Prospect camp observations and comments

First off…I hope everyone had a great weekend. I suppose a lot of you spent at least some of it at prospect camp in Duluth. If so, I look forward to reading your thoughts and observations. As for me…well, after spending Thursday and Friday out there I dealt with a few issues at home. Older son’s car had a water pump go out on it Friday night, and while that was being replaced we were out with the younger son looking for a car for him.

Ah…the joys of having teenage sons.

Anyway, here are a couple of quick remarks/comments about a few of the players that I was looking at during prospect camp.

I was impressed with the raw skills and talent possessed by Alexander Burmistrov. Very fast, smooth skater who seems to have good vision on the ice…head up and quick reactions.

However, I have to admit that I still feel the same way as I did before in regards to him playing in a Thrashers uniform this fall. Simply put, I don’t think he’s as far along as Evander Kane was this time last summer. When I first saw Kane at camp last year, there was this “something” about how he conducted himself on ice that just struck me…told me he had no business going back to Vancouver of the WHL. And since he could not go to Chicago because of that league’s age policy, it was all but certain he’d be in Atlanta.

I didn’t get that same vibe from Burmistrov.

JLH…a frequent contributor of this bog…pointed out to me that he though the number-eight overall draft pick appeared to be “trying too hard” out there. It was, he said, almost as if he were trying to work his way onto the team as opposed to just allowing his skills to do all the talking.

That may or not be so…but if the biggest knock against an 18-year old kid is that he’s trying too hard, that’s a forgivable sin in my book. Let’s see what he looks like with the bib boys at training camp.

Speaking of working and trying hard…that’s exactly how I would describe John Albert, the 5’-10”, 180-pound center who was the Thrashers 6th round pick in 2007, 175th overall. Albert was all hustle all the time out there and others had to work hard to keep up with him.

In the past three years at Ohio State he’s scored 21 goals and 69 assists in 122 total games. However, Hockey’s Future describes him as a “playmaking center with sufficient quickness. Has a better shot than his statistics show”. I have to say that I can see what they mean, so keep an eye on this kid.

In between the pipes…I went to camp looking at goalie Ed Pasquale, but I must admit that Chris Carrozzi caught my eye while there. This guy is a competitor who you could tell expects a lot from himself…very sharp and focused while on the ice.

Last season with the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors of the OHL, Carrozzi was 19-10-5 with a 2.36 GAA and .916 SV%.

Patrice Cormier really impressed me with his play. Depending on whatever moves Rick Dudley makes between now and September, there very well could be a spot on the roster for him. I still think we could see a 4th line made up of him, Eager and Boulton/Thorburn.

Not surprisingly, Carl Kingberg was very impressive as well…great skills. Another year and we should be talking about whether or not he could make serious bit to play in Atlanta. As C-Viv reports, he’s looking for more ice time…either in Sweden or over here at the AHL level.

On defense, the best player in my opinion was Paul Postma, the Thrashers 205th overall selection in ’07. His 6’-3” frame brings with it a big presence on the blueline. Last season he had 29 overall points, was a +5 with only 24 PIM in 63 regular season games with the Wolves.

While there’s no room for him at Thrasherville’s Blueline Inn this season, look for him in the next coming seasons to make a serious push for the NHL.

And finally…I saw Angelo Esposito workout between sessions Friday. He looked good on the ice, no favoring the knee that has suffered injuries over the past two seasons. But then, he’s not participating in prospect camp because it’s still not 100% yet, I’m told.

This will be a very big year for him in Chicago. Whether or not he can make it through the season injury-free could very well determine his future hopes at the NHL level.

193 comments Add your comment

Zoomo

July 12th, 2010
11:29 am

John Albert…impressed many folks. Many comments on him on other blogs. My thougths were that he was clearly the hardest worker on the ice and has a great pair of hands – he was great in drills at getting the puck on net from close in situations.

Spud Webb

July 12th, 2010
11:44 am

Went out for a bit yesterday. To be honest I couldn’t tell who was who, I noticed Cormier and Burmistrov. Burmistrov is very, very fast, we knew that though! One thing I did notice is the size we seem to have in these young kids. Some biggins out there who could move. I did get a chance to talk to redlight, who seems to think the Ohio State kid looked really good.

Spud Webb

July 12th, 2010
11:45 am

Also, my women said as we pulled up, “I thought this wasn’t a hockey town”? lol, place was pretty full! I love it, middle of summer, 4pm on a Sunday afternoon and a great crowd shows up for “prospects”! Nice

The Smooth Spark

July 12th, 2010
11:48 am

“Simply put, I don’t think he’s as far along as Evander Kane was this time last summer. When I first saw Kane at camp last year, there was this “something” about how he conducted himself on ice…”

Could not agree more Rawhide. I remember watching Kaner with you at Camp last year and telling you that he just seemed to have “it”, whatever “it” is that means the difference between just having potential and being ready to make the “show”. Burma isn’t there yet. Although I would have liked to have seen him play yesterday as he apparently was much more relaxed and comfortable out there. But alas, I think he will benefit from a year of getting stronger and more skilled in the OHL.

“On defense, the best player in my opinion was Paul Postma…While there’s no room for him at Thrasherville’s Blueline Inn this season, look for him in the next coming seasons to make a serious push for the NHL.”

Not sure if I agree whole-heartedly here. Unless we go out and purchase a $850 k UFA d-man to bolster our depth in the pressbox, I think Postma has a shot to make the team this fall out of camp. Especially with Valabik’s return a big question mark as to when he’ll be ready. Postma may get a month or so as our 7th d-man with several chances to prove himself early on in the season. Obviously, you want a player as skilled as him to play a lot to keep getting better so he may not stick in the NHL as a 7th man as it would be a bit of developmental waste. But I think he could start out in ATL before getting shipped off to CHI.

Rawhide

July 12th, 2010
11:49 am

I think Postma has a shot to make the team this fall out of camp. Especially with Valabik’s return a big question mark as to when he’ll be ready.

The Tall Smooth One – The way I have it, the seven I’d put on the bluline roster are…Enstrom, Hainsey, Oduya, Bogosian, Sopel, Kulda and Valabik. But as you said, if Boris isn’t ready or is used as trade bait, then yes…I would think Postma has an opening to prove himself worthy.

Also, my women said as we pulled up, “I thought this wasn’t a hockey town”? lol, place was pretty full!

Spud Webb – I see that you wrote “womEn”….plural. Nice.

Spud is the stud!!

Zoomo – Glad to see you’re back in town. I heard the RnR HOF was a cool place. Must get there sometime.

The Smooth Spark

July 12th, 2010
12:02 pm

Tall? Hardly! The Slightly Above Average Smooth Dude is more like it.

World Be Free

July 12th, 2010
12:23 pm

It is always a bonus when you can get an 18 year old rookie on your roster. Bogo and Kane were high picks and the general feeling about this draft was that there was a dropoff after the 4th player taken, especially in NHL readiness. So I can’t say I am disappointed that Alex is not ready to go yet. It’s tough to be both young and small when you are playing against men, no picnic going into corners with guys that are 40-50 lbs heavier than you are. Let Alex stay in juniors one more year and have a steady diet of milk shakes and Tim Horton Donuts.

Spud Webb

July 12th, 2010
12:26 pm

ahahahaha, oops, woman, sorry about that!! Far, far from a stud!!

Paminski

July 12th, 2010
12:30 pm

At Saturday’s 4-on-4, Postma was definitely a cut above the rest. Mr. Paminski noted his confidence and ease of movement and I agreed. The Mr. also took note of Samuels, but I thought he was a bit raw and lacked focus. Klingberg also seemed to have something more than other participants.

World Be Free

July 12th, 2010
12:44 pm

The organization should promise Klingberg 1st line participation in Chicago (if they can) to get him here. The sooner he comes to North America, the sooner he will be ready to play in Atlanta. There are times when I believe Dudley will add another veteran, then I change my thinking to giving guys like Postma and Cormier a chance. Cormier will be in Atlanta and he will be a force. Toughness makes up for alotta shortcomings. I’d like to see the kid here versus some veteran scrub.

glovesave29

July 12th, 2010
12:56 pm

It’s being reported on TSN (.com not .ca) that Mike Stothers has been named an assistant coach for the Thrash.

World Be Free

July 12th, 2010
1:07 pm

Looks like the Kovy offers from LA and NJ are alot less in years and dollars than what Atlanta offered. I guess I am not insulted.

Any way you cut it, Kovalchuk will be giving up a number of years and a slew of dollars to NOT be in Atlanta. Kinda like what Lebron did.

R. Stroz

July 12th, 2010
1:17 pm

WBF – Yeah, but Florida doesn’t have a state income tax and California is nearly bankrupt with a high property and state income tax burden.

Maybe LeBron is smarter than Kovy when it comes to business decisions.

Riceowls

July 12th, 2010
1:31 pm

Burmistrov looked good sunday, until he tried to go wide on Postma. Postma pushed him into the corner and ended the threat. So maybe Burmistrov isn’t quite big enough yet. I also thought Chiarot and Paquette looked much better than last year.

And man, do they all look big.

Old Time Hockey

July 12th, 2010
1:35 pm

World Be…unfortunately your quote on adding weight to these kids is more the norm than the exception. Nutrition and proper workouts are soooo important these days and just not focused on enough…yet. I know top end trainers who get guys ready for the combine. With proper plans, they add 20-30 lbs of muscle (totally clean) and get faster and stronger in 6 weeks. But for some reason the teams themselves tend to stick with what they have always done. Same for the performance mouthguards…they work (the Saints were all wearing them), but try to convince a team trainer. You would think with the money they spend on running teams the owners would want the best and latest.

Rawhide

July 12th, 2010
1:39 pm

glovesave29 – C-Viv confirms the Stothers hiring.

Also…Chris has a nice write up on prospect Akim Aliu’s attempt to put his reputation behind him.

Jack

July 12th, 2010
1:50 pm

any thoughts on Stothers hiring. Also they may not hire full time goalie coach. Any thoguhts on this, as I see this odd with Pav on the team.

Rawhide

July 12th, 2010
1:57 pm

Jack – Personally, I have very little knowledge regarding Stothers. I’ve started some on-line research and this is really all I’ve found so far. The one thing of note here is that he played defense with the Flyers and Maple Leafs prior to his coaching days.

As far as the goalie coach situation…yes, I have heard the same thing regarding the team hiring a part-time consultant instead of a full-time coach.

World Be Free

July 12th, 2010
2:10 pm

Old Time-problem with Alex is that he is so much smaller than the other players. It will take some time before he get the bulk/weight needed to by in the NHL. He reminds me alot of Petr Svaboda, drafted by the Habs in 1984. The kid had talent, but it took him some time to get the minimum size to compete without getting his head knocked off.

I remember Stothers when he played for Tronna. Hope he’s a better coach than he was a player, but the Leafs were pretty bad back then too.

Old Time Hockey

July 12th, 2010
2:22 pm

WBF-I’ve seen high school seniors go from 185lb to 225-235lb in 6 weeks and improve strength and lower their 40 times. And it’s not anything exotic, just scientific. Everyone needs their own plan, and they are all a little different. Going to the weight room 2-3 times a week and doing the same workouts that have been done since I was in high school just isn’t the best that they can do. How many times have you heard them say “He just needs to fill out a little bit” or “he’ll have a better chance when he adds 20 pounds”. Frustrating to hear because it should not be an issue these days.

Jameson

July 12th, 2010
2:28 pm

I’m planning on going tomorrow. About how long did the scrimmage last yesterday?

da' boomer

July 12th, 2010
2:33 pm

jameson – sunday afternoon they played (2) 15 minute periods of 4 of 4 with a short break in between periods

Nate

July 12th, 2010
2:52 pm

Great crowd yesterday! I thought hockey in Atlanta was supposed to collapse after Kovalchuk was traded…

World Be Free

July 12th, 2010
2:55 pm

Old Time-go from 185 to 225 for football or hockey?
I don’t mean to split hairs because they are both physical games. But I have seen some hockey players have issues with abdominal muscles when they bulk up too much for their frame too quickly. Alex will bulk up in his time; I am leery of having 18 year olds in the NHL because of the physical and metal demands. I think he needs to be a kid one more year.

Flames

July 12th, 2010
3:03 pm

I think Burmistrov is only a year away from the NHL. I was told that he weighted in at 167 lbs at the prospect camp. I think the kid could hold his own at 185 lbs. He looked really good Sunday at the Scrimmage. It was nice seeing a crowd Sunday. I’ve seen practices where C-Viv was the only person in the stands.

Smoothie-I would be real surprised if Max came back this year….I still have my fingers crossed.

glovesave29

July 12th, 2010
3:05 pm

Hearing the Hawks are going to match the Sharks offer and will keep Hjalmarsson. Supposedly Chicago is shopping Campbell (no, thanks) and Sharp (YES, YES – oh hale YES please).

I mean, why not…half the Hawks are here now, so what’s one more?

Make that signing and I am heading to the ticket office today for my season tickets!

JC

July 12th, 2010
3:19 pm

My thoughts exactly. If the ‘Hawks match, let’s get Sharp. What are you hearing Flames?

Red Light

July 12th, 2010
3:23 pm

So, you think the Hawks will match the sheet and unload Sharp? Puhleeze! They’ll send Huet to the minors instead and no worries.

The Smooth Spark

July 12th, 2010
3:24 pm

Flames – not getting my hopes up at this point, but I’d welcome Max’s return considering the rugged make-up of the rest of the squad. We have very few “floaters” on the roster if any. Standing pat thus far may really work to our advantage if indeed sharp is on the market too. Go get his a$$ if you can. Hell, I’d even be willing to give up Cormier along with C-Mac and a draft pick. Do not give up Postma or Kulda tho.

R. Stroz

July 12th, 2010
3:29 pm

I’m all for disposing of the digestive duo: Mac-Cheese & Charmin.

World Be Free

July 12th, 2010
3:31 pm

Smoothie-Floaters are an endangered species with Dudley in control.
I.D.W.T.

Rawhide

July 12th, 2010
3:33 pm

The Smooth Spark – Keep in mind that when Dudley and the Blackhawks were negotiating that deal that brought in Sopel, Byfuglien and Eager…Sharp was discussed as well. But they wanted Cormier in the deal in order for Sharp to be inculded on their end. If Duds wasn’t willing to part with him then, I don’t think he’d want to now.

R.Stroz – Let’s be careful using the term “Charmin” right after a comment containing the term “floaters”…Hmm-K?

Brendan

July 12th, 2010
3:50 pm

TSN.ca is reporting that the Blackhawks have matched San Jose’s RFA offersheet for Nic Hjalmarsson. http://tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=327374

glovesave29

July 12th, 2010
3:50 pm

If Eklund were the source…I’d dismiss it. This nugget came from LeBrun, who’s usually pretty well connected. Huet’s gonna be buried in the minors so the contract does not count against the cap, that is a long foregone conclusion. The Sharks threw a wrench in all this for Chicago, as I am sure the Hawks budget for this season was not being set expecting such a huge raise for Hjalmarsson. While their demands were once much higher for Sharp, the recent change in the team payroll status may require them to lower their expectations. They got a good haul in prospects and picks from their trades with Atlanta and Toronto, so they may be a bit less inclined to take another, and open to ideas such as taking a current NHLer.

Brendan

July 12th, 2010
3:55 pm

Guys, I doubt we can get Sharp. He’s a UFA in two years. http://www.nhlnumbers.com/overview.php?team=CHI&season=0910. Chicago would probably give us Campbell, however, but Campbell has that NTC. And that would be that, I suppose.

Eileen

July 12th, 2010
3:55 pm

Does anyone know what time prospect camp starts tomorrow? Thanks.

Brendan

July 12th, 2010
3:58 pm

Glovesave29, they’d do Huet for Pavelec, then, and jump up and down over the savings.

Rawhide

July 12th, 2010
4:06 pm

Eileen – The morning sessions will run between 9:00 and 11:00. The afternoon session will have both the blue and white squads on-ice together between 3 and 4. The 4 on 4 will start at 4:00.

Here’s a link to all the info you’ll need.

Brendan – regarding Campbell…on first thought I would venture to guess Campbell would not waive his NTC to come here. However, consider the fact that 4 of the players he skated The Cup with are already on this team. He would make 5…or 1/4 of the lineup. Is it that odd to think maybe he would consider wanting to re-join them?

Just food for thought….

glovesave29

July 12th, 2010
4:17 pm

Brendan…no way Dudley makes that move. No way ANY GM makes a similar move. No one is going to do the Hawks any favors on either Huet or Campbell. They are stuck with those two contracts. You take advantage of a team in a cap bind…don’t rescue them.

The amazing thing about all this is is that the Hawks were 13 seconds away from blowing it all against Nashville. Hossa scores in OT when he should have been tossed in regulation. It makes this partial dismantling easier having just won the Cup. Can you imagine if this were all happening after a 1st round defeat? Moot point I know…but still fun to speculate.

The Smooth Spark

July 12th, 2010
4:18 pm

Wow, guess the Hawks were really afraid of the potential fall-out from letting Hjalmarsson go. But they are in troubs-ville with their payroll for shizzle. Even if they demote Huet to the minors, they will still only have $5.7 M to sign Niemi, who is due a big raise, a back-up goalie (unless they promote Crawford at $800 k), 3 or 4 forwards and 2 d-men (that is unless they are willing to go with 6 only until they need a call-up). But I would think they would want at least 13 forwards for depth and flexibility then.

If you subtract out $2.75 M (at minimum for Niemi) and $800 k for Crawford, that leaves them $2.2 M for 5 other players. Problem is that’s not enough money as the league min salary is $500 k and they would need $2.5 M for 5 players. But top prospects Beach and Skille are more expensive as Beach makes $1.2 M with bonuses and Skille is due a 5% raise as an RFA. They will still have a hard time getting under the cap even with sending Huet down. And if they want any kind of veteran depth on the bottom 2 lines other than Reasoner and Kopecky, then they will still need to make a move or two.

Old Time Hockey

July 12th, 2010
4:31 pm

WBF—The ones I’ve seen were football, lacrosse players. My point is, if the kid needs 20lbs to have a shot at making the team, should not be an issue. If they don’t add it the right way, there can be issues, but from what I’ve seen, done the right way there are less muscle pull problems. It’s not something everyone can do. It’s HARD work and proper diet. Sounded like this kid is smart and ready to go. Some kids definitely need to mature (mentally) a bit, but it didn’t sound like that was a problem for him. Bottom line is if it’s a lack of strength, it is achievable…if it’s a maturity thing then wait a year.

As far as Campbell…he did not, in any way, prove that he is a 7.1 million dollar a year guy. 7 goals and 31 assists? Virtually identical stats to Kubina. Toby had 12 more points than Campbell. That is money better spent elsewhere. That would be asking for the same problems the Hawks are facing. Over-valued players you can’t move.

R. Stroz

July 12th, 2010
4:39 pm

Irony

Campbell used the Thrashers to get a huge contract from the Blackhawks. The Thrashers used Campbell’s contract to take a quarter of the Blackhawks team.

World Be Free

July 12th, 2010
4:44 pm

Old Time-understood and agreed.

Stroz-The Campbell and Huet contracts are the reasons why the Black Hawks did not trade with Tallon in Florida-Tallon and his stupid contracts are a part part of the reason that the Hawks have had to sell off so many assets.

Red Light

July 12th, 2010
4:49 pm

A former 9th round pick in the 1994 NHL draft has managed to play 846 games, tallying 660 points and played pre-lockout when clutching and grabbing were prevalent. At 5-9, 155 pounds, Steve Sullivan is now entering his 14th season and you guys are worried about a 6-2, 175 pound center not being big enough at 18 years old?

I’m more concerned about whether or not Burmistrov will compete, not his size. Actually, I’m not really concerned about that either. Give him two years. This kid can play. And while we’re at it, what’s the hurry?

The Smooth Spark

July 12th, 2010
4:53 pm

I say to heck with Cormier if we can get Patrick Sharp! What has he proven other than how reckless he can be? Everyone wants to bequeath the 3rd line C position to him, but Jimmy Slater’s improvement and efforts are completely forgotten? I’m perfectly comfortable with a 3rd line of Ladd-Slater-Little if our 2nd line is Pevs-Sharp-Kaner.

Are you kidding me? That is a line-up that can contend NOW! And that’s exactly what we need to do. I think Dudley was smart to posture earlier about Cormier. Wait till they’re nice and desperate again and then remind them how much they wanted Patrice. Then you need not part with any draft picks. Cormier and C-Mac for Sharp. Done deal. Saves the Hawks $1.5 M and allows them flexibility to sign Niemi and an inexpensive FA or two. That Campbell contract is going to look worse than even the DiPietro contract if they lose yet another key core piece.

Tom

July 12th, 2010
5:00 pm

According to NHLSourcesSays the Thrashers are showing interest in Pavol Demitra.

Pavol Demitra has 2 KHL offers aswell as considerable interest from 2 NHL teams, the Rangers and Thrashers.

R. Stroz

July 12th, 2010
5:01 pm

Since we’re discussing stupid contracts, can anyone think of one that was worse than Yashin’s contract?

Red Light

July 12th, 2010
5:03 pm

Cormier reminds me of a very young Ryan Walter, except bigger, who came into the league and was very combative and then settled down into a nice defensively responsible center who contributed nice offensive numbers too. He’s not flashy but is excellent positionally. Looked good in the face-off circle, actually dominant yesterday. You know I love Sharp, but the Hawks can’t weaken themselves anymore than they already have in the middle. Still think he’s a Blackhawk for awhile.

R. Stroz: Jon Koncak?

R. Stroz

July 12th, 2010
5:04 pm

If the Thrashers are looking at Demitra, Waddell is involved in player decisions.

R. Stroz

July 12th, 2010
5:05 pm

Red Light – I should have qualified my question to stupid hockey contracts.