Prospect Camp Thoughts
The Blues are currently holding a four-day camp for their prospects starting July 8th and ending July 11th with a scrimmage game. Though I am unable to make it to any of the camp, I am lucky enough to have a few sources who were in attendance yesterday for Day 1. This is our first look at some of the Blues’ draft picks and we can begin to piece together an idea of what we have in store, despite it being mostly drills oriented.
Below are some thoughts as reported back from friends/misc. other sources that were in attendance. Keep in mind for a few of these guys, this is only our first look at them and opinion should not be swayed to far in either direction just based off of performances at this camp.
Lars Eller – One of the most impressive guys on the ice, he has a lot of fans talking. He skates smoothly and demonstrated his accuracy with two sniper-like shots top shelf. His skill set stuck out amongst the others, and the idea he will challenge for a spot on the NHL roster is looking more and more likely.
Brett Ponich – I’ll admit, I was not too high on this guy when the Blues drafted him as reports made it sound like he was a big body, but not much else. Lets face it: He is not just big, he is enormous (as shown at right – thanks to Tim for the photo). That being said, the 18-year-old still might be growing, and still needs to add some muscle to his frame to be truly effective as right now he appears thin. However, he is extremely mobile for a guy his size which is a huge plus. Also, his long reach is impressive in person as is how he uses his large size which is a skill some guys never figure out. He is several years away, but imagining the types of hits and how he can clear things out at defense are mouth watering.
Alex Pietrangelo – Confident in drills, talented passer and has solid speed and vision. One negative I heard a lot was that he still is not finishing his plays nor is he being aggressive enough when he needs to be. One report said he needs to use his body more and be downright more physical. This is a complaint the originated last season and though this is just a prospects camp, it is an area he will need to work on if he plans to be in the NHL this season.
Erik Johnson – As everyone knows, he missed 2008-09 thanks to a golf-cart. He is set to return for 2009-10 and is making great progress as shown as the camp. His skating, reach and powerful shot were impressive. As he continues to work his way back and churn through the rust, EJ is looking more and more formidable.
T.J. Oshie – Helped in leading the camp, he was a man amongst boys on the ice. Oshie is a remarkable talent, and hopefully will continue to improve next season.
Video from Day 2 of the Prospect Camp
Thanks to schronote from hfboards we have obtained some footage for those interested in seeing what has been going on at the Prospect Camp. Below is Erik Johnson, K. Berglund and Cole running D-man drills. Other videos can be found by viewing his account’s other postings under (schro17).