Friday, July 15, 2011

Thoughts and Observations from Isles Mini-Camp

I had the privilege of watching today's practice and meeting Ryan Strome, Travis Hamonic, Matt Martin, Kevin Poulin and Scott Mayfield. I got a chance to see them, as well as the rest of the Isles' prospects, strut their stuff on the Coliseum ice.


This Mayfield kid is the real deal and he was, hands-down, the most impressive player in the rink. He's a fantastic skater with good mobility and lateral movement.

At 6"3, he has some size to him and uses it well. Not too many players were able to get past Mayfield during the one-on-one drills, he knows how to break up offensive chances. His awareness level also stood out. Mayfield always seemed to know where the puck was going, whether he was trying to make a defensive play or getting open for a pass.

Ryan Strome looked good. He needs to work on his skating, though he's better in that department than John Tavares was in his first season. Strome's playmaking ability was on full-display, he made a number of great passes during the scrimmage. I was also surprised with how well he plays in the corners, battling for loose pucks or maintaining possession.


Strome is one of two Isles' 5th overall picks in mini-camp. The other, Nino Niederreiter has definitely gotten stronger, and he's driving to the front of the net with more confidence, which is a good sign. I will say that accuracy isn't one of the hallmarks of his game. Most of Niederreiter's goals are scored from shorter-range, and that's a good thing, because he has a hard time hitting the post (forget the net) from further out.

Calvin de Haan and Mark Katic also seem to have made some strides, and though I didn't get to watch Miko Koskinen or Anders Nilsson, from what I've heard they've impressed.

"Particularly uninspiring" would be the best way to describe Kirill Kabanov's performance today. He's still very raw and didn't seem very motivated. Twice, Kabanov fell down during a skating drill, began to laugh hysterically and then simply took his time getting up and back on the line.

That's not what you want to hear about someone who supposedly grew up this season. If Kabanov's trying to get a one-way ticket to Bridgeport he's doing an excellent job.



Comments are welcome.

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