Sunday, July 10, 2011

Prospect Development Camps, Pt. 2

Here's an update on the Sioux presence at the ongoing NHL prospect development camps:

Zane Gothberg is currently at the Boston Bruins development camp and it seems as though the B's like to mix things up and have some fun at camp, as cooking lessons and paint ball competition are a couple of the off-ice activities the players take part in. Here's a quote from the latter article concerning "The Great Zane's" paintball skills:

The first person of the day to be eliminated after being shot was goaltender Zane Gothberg. He walked off the course blinded by the splatter of paint that covered half of his protective mask.

This could be, ironically, a good sign. Being a goaltender, Gothberg is used to having small objects being projected at him at high speeds. It’s just his nature to get in the way of it.

This article features Gothberg's outlook on the camp, while this one profiles the three goaltenders at Bruins camp.

Here is a blog post containing a video interview with Gothberg.

From the reports I've read, Gothberg has been sharp at times and, even by his own admission, has struggled at times. This is to be expected from a young goaltender stepping in to face the kind of high-end talent he's facing. Bruins camp wraps up tomorrow with a scrimmage.

Phoenix Coyote camp ended today, and here's what one Phoenix fan blogger had to say about former Sioux Brett Hextall:

Yes, we all know his Dad. But Brett is a different beast. He’s tough and smart with the puck, but I’m pretty sure he’ll score more goals in his rookie year than his Dad’s entire career. Brett seems like he’ll be the one that takes big hits for plays and blocks shots. I don’t know how to explain it other than he seems like a worker (along the Fiddy/Korps/Winnik vein). Again, he’s not huge but it seems like he’s got a lot of heart and UND turns out a lot of smart players.

Fittingly enough, 2:00 into the video below is an interview with Hextall, who just wants to be a guy that opponents hate:

Michael Parks is at Philadelphia Flyers camp, which concludes tomorrow with a scrimmage. Not much has been said about Parks performance at camp, but this blogger thought "he brought a tremendous amount of speed to the drills," and we all know Speed Kills.

I caught some highlights of some of the Toronto Maple Leaf camp scrimmages, and I'm happy to report that Andrew MacWilliam is being his usual physical self.

Two camp time and roster updates from the previous development camp post:
Minnesota, July 12th-17th (Former Sioux Chay Genoway)
New Jersey, July 11th-July ? (Current Sioux Derek Rodwell, Former Sioux Darcy Zajac)

I haven't come across much else concerning the Sioux campers, but there are several camps on-going and several more yet to begin. I'll continue to post updates as more comprehensive evaluations and reports become available.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Several Signings, Etc. - UPDATED

There have been numerous signings of former Sioux players over the course of the last several days. Here's a rundown of the action:

Zach PariseNew JerseyRFA

Drew StaffordBuffaloRFABuffalo4 Years, $16 Million
David HaleOttawaUFA

Matt SmabyTampa BayRFA

Ryan JohnsonChicagoUFA

Chris PorterSt LouisUFASt Louis1 Year, 2 Way Contract
T.J. OshieSt LouisRFASt Louis1 Year, $2.35 Million
Taylor ChorneyEdmontonRFA

Mike CommodoreColumbusUFADetroit1 Year, $1 Million

Mike Commodore's signing with Detroit came after the final two years of his 5 year, $18.75 million contract with Columbus were bought out. It's an interesting signing considering the history between Commodore and Detroit head coach Mike Babcock. Commodore's a pretty classy guy though, and my guess is the past will not be an issue.

In a homecoming of sorts, former Sioux Jason Gregoire has signed with the Winnipeg Jets. Winnipeg's release is here.

Matt Watkins signed a one year, two-way deal with the Phoenix Coyotes after a strong season with San Antonio in the AHL. Phoenix has ended it's AHL affiliation with San Antonio, so Watkin's 2011-12 AHL action will take place with the Portland Pirates.

Former Sioux goaltender and career Goals Against Average co-record holder Jean-Philippe Lamoureux has signed a one year deal with Olimpija Ljubljana of the Austrian Elite League.

Joining Lamoureux in the Austrian League will be Curtis Murphy, a former Sioux standout on defense, who has signed with EHC Linz.

Former Sioux Rastislav Spirko has signed with Lev Poprad of Russia's KHL. This will be Lev Poprad's first year of competition in the KHL, where former Sioux Brandon Bochenski plays for Barys Astana.

2012 Sioux recruit and current Sioux City (USHL) defenseman Jordan Schmaltz is considered an A-Lister on the NHL's preliminary scouting list, also known as their player watch list. Schmaltz is one of 37 total players on the A-List, only five of which come from the USHL. Fellow Sioux 2012 recruit Miles Koules is considered a C-List prospect. His USHL rights are held by Des Moines.

North Dakota has landed another MJHL recruit in Portage Terrier forward Stephane Pattyn. His junior numbers can be found here. My guess is that he will be the last of any incoming recruits for this upcoming season.

Incoming recruit JT Miller and the New York Rangers will hopefully be a good fit.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Prospect Development Camps

Considering that the Entry Draft and the free agency frenzy dominate NHL headlines in late June and early July, prospect development camps can fly under the radar. Some camps have already come and gone, some are currently in session, and most have yet to begin. Below is some of the info I've been able to assemble on the North Dakota presence at various camps.

Montreal holds two camps, one each before and after the entry draft. North Dakota had a significant presence at the pre-draft camp held June 5th through the 9th. Among the attendees were current Sioux Danny Kristo and Aaron Dell, incoming freshman Mark MacMillan, and former Sioux Mike Cichy. Kristo, Dell, and MacMillan all impressed those at Montreal's Two Minutes For Boarding forum. Granted, those posting on message boards might not be professional talent evaluators, but oftentimes fans are their own players harshest critics. Here's what was said about the Sioux prospects:

MacMillan: My surprise of the day. He is a very skilled and creative forward, he pulled off some very pretty moves. Twice, he pulled off the ''deke the goalie out of his crease, take the puck behind the goal line and then bring it back quickly to put it in'' move. Also looked bulkier than the 150 pounds he was drafted as (and listed as on the Habs camp sheet.

Kristo: I love watching this guy play. First on the ice and still shooting pucks after the final whistle had blown. Super fast. Plays a 2-way game. At one point, in the 3-on-3 drills, he caught up to streaking on a breakaway Ian Schultz and totally stole the puck away from him. Reminds me a lot of Gionta. Very hard wrist shot, but if there is one thing he needs to work on, is getting it on net more often. Still, best player on the ice, IMO. He told MA Godin of La Presse that he wants to dominate the NCAA before turning pro.

Cichy: His offensive skills come out in a context like this one where there is a lot of open ice. His chemistry with Kristo was evident. Apparently he's transferring out of North Dakota, hopefully he gets more ice time wherever he goes because there is something here, IMO.

As for the goalies, I think the Aaron Dell guy from North Dakota looked the best. Wouldn't mind if we signed him.

Dell: We need to get this guy signed! He just knows how to play goal. I know he has said he wants to go back to North Dakota, so get him signed next spring if that is the case. He and another goalie on a tryout (Mosher) were subjected to about 45 minutes of receiving shots from 5 of the coaches and the difference between those 2 goalies was immense.

MacMillan: I continue to be impressed by him. He uses an extremely long stick and that seems to give him an edge. He has an excellent backhand, which makes me a fan (the backhand is a dying art). Just a smart, creative offensive player overall. He and Gallagher again were passing it around at the end of drills. Really hope he gets a chance to play quite a bit at North Dakota from the start.

Kristo: Dell seems to know him quite well and Danny rarely beat his Fighting Sioux teammate. He absolutely owned Mosher at one point with an unreal set of dekes though. It was an NHL star type set of dekes, something you'd see a Sedin do.

The entire thread can be found here.

New York Rangers camp ran last week, and incoming freshman forward and recent 15th Overall pick JT Miller took part. Below is an interview with Miller following the camp:

Ottawa's camp wrapped up today, and current Sioux defenseman Ben Blood was a member of the camp's 3-on-3 tourney championship team.

Edmonton's camp kicked off today, with recent 4th Round pick and Sioux defenseman Dillon Simpson taking part. This article features Dillon and below is a brief video interview after Day 1 of camp:

Toronto's prospect camp also fired up today, with current Sioux Andrew MacWilliam and Taylor Dicken among the invitees. Maple Leaf camp runs through July 7.

Here are the other confirmed camp dates I've run across and the potential Sioux representation:

Buffalo, July 5th-10th (Former Sioux defenseman Corey Fienhage)

Tampa Bay, July 6th-13th (Incoming recruit Brendan O'Donnell)

Philadelphia, July 6th-11th (Incoming recruit Michael Parks)

Boston, July 7th-11th (2012 recruit Zane Gothberg)

Phoenix, July 7th-10th (Former Sioux Brett Hextall)

Chicago, July 7th-11th (Current Sioux Joe Gleason, incoming recruit Nick Mattson)

Los Angeles, July 11th-12th (Current Sioux Derek Forbort)

Florida, July 12th-15th (Current Sioux Corban Knight, incoming recruit Rocco Grimaldi, and former Sioux Derrick LaPoint)

NY Islanders, mid-July (Current Sioux Brock Nelson, former Sioux David Toews) - No camp roster to date

I'll have updates and any other articles and video as they become available.