Notes from observing a few prospect conditioning camp ‘workouts’ at Southpointe Iceoplex. What some don’t realize is that the objective of these ‘workouts’ beside building some team bonding is to conduct physical tests, instructional sets, and layout a fitness and training program customized for each player in attendance. Some out there thought this was just about scrimages and practice.
There were 26 prospects but I think most there were interested in seeing two of them specifically: Eric Tangradi acquired in the Ryan Whitney trade along with Chris Kunitz… and this years first round pick (30th overall) Simon Despres.
I would say they didn’t let anyone down. Tangradi appeared to be the most mature physically and at IMO they have the highest potential of the 25 of the 26 who participated in the drills. Joey Haddad was recovering from a recent surgery to his knee. Tangradi is listed at 6’4 and looked to be all of 225 to 230 (rough guess)… than the 215. Despres also is a big boy listed at 6′-4, 215 skates well and while two scouts were quoted that they didn’t like his progress from previous season to this last season he played for a lousy St. John’s team in the QMJHL… at 30th he could be the steal of the 2009 draft. He skates well and plays a pretty robust game and he is one of those who stood out. Of course at one time I thought the best player in camp was from the 2004 draft was Johannes Salmonsson! Some of these kids have peeked at this stage while others are just getting started.
Two others from the 2009 draft class that stood out were Ben Hanowski (the highest scoring forward in Minnesota HS history) who moved the puck very well and appeared to have a shoot from anywhere skill. Another, Alex Velischek, a 6′ – 200 pound defenseman also appeared to have super skating ability but they’ll have to correct his jumping in too much and being out of position. High School isn’t the same experience track as with some of the others!
The last one I’ll make comment on is Keven Veilleux… 6–4, 200+, right handed shooter – winger/center -with speed – looked to be the most improved returnee. Ten of these will be entering their first pro career most likely at WB/S: Bortuzzo, Grant, Haddad, Petersen, Pierro-Zabotel, Strait, Tangradi, Thiessen, Veilleux, and Vitale.
Talent looked a tad sparse two years ago but now things are looking back up again… a lot more than many people think. The Pens have began to rebuild the youth and appear to be doing a very good job of it.
This is DR Hook… carry on