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

Tony C.

July 13th, 2010
11:28 am

Mr. T-That your boys could probably give a very interesting and informative lecture on our space explorers, I have no doubt.

I’m also wondering/hoping if this is the year we finally see the offer sheet come off the “no fair” list. Sure, it’s a an almost guaranteed way to make an enemy of a fellow GM, but hey, man isn’t it your job to ice the best squad you’re able to if you’re an NHL GM? If so, I wonder if Duds feels he’s got enough mojo to throw one down in front of Bobby Ryan? Because I think that’d be cool and that Ryan is the type of guy that Duds likes AND we need. I just don’t have as much faith in our O-ffence as it stands right now that Dudley apparently does.

Tony C.

July 13th, 2010
11:29 am

Ms. Trixie-Can you clean that up? 86 the italics I mean?

World Be Free

July 13th, 2010
11:34 am

Brendan on Campbell/Kovy contracts-

Soupie’s no movement clause tips the scales on his deal. I think Kovy’s contract will be an equally high cap hit, high enough that he will be impossible to move. Sports should eliminate all no-trade / no-movement clauses. Getting traded is part of any team sport and no player should be exempt from it.

Steinbrenner / “The Boss” is gone-talk about a guy that changed sports.

Spud Webb

July 13th, 2010
11:38 am

Koncack, If I rememember correctly, the pistons gave him the offer sheet, forcing the hawks to match or let him walk…thus making him a giant roll of charmin and a rich sob.
RedLight, lay off Vanek! Edmonton offered, we had to show the fans (agree or not) up in Buffalo that we’re a legit franchise (insert joke there) & we matched it. The Koncack affect. D&mmit.
RIP for the Boss, love or hate him the guy is a legend.

Spud Webb

July 13th, 2010
11:40 am

As far as other bad contracts, what about that David Beckham character, isn’t he ripping off that LA team? Torn achilles & drama with Donovan, for 10 million or so???????????

The Smooth Spark

July 13th, 2010
11:42 am

WBF – I agree with you on NTC. This AIN’T the real world. Athletes need to get over it and realize they are the privileged few. If they can’t deal with moving a few times throughout their careers as a twenty-something, then that’s their problem. I moved for jobs several times in my twenties on my own accord so what’s the big deal? You’re getting paid millions of dollars to play a game and you should be set for life if you manage your money wisely. Should not be hard to do.

Yes, the “Boss” changed sports quite a bit. Not sure if it was for the better or not. And that’s coming from someone that USED to be a die-hard Yankees fan growing up. RIP

kracker

July 13th, 2010
11:44 am

The guy that changed sports was Curt Flood (and Marvin Miller) by challenging baseball’s reserve clause. The ensuing legal battles and controversy ultimately resulted in the reserve clause going bye-bye and players were able to shop their skills to the higest bidder.

If you love the free agency system, buy some Curt Flood memorabilia.

Red Light

July 13th, 2010
11:51 am

Alright Spud Webb, I’m getting a little sick and tired of a hoops name on Rawhide’s blog, so I’m suggesting a new, more catchy one, and a more suitable hockey moniker like…former Sabres left wing, Morris Titanic.

As far as Vanek is concerned, he leads the league in feigned injuries. Must have played soccer as a child.

Hockey Steve

July 13th, 2010
11:53 am

“It will be interesting to see if his son ends up destroying the Yankees with his knuckle-headed decision-making.”

One can only hope… =)

Hockey Biltong

July 13th, 2010
11:56 am

Let’s watch Boston, to see what happens there…

World Be Free

July 13th, 2010
12:15 pm

Red Light-you must have borrowed Mr. Peabody’s Way-Back Machine on this one-Morris Titanic!? Talk about a total BUST! One of the few busts of the Punch Imlach era-the guy could not skate, which makes it tough to stay in the NHL.

Kracker-totally agree on Curt Flood and Marvin Miller, they both changed Baseball and were significant contributors in sports. Steinbrenner changed all of sports by being the first owner to really want to spend money to win. Many people dislike the Yankees for the free-senders they have become, but we would all love to have an owner in any sports that was so dedicated to winning. He made mistakes, threw money at bad players and gave up young talent that turned out to be stars. But he always wanted to win. I think he bought the Yankees for $14M; my guess is they are worth a little more today.

The Smooth Spark

July 13th, 2010
12:15 pm

Morris Titanic?? Wow, that’s some name! How did I miss that one being a Sabres’ fan. Must not have played very long?

R. Stroz

July 13th, 2010
12:21 pm

The Smooth Spark – Sorry, there are some things you can’t see through a blog post.

Trixie (Rawhide's Secretary)

July 13th, 2010
12:27 pm

Mr. Tony C. – Italic mess cleaned up for you sir. You will have to pay more attention in my next Text Enhancement class. Honestly, I thought you would have the last time… given the fact that Mr. Rawhide told me how interested you were in my enhancements.

Tony C.

July 13th, 2010
12:30 pm

Who would you send to Philly for Gagne? Right now they’re $1.4M over the cap with several players left to sign…

World Be Free

July 13th, 2010
12:30 pm

If my memory serves me right Titanc was the Sabres’ 1st pick in the ‘76 draft. I believe he played 19 games with no goals and no assists. and that my friends is a bust in any era.

Tony C.

July 13th, 2010
12:32 pm

…thanks…

World Be Free

July 13th, 2010
12:33 pm

I won’t go for Gagne. Injury prone, 1 year left on his contract at $5.25 mil. Philly needs to dump him to sign a goalie, maybe. So why help Philly or any Eastern Conference team who has cap issues? Just my thoughts.

Spud Webb

July 13th, 2010
12:35 pm

Steinbrenner bought the yanks with investors, 8.75 million. WOW
I’m also not familiar with Morris, but now I will look him up! Didn’t hurt too bad RLight!

World Be Free

July 13th, 2010
12:52 pm

We should ask Dudley and Ramsay about Titanic, since they played in Buffalo about the same time. Morris was they guy Sabres’ fans hoped would take them to the Cup; I was wrong about the year, 1973 not 1976.

http://www.bestofwny.com/sports/lukow/titanic.htm

What a name to go through life with. Fortunatly, his mother didn’t name him Adolf.

glovesave29

July 13th, 2010
12:57 pm

I would not sent anyone to Philly for a oft-injured player with just one year left on the contract.

That is a classic – Morris Titanic. I mean, how often is a word both a players name AND a description of his career. I can see it now…”with the first pick in the 1999 draft, the Atlanta Thrashers select Patrik Futurebust”

I don’t mind free agency – but then there should be no NTC’s. If the owners talk it is collusion…if the players talk it is a union (dont get me started there!). The playing field needs to be levelled. I also have no problem with non guaranteed contracts, or the ability to re-negotiate a contract mid-stream. Owners need to be able to reign in costs, and get out from under bad decisions. Bowman should be able to tell Campbell, “Well Brian, I’d love to keep ya, but we need to renegotiate this deal, or we are sending you to the Islanders.”

Tom Lysiak

July 13th, 2010
1:05 pm

Since the conversation of bad contracts is covering other sports too… you gotta mention JaMarcus Russell. $61 million contract, $32 million guaranteed. Three year record as a starter, 7-18. Currently out of football and actively acquiring the ingredients for “purple drank”….allegedly.

Wee Willie

July 13th, 2010
1:08 pm

Trixie, will you be offering Male Enhancement classes?

kracker

July 13th, 2010
1:12 pm

Wee Willie, check your junk email folder….

World Be Free

July 13th, 2010
1:12 pm

Tom-how could we forget JaMarcus and his alleged new drink of choice.

schroeder

July 13th, 2010
1:15 pm

The biggest thought on guaranteed contracts that comes to mind are Zhitnik and A CERTAIN #12 that I dare not speak his name. This is my prime arguements for NO GUARANTEED CONTRACTS!!! Lets see a show of hands,how many of you have one? Anyone? Anyone? ….. “Bueller, Bueller”

Wee Willie

July 13th, 2010
1:15 pm

Don’t need too, I see boarder line “junk” e-mails are only allowed for a selected few.

ChippersLoveChild

July 13th, 2010
1:28 pm

My observation was watching Eric Boulton sitting their watching the players on Sunday… must be scouting out who will be making him sit in the press box this year ;)

schroeder

July 13th, 2010
1:34 pm

NTC’s on the other hand,are a tough call.I think that each player should have the right of first refusal, or a list of teams that he would consider.Elimination of ntc would border on the changing the Curt Flood decision. The balance between the players holding owners hostage versus the owners viewing players as mere “owned property” is a delicate situation,but now it seems the balance of control has decidedly shifted from the owners of the ’60s to the players of today. The answer to this is way above my pay grade. I do not advocate players becoming endentured servants of the owners,by the same token the CBA has created this mess and I am thankful that it has not put us in the same mess that Chicago is now facing. But,guaranteed contracts IMO don’t work. Anybody need a soapbox,I’m done.

ChippersLoveChild

July 13th, 2010
1:40 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.”

This made me laugh, nice post, R. Stroz.

Red Light

July 13th, 2010
1:41 pm

Morris outscored Eric Vail when they played together for the Sudbury Wolves as a 19-year-old. He had 61 goals and 60 assists in his last year in junior, He was the 12th overall pick in the 1973 NHL draft, when the Sabres could have taken Rick Middleton, Darcy Rota, Ian Turnbull or Vail instead.

Can’t blame that one on Regier!!!

rob

July 13th, 2010
2:09 pm

Chipper,
If the guys are getting bigger and meaner, he may end up facing a few in camp so he needs to see what he can expect.
On another note Cormier’s case rest for Sept. Think it would be beneficial to him and the team to get it done now instead of dragging it into the start of camp as added distraction IMO. Unless he is hoping it is dropped??

Hockey Biltong

July 13th, 2010
2:35 pm

I believe Boston will unload, in a similar fashion to Chicago… maybe not as many players,but perhaps there is a quality pickup for Le Thrash.
I’m just sayin’

World Be Free

July 13th, 2010
2:35 pm

Red Light-nice numbers, yeah we knew Titanic was a fine junior player when drafted. His game didn’t translate to the NHL. Very happy that this was one of Punch Imlach’s few mistakes. I never mentioned Imlach and Regier’s names in the same sentence. They hold the same job, but that is where the similarities end believe me. Punch drafted Rammer and signed Dudley, he was a real hockey man.

I am old school when it comes to NTC. They shouldn’t exist; sign your contract and play to it or get cut/traded. Isn’t bad enough that the contracts are guaranteed? Team before the player not the player before the team. Curt Flood just wanted the reserve clause removed.

R. Stroz

July 13th, 2010
2:53 pm

Here’s a thought:

Did the Thrashers keep Bolts to teach Cormier the proper code for tough guy conduct?

glovesave29

July 13th, 2010
4:05 pm

Schroeder…removing NTC’s would not be same as going back to the days of the reserve clause. Players today, once they are through with contracts, and have met all of the stipulations, are free agents and are therefore free to sign wherever they please. Prior to the Curt Flood decision, players rights were owned in perpetuity by the club that initially signed them, or until such time as that player was traded to another team.

Flames

July 13th, 2010
7:14 pm

Chipperslovechild- That wasn’t the reason Boulton was at the Ice Forum. His two sons were having hockey practice on the other rink. I spoke to Boults and he really likes Cormier/Eager. He can’t wait for the season to start. Duds loves Boults toughness. Duds is putting together another version of the Broad Street Bullies.

Jack

July 13th, 2010
7:25 pm

Thanks Flames. Reading the chatter, serious of clubs are waiting for the kovalchuk signing process to end, before making there own signings. Are you hearing the same?

Pittsburgh Pirate Fan

July 13th, 2010
7:35 pm

Not much from Sage these days.
I miss his posts; I need something to laugh at.

Flames

July 13th, 2010
7:59 pm

Jack-That is what I’m hearing as well. I think everything is kind of on hold. Rumors are the Kovy will go to L.A.

Smoothie- I know that Sharpe’s name is being thrown around a lot lately. Torch is very very high on Sharpe. That would be real nice pick up for us.

Rawhide- is right that I don’t see Duds giving up Cormier for him, but there is other prospects and draft picks.

Alan R.

July 13th, 2010
8:39 pm

“not confirmed yet but hearing that Kovalchuk to Kings is dead, this time for good. the reason: Kovalchuk wouldn’t compromise on money.”

From Helene Elliot’s twitter.

Smitty

July 13th, 2010
8:41 pm

I remember Morris Titanic as a jr playing for the Niagara Falls Flyers in the OHA. Played with an edge as a junior and he had a pretty good offensive side. Pretty obvious he did not turn out to be worthy of a first round pick. As many have mentioned, it is a hit or miss on many of these kids. I wonder if any of our statistic gurus have the prcentages of first round picks that make it to the bigs.

World Be Free

July 13th, 2010
9:10 pm

Smitty-the big difference between today and the 70’s was that players were draft at 20 years old; that’s 2 more years to grow as a player, physically too. Even so, there were enough duds (not to be confused with Dudley) drafted back then that did not make The Hockey Show. I did not see Titanic in juniors but heard he was pretty good.

I just wonder how much Sharp is going to cost, if he is the guy traded? How about taking Campbell and his contract-for nothing? Or take Campbell and Chicago’s #1 next year for nothing? Giving up and number one pick to get rid of Campbell’s contract is better for the Black Hawks than losing another core player in exchange for a possible/future player.

Tom Lysiak

July 13th, 2010
9:17 pm

Flames, any idea what might be the price for Sharp? I’ll take the heat for this, but I would be very interested only for the right price. Sharp is a tremendous player and would add much needed talent, experience and legitimacy to the team. But, we have already parted with some highly regarded prospects and next year’s 2nd rounder. I also understand the edict is to win now. But, I want to keep some of the future too. I know you can’t have players of his caliber for nothing, but I want them to walk that tightrope carefully. Let the bashing begin…..

Tom Lysiak

July 13th, 2010
9:18 pm

WBF, sorry but I was eating and taking my time typing. Didn’t mean to pile on yours.

Flames

July 13th, 2010
10:33 pm

Tom-I think it will take to much to get him. Probable a 1st round draft pick and a prospect. This may be the difference between making the playoffs and going deep in the playoffs. There is some major decisions being made. They want him, but at what costs. It would be nice to get him. I haven’t heard that L. A. pulled out of negotiations with Kovy

Hockey Biltong

July 13th, 2010
10:42 pm

What about David Krejci[sp?] from Boston???

Tom Lysiak

July 13th, 2010
10:44 pm

Flames, thanks for the reply. I totally agree that it would be nice to get him. I just don’t want to overpay and completely mortgage the future. I would not be opposed to incremental improvements over what has been assembled thus far. Just my humble opinion….

Flames

July 13th, 2010
10:59 pm

TOM-ASG wants the team to win now. I’m really not sure if Duds is going to completely sell out to win this year. I just don’t see him doing that. He wants to be here awhile. Plus he has surrounded himself with his people. I think we will add one more piece to the team. I’m waiting to hear if Kovy agent contacts the team.

R. Stroz

July 13th, 2010
11:02 pm

I think Todd White would look really good in a Blackhawks uniform.