Sorry folks for neglecting the blog last week. It’s been a little bit crazy with some other assignments. I had to cover Tim Hudson rehab start for the Gwinnett Braves last Monday and spent three other days with the Falcons.
I did check in with the Thrashers today. There is not much going on. Some players might start trickling in to work out in advance of training camp so I’m hoping to start talking to them.
Before I leave for vacation next week (while the Thrasher prospects are in Traverse City, Michigan), I’ll give you the updates I have left on Daulton Leveille and Eric O’Dell from last month’s prospect camp.
The Thrashers other first-round pick (29th overall) last year played at Michigan State. The forward, listed at 6-feet, 165 pounds, had 14 points (8 goals, 6 assists) in 36 games and was the CCHA Rookie of the Month for October.
He will report back to Michigan State at the end of the month.
This is what he said about last season: “It was a really good year. The team didn’t finish the way we wanted to. Personally, I made a lot of strides. It was definitely a building year and learning the fundamentals.”
On his time at development camp: “It’s definitely good to get that experience playing against the older players that you are one day, hopefully, get to play against. You have to work that much harder playing against men. You get a real taste of what the pro game is going to be like.”
He said his strength is his skating ability and his weakness was a need to put on weight. I heard that from nearly everyone at camp.
Here’s Don Waddell’s take: It was a very, very weak year for Michigan State, which is unusual. He was one of their leading scorers there. Another guy that skill-wise is unbelievable. He’s a real small guy, but we knew that. That’s why you draft a guy. If he was going to play junior hockey and he could only be there two years, we probably wouldn’t have drafted him that high. Going to college, it’s like putting a player in the bank because we own his rights four years of playing college hockey and the summers in between it’s going to be a huge benefit for this player.”
The Thrashers obtained O’Dell from Anaheim last March in the Erik Christensen deal. The forward, listed at 6-feet, 175 pounds, was drafted in the second round (39th overall) last year by the Ducks.
He played junior hockey for Sudbury of the OHL last year. He had 63 points (33 goals, 30 assists) in 65 games. He will go back for another year of juniors at the end of the month. He played for Canada’s Under-18 World Championship team last year.
Here is what he said about being traded: “I didn’t really know what to expect. I heard that I’d been traded and I was talking to them on the phone right after. There were a lot of things that went through my mind when it happened but now I’m pretty happy about it. I want to do my best here.”
His strengths: “I read the ice pretty well. I’m a good scorer, pretty smooth with the puck.”
His weaknesses: “I think I need to get a bit stronger and faster.”
Here is Waddell’s take on him: “I’ve watched him play some games. We watched him play his draft year. Skilled player. Point-producing player. I’m anxious to get to know him.”