The Off Wing

Opinion and Fact…From the Off Wing

Archive for the month “July, 2017”

Boston Bruins Development Camp 2017…James Corcoran Edition

Boston Bruins Development Camp hit its third day today and it started out with the campers looking like they all had been doing some kind of resistance training since 6:00am. The start time for camp was 10:30am and by 10:35 half of the young men had hands at their waist hunched over looking for that next breath.  The boys of winter were looking to impress the Bruins top brass, who all appeared to be in attendance at some point.  This year’s edition includes 29 campers, 17 forwards, 9 defensemen and 3 goaltenders.  There was also one surprise guest, and may I say he was a pleasant one…

The only invite with no name or number on his back came out with the second session, including all the goaltenders, as the first session appeared to be all about skating and windsprints.  Makes one wonder if there was some kind of punishment being handed out.  Most likely not, but by the behavior of a couple players someone might reach that conclusion.

Back to Mr. No Name.  Turns out that he is a Massachusetts high school goaltender who attended Walpole High School  His name is James Corcoran, and will be a senior at Winchendon in the fall.  Elite Prospects lists him as 6′ 4″ tall and 185 pounds.  Tough to tell but he didn’t look that tall on the ice.  Standing next to 2017 fourth round draft pick Jeremy Swayman, he appeared to be about the same height, and Jeremy is listed at 6’2″.  But just to whet your appetites, here are some numbers, keeping in mind that this is high school…

# NAME YR POS. GP GA GAA SH SV SV%
1 Jon Stasiukevicius SR Goalie 0.00 0 0.00 0 0 0.000
30 James Corcoran (C) SR Goalie 23.78 11 0.46 368 357 0.970
39 Micheal Panciocco JR Goalie 0.38 1 2.65 5 4 0.800

Now focus on the goalie in the middle and salivate…Yes you are seeing this correctly.  .46 goals against and a .970 save percentage.  Also, as I have had to reformat the box above to make it fit into the format of the blog, Mr. Corcoran had one assist, but the impressive number is 14.  This is the number of shutouts he threw against his opponents last season.  This talented young man should be getting some serious interest by scouts and schools, but research has not revealed any of that information as of yet.  As far as his on ice performance, James looked strong in net.  He wasn’t in any way fazed by the performers around him or the level of interest he may have gotten from the brass, or he just hid it very well.

Mr. Corcoran’s ability to move laterally post to post was good.  He held the post very well, and while leaning forward still had solid control of the goalie paddle.  His glove appeared to be strong, as it is with most American born goaltenders.  He does come well out of his crease to challenge shooters and backs in, keeping track of his crease in the process.   He did not disappoint nor did he appear out of place.  This young man is someone to keep tabs in for the future, and I will be doing just that.

Reflections on the NHL Draft…

It’s Saturday, June 24th around 7:00 o’clock at night. Today may be just another day on the calendar for the huddled masses either enjoying time with family or completing chores around the house, but for the avid hockey fan it is so much more. You see, today is the completion of yet another year that the now 31 NHL teams add to their crop of young talent. Today is the culmination of another season of NHL hockey. That’s right, the NHL Entry Draft is now complete, and 217 young men have been selected to continue their childhood dreams of following in the footsteps of Orr, Gretzky, Lemieux, Messier and the newer crop of superstars. Here are some reflections on the NHL draft…

Let’s first look at the newest NHL team, the Las Vegas Golden Knights. While they just completed the expansion draft, where they were allowed to select one player from each current NHL team, this was their chance to build on their future as well and add to what should be an interesting farm team.  After choosing what should be their cornerstone goaltender in Marc-Andre Fleury as well as 29 other players, they started this weekend with 12 picks in the 7 rounds that encompassed Friday night and Saturday.  The Knights started with a young center, Cody Glass, who in the next two years or so should be their top line center.  He has talent to spare, excellent hands, but more so a top notch hockey IQ.  He doesn’t make many mistakes and when he does, he learns from them in an attempt to not repeat them.  It is reported that he is dangerous on the attack and he should be an electric player that puts people in the seats.  Las Vegas had 3 picks in the first round alone, and all 3 are expected to be impact players at some point in the very near future.

Other teams that had an extensive amount of picks are the Detroit Red Wings and Los Angeles Kings.  The Red Wings had a total of 11 picks throughout the 7 rounds of excitement, stocking up on big, beefy defensemen such as Gustav Lindstrom, Kasper Kotkansalo and Malte Setkov.  In all they took five d-men, all are 6 feet 2 inches or taller.  They also took a projcect goaltender in Keith Petruzzelli, a 6’5″ body who could someday be a serviceable NHL goalie.  In all, only one of the 11 picks is listed under six feet tall, Brady Gilmour (I don’t believe his nickname is Happy).  He is 5’10” and 170 pounds. He is certainly a project, but if he can put on a little weight and work on his fundamentals there may just be something there.  He is considered a “high character” kid and he was one of the best players on a bad team.

There were 23 Finnish players taken in this year’s draft.  This has led some of the talking heads to question whether the country is just getting better or if the rest of the European countries are getting worse.  To me, this is all cyclical, just as it is here in North America.  I would love to make the blanket statement that American born players are better than Canadian born ones, but I would be ignorant of the fact that it took 20 plus years for an American to win the Conn Smythe trophy (as playoff MVP).  the Fins have been slowly improving their talent pool over the last many years, Players such as Patrik Laine and Sebastian Aho show us just how good they have become.  So it is no surprise that the Fins increased their number of draftees from 7.1% in 2016 to 10.6% in this past draft.  As a trend, I would say this will increase again next year as well.

One of those previously mentioned Finnish players was selected 18th overall by the Boston Bruins.  Urho Vaakanainen, a left shooting defenseman will be calling Boston his home in the NHL at some point in his future.  The biggest buzz however was over their second round pick, Jack Studnicka.  A six foot, 172 pound forward, Jack has played the last two seasons as a center with the Oshawa Generals.  His numbers are not good, not bad, just middle of the road is the best way to put it.  He did double his point production from years one to two, and he had 15 points in 11 playoff games this past season, which could be the start of the excitement.  Overall, it wasn’t a very enthralling draft from a fan’s perspective with three defensemen, two forwards and a goaltender, its almost as though they were following some formula for a team that needs a goal scorer but most likely won’t find one in free agency.  They drafted for the future, or depth, or both.  I’ll have a better feel for the youngsters drafted after this year’s development camp.

Until then, keep listening to the Two Man Forecheck…the sage and I wax poetic from week to week about everything hockey!

L.W.L.

 

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