and keep a play alive. His panic level is also very low.
The only possible knock on him could be that he is a tad slow. But he still got back to play defense in time.
On Monday, he broke up a 2 on 1 rush really nicely.
He was a free agent invitee, so we'll see what happens.

Jimmy Hayes

What is not to like about this kid? He's got speed, size, and skill. Jimmy was acquired from Toronto at this year's draft for a 2nd round pick. He's 6'5", 210 pounds and showed a lot of potential.
He found his way to open ice and normally found a way to score or get a very good chance to. Like Johns, he's not as physical as he could be for his size, but it surely will come eventually. But he's tough.
On Monday, he fought Rob Flick and he gave and took some pretty good blows, but got the best of the fight.

Kevin Hayes

Jimmy's little brother was the Hawks' first round, 24th overall pick in this year's entry draft. He had some really good hands and a pretty nice shot. He's also pretty big, not as big as Jimmy though [6'2", 201].
Him and Jimmy played on a line together for the most part, and worked well with each other.

Ludvig Rensfeldt

Rensfeldt was the Hawks' 35th overall pick in the 2nd round of this year's draft. He is very fast and has a great set of hands on him. He saw plays develop very well, also. The only thing he would need to do to get even better is add some muscle to his slender frame.

Brandon Pirri

The Hawks' 59th pick in the 2nd round of the 2009 draft wasn't very flashy, but looked very good at center. He has some wheels on him and can fight his way through checks pretty well. He can also see the play very well.

Jeremy Morin

The Hawks acquired Morin from Atlanta in the Dustin Byfuglien, Ben Eager, and Brent Sopel trade. Morin is a fast skater, he's good entering the offensive zone and has a nice set of hands. Watching him, he seemed to do almost everything. It's no wonder the Hawks were so happy about getting him.

Marcus Kruger

Kruger was like Pirri: pretty quiet. But when you watch him with and without the puck, he's amazing. He was very good defensively. He was always in good position and could pick off a pass or strip a guy of the puck.
Offensively, he was good as well. He found his way into soft, open areas of the ice and could put the puck into the back of the net when presented the opportunities.

Nick Leddy

The Hawks acquired Leddy when they dealt Cam Barker to Minnesota. The young defenseman played with Lalonde and that pair made up a fast backend. Leddy can skate very well and fast and he made good decisions with the puck. He's a puck mover and chose the right times to pinch in to keep a play alive. He's still a year or two away from NHL action, but will have time to develop at the University of Minnesota.

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