The Off Wing

Opinion and Fact…From the Off Wing

Archive for the tag “Matt Grzelcyk”

Bruins Development Camp Day Three 2016 Edition

The 2016 edition of Boston Bruins Development Camp is cruising along and Day Three saw brought with it a plethora of skating drills. While this was certainly not the creation of a certain power skating coach from days of yore when none were able to master his drills, yesterday’s drills required some effort and concentration on the part of the boys. A couple of the participants were even seen coming off their skates during one drill in particular. It seemed that this drill was designed to humble even the best of the skaters and put them all on an even playing surface, but it was entertaining.  The crowd on hand has collectively been clamoring for a scrimmage, and while they might get a full one today (the last day), there have been mini scrimmages which have allowed this year’s attendees to show off their wares in a competitive light.

There have been a few of the campers that I haven’t said much about to this point, and with good reason.  There really hasn’t been much to say when it comes to most of them, and others I haven’t really seen them while trying to focus on one area of the ice while three separate drills are going on.  But in the interest of equal and fair play, here are a few of the campers that haven’t been mentioned yet…

Jack Becker has good size.  He has appeared to struggle with some of the skating drills, but has handled himself well.  He hasn’t done much to stand out but doesn’t appear to shy away from contact, just doesn’t appear to initiate it either.  Having spoken to others in the crowd I’ve heard everything from “he looks really good” to wow, he’s really struggling out there”.  I will reserve judgement until after today when he will hopefully get to show something before the end.

Cameron Hughes i owe an apology to for not mentioning him sooner but I haven’t seen that moment that makes one stand up and take notice.  On day three he fared very well in the skate drills and he showed up to play during the mini scrimmage.  Good speed, nice shot.  There’s something to like here and I will hopefully see more today.

Joona Koppanen was a late round draft pick and that may be appropriate.  He has struggled with skating and positioning but he does appear to have a nice shot with a not so quick release.  He seems to be a little more physical than your typical Fin but it serves him well considering his size.  At 6’5″ (listed), Joona tipped the scales at 194 pounds.  A little more weight and some skate work could turn him into a third line center and a nice defensive forward.

And now for a few (and I mean a few) quick notes regarding some previously mentioned campers…

This should be Matt Grzelcyk’s last camp.  He is really standing out as the best in camp, but this being his fourth one i guess that is to be expected.  He is smooth skating, properly positioned, and apparently becoming a sniper.  Three rush drills in a row he was able to pick the top corners on both Malcolm Subban and Stephen Dhillon.  I wouldn’t pencil him in for 50 goals, and the top notch goalies in the NHL will surely shut him down most nights, but it was a nice little added wrinkle to his game.  Time will tell if it’s just a camp thing or he can bring that to the next level.

Brandon Carlo appeared to be relying on his size and strength a little too much during one on one drills.  There were, by my count, four possible penalties that could have been called on two separate attempts.  I want to see him paste guys to the boards, but if he is going to follow the forwards behind the net, then he needs to come away with the puck or he will be beaten.

Wiley Sherman was the only defender during one on one drills that did not follow the forward against him behind the net.  Wiley let his man go and just met him out front.  Result…no goals or shot attempts from his foe.  Sherman may be onto something here.

I’m sure I’ve still not mentioned one or two of the boys, and I will rectify this oversight with my next edition, but for now, enjoy the hockey.

Development Camp…The Defense

Development camp this year had many good players.  Too many to mention in just one post.  So here they are, the guys manning the blue line and the blue area in front of the trapezoid…

Matt Benning – The young man just barely turned 18 before development camp.  Went down a couple times on the first day during practices.  Showed some skills during the second session and the second day.  Appeared to struggle with power skating during the first session on day three.  During the first session on day 4 Matt left the ice with an apparent leg injury.  We later learned that he had a groin issue.  Some seasoning is in order as he is quite young but could prove to be a talent down the road.

Chris Casto – A big boy to be sure, but appeared to need a little toughness.  He seems to be a stay at home defenseman.  Good shot from the point, but it looked like he was getting pushed around at times.  His size is something that can’t be learned, and he has that going for him, but with the size of the other invitees and draft picks at camp, he didn’t overly stand out.

Tommy Cross – The senior member of development camp.   He has attended every one for the last six years.  Tommy has developed into a strong defensive defenseman.  Good skills, positionally sound and knows when to pinch and when to remain at the blue line.  Also has the ability to get physical.  Tommy, in this writer’s opinion, is the most NHL ready of the campers this year.  Not the fastest skater on the ice but he counteracts that with his solid positional play.  Also not the hardest shot, but he keeps it low to the ice and accurate.  He finally scored at a development camp, a fact he pointed out to the press on hand.

Matt Grzelcyk – Boston University has a lot to look forward to with this young man.  Not the strongest shot, but knows when to stay at the blue line and when to pinch.  He was paired up with Dougie for most of the second scrimmage and it gave me cause for worry having two offensive defensemen on the blue line, but Matt covered well when Hammy pinched (which was often).  Good speed and footwork complete the package.  Some seasoning at B.U. will do him good and I am looking forward to seeing him again next year as well.

Dougie Hamilton – Fellow viewers and writers present at Development Camp have already heard my opinion on Dougie.  A very talented young man with size to spare.  Dougie had good offensive skills and is good on the back check.  He has a quick outlet pass to the neutral zone and can catch up to the play with his speed.  All this being said, Dougie is not ready for the NHL yet.  Peter Chiarelli states that Dougie has put on 11 pounds since last year.  He still hasn’t filled out his 6’5″ frame and was being pushed around on the ice.  Dougie also showed his propensity for hot-headedness when he opted to return the favor for a check he received from Daniel Carr.  The hit was perfectly legal, but you could see Dougie planning it in his head from the time he received the initial hit.  Dougie was also caught below the offensive goal line on more than one occasion. He will play for the big club, without a doubt, it just shouldn’t be this year.

Torey Krug – Torey has speed and good hands.   Good defensive skills which showed up when paired with Dougie.  As we all know, Dougie is an offensive defenseman, a good part of Torey’s game as well.  Torey showed the understanding to hang back and patrol the blue line, freeing up Dougie to pinch down low.  Torey’s size could be a hindrance to him as he is only 5’9″ or 10″ but he stayed on his skates for both scrimmages and performed very well in power skating.

Robbie O’Gara – Congratulations Yale…You’ve got a real good defenseman heading your way!  Size, strength, a little speed, likes the contact (or so it appeared), and good positional play.  Robbie was more than willing to clear out the slot area and neutral zones when opposing offensive players were passing through.  I’m sure lacrosse had something to do with that.  He was paired up with Tommy for a bit, and what a “D” pairing that would look like for the Black and Gold in a few years.  Also spent time with Trotman and Grzelcyk.  Take care of this one, Coach Allain, the Bruins are gonna want him back!

Zach Trotman – More size on the blue line.  Zach has a shot that gets through more often than not.  He was paired up with Tommy and Robbie.  With Tommy he manned the blue line more frequently but with Robbie he was more the offensive defenseman.  Zach can throw his weight around and does a decent job in the corners.   No struggles in the skate drills and represented himself well.  Zach will look good in Providence.

Well, the plan was to include the goaltenders in this post as well however in my efforts to be thorough, I have rambled on long enough, so the men between the pipes will get a post of their own this afternoon.

L.W.L.

 

 

 

 

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