The Flames' 2014 Development Camp closed today with the final scrimmage. The players got a final chance to prove their worth to the coaches, and make the move on into the main camp.
I said I wouldn't be able to write on this today, but luckily enough my work got cancelled. I couldn't get to Winsport on time and opted to watch the stream, which is a much better experience with Pat Steinberg commenting.
Today's scrimmage was less conventional: a quick 30 minute "game" that featured random scenarios on ice. The emphasis was definitely on skill, rather than teamwork and gameflow, as the Flames brass opted to play the majority of the scrimmage at anything other than 5 on 5. Besides the opening minutes, the game was played with diminishing skaters. The scrimmage transitioned from 4 on 4, to 3 on 3, and then to 2 on 2 (while impossible to play in an actual hockey game, the idea was to test how players would react to a fast break).
The Flames did not tweet out the lines, but the framework of lines were there until the situations required less players. From what I could tell, most of the lines were the same from the previous scrimmage.
Pre game notes:
- I ranted about it yesterday, but my opinion still has not changed. Why did Winsport chose to put the seating at their arena at only one end? The stream was much better than my side window the other day, but it is still hard to see what is happening at the other end of the ice, especially with a less-than-high tech camera.
- Pat Steinberg can make development camp scrimmages more interesting and analytical. I probably have more notes today than yesterday because of his quality commentary.
- I managed to get a better look at invitees for those interested, thanks to Pat Steinberg.
- It's important to remember that people look much better with a lot of open ice. You will need some salt with this article.
- After disappearing from the previous scrimmage, Morgan Klimchuk showed up early, scoring two goals on normal NHL scenarios (5v5 and 4v4).
- John Gilmour also made a surprise appearance, shutting down Sam Bennett on one rush and assisting both of Klimchuk's markers.
- Bill Arnold showed that he could also be a good player without Johnny Gaudreau, assisting one of Klimchuk's tallies with a beautiful pass.
- David Wolf looks more and more impressive. He does have good speed, and was able to drive play in the 4v4 situations.
- Johnny Gaudreau can also play defence, and was effective at shutting down the other team on a 3v3 situation.
- Keegan Kanzig will soon find a way into the heart of the Flames coaches and front office for his intensity. On a play where Kenneth Agostino tripped up Adam Chapie, purely on accident, Kanzig went after the whistle to give him a little shove. That's the truculence this team wants. To add to the grit, he was whistled for the penalty on the next play.
- Invitee Adam Chapie, who has a very interesting past (born in Mississippi, played hockey in New Mexico), was a pretty decent player at the scrimmage, looking much better from the other seemingly lost invitees.
- Big forward Dawson Leedahl proved that he is more than just a truculent guy, undressing Van Brabant, passing around him, and setting up Brandon Denham for a nice goal.
- Import player Lukas Zejdl looks like he could perhaps sneak his way into the AHL. He had pretty good handles, and was driving play very well.
- Invitee Allan Caron tried to make an impression by laying out Johnny Hockey. Johnny Hockey had his revenge by then fighting off checks from Caron and another defender. Don't mess with Johnny Hockey.
- Mason McDonald was again impressive, showing calmness in the face of open-iced chaos. He has an effective poke check, probably due to his long arms.
- Agostino was paired with players like Collin Valcourt and Zach Tolkinen and still managed to drive play forward. He could see some extended time at the NHL level this year.
- Brent Kulak has a hell of a clapper.
- Johnny Gaudreau rubbed a bit of skill onto Bill Arnold, who at one point, ran straight down the ice and undressed Doug Carr for a goal on a 2v2 situation.
- The 2v2 play allowed everyone to show up, including Hunter Smith. Proving his more than just a 6'6" giant, Smith went straight around Klimchuk for a goal.
- David Wolf was perhaps the most impressive 2v2 defensive player, shutting players down in the open ice. He also has decent handles on the puck. The more you see him, the more hope you have.
- It does not need to be discussed what Johnny Gaudreau can do with a ton of open ice. The entire crowd was in awe. Of course he got a goal, what else would he do?
- Sam Bennett's skill is also very impressive. He held the puck for a solid 20 seconds while fighting off Van Brabant and another defender. Imagine when he does reach NHL level strength,
- The final goal was a buzzer beater with 2.1 seconds left. Down 5-4, team White pulled their goalie for a 3-2 situation. The truculent line, Wolf-Smith-Bailey, worked very well together, delivering a late goal due to some nice tic-tac-toe passing.
- After a good offensive showing today, Hunter Smith managed to lose the puck right before the faceoff hashmarks during the shootout. Probably needs some work.
This is the end of all Flames hockey related things until about September. It's a tough time, but I know we'll get through it together.