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This One Time, At Blues Camp: Part 3, Talented Invites

(Not all of the men who participated in the Blues’ Prospect Camp were draftees or signed talent. There were several local kids and special invites that thoroughly impressed me. Not only did these guys keep up with the prospects, but quite a few times, I could not tell the difference between a prospect and a talent. For their benefit and my own, I evaluated them in the same way as the prospects, and if the Blues do not sign any them, that would be a detriment to the organization. These kids have standout strengths too.

Please note: my observations may differ from others, based on what I saw. Feel free to disagree as you see fit!)

72 Amonte, Ty RW
Like his father before him, Amonte is a solid passer. He has very, very good hands, and dekes the puck very well. However, his edges need a little work, not much. I did not see as much as I wanted to from Amonte, and I hope I get the chance to have another look at him during the next camp, because he has the potential to be as good, but different, than his father, Tony Amonte.

74 Thomas, Jared LW
Thomas is a strong skater, and one of the best at the tag exercise on the last day. He came in second to Dominik Bokk with 9 skaters tagged. He is able to make chip shots into the net look easy. He has very soft hands, and he was a standout on the ice in leading attacks. However, his defensive work, including his backwards skating, needs practice. He is very raw around his edges, but once he cleans those up, he will be someone to watch out for.

81 Frederic, Grant D
Frederic likes to disrupt people’s plays; he is a pest of a defenseman that likes to get in the middle of every play. He is a stay-at-home defenseman, and has a very quick release. He uses the boards well when he moves the puck. If he works on his speed a bit more, he could join in the rush in the offensive zone, and he would become an even bigger problem for the opposing team.

82 Dunne, Josh F
Dunne has many strengths that stood out to me. One was his patience with the puck; he found time and space to pick his moment to either fire it, or pass it. His edges were really good. I have him labeled as a “poke check prodigy”. Even one-handed, Dunne has the ability to disrupt anyone’s control on the puck by using his long reach. He is a big guy, but very quick. Shooting accuracy is a must. Many times, his shots went wide of the net.

84 Rueschhoff, Austin C
If you want a big bodied, pest of a centermen, call Rueschhoff. He is a very, very good checker, and quite fearless as well. He made it extremely difficult for forwards like Kyrou and Stevens to make plays, especially around the boards. He uses his size to his advantage a lot, and for good reason. However, he needs to work on his edges. He is not as refined on his footwork. Also, he is not the fastest skater. If he was able to skate up a little faster to join the attack, get behind the defense a bit more, while still being able to drop back and play defensively when he needed to, that would be an added benefit to any club he’s on. Otherwise, he will need to develop a few additional intangibles, such as refined poke-checking and drawing penalties, to add to his game. If he presents himself as a threat, especially if he can force people off the puck and create a turnover, he can become a focal point for the opposing team, and take the attention off of his other, speedier linemates.

89 Davies, Michael D
I am very impressed with Davies, and would rate him the highest of all the non-drafted tryouts from what I saw. I noticed that Davies and Dunne had a lot of chemistry with each other; though they played different positions, they were able to dish the puck to each other very effectively. Davies, though he was smaller than the majority, was very quick and strong for his age. In fact, often times, he and prospect Hugh McGing were standouts with their speed and their agility against bigger players. Often times, they had great chemistry, and mirrored each other perfectly. Davies’s speed will allow him to rush in and become a “fourth forward” by joining the play, but he’s able to fall back when necessary to defend his zone. In fact, during one of the speed exercises on the third day, he was able to skate backwards with ease, and very rarely had to look backwards to see where he was going. This is a great indication of his spatial awareness and hockey sense. He’s already learned the crucial building blocks of guarding in his own zone effectively when the puck is on the move towards his goalie. Davies has very good foot-eye coordination; one of the drills of dribbling a puck between your feet was a standout strength for him. He always manages to be in the right place at the right time. He found a lot of dirty areas around the crease when he jumped up on the attack, and was good at shooting close range. His edges on his skates were very crisp and sharp. One of the drills, he was required to skate on one foot in figure eights, both backwards and forwards, with a puck and without, and his balance was incredible. Seldom did he venture outside the lines. His area of improvement would be the same as McGing’s: work on upper and lower body, especially lower body strength. Davies was not as gassed as McGing during his shifts, but he needs to build up his endurance level even more to keep up, and possibly outlast, bigger and stronger opponents, especially as a defensemen. Long shifts consisting of possibly 15 minutes or more per game will be his future, and he will need the ability to stay out for longer periods than a forward would. He will also be responsible for bumping people up against the glass, so upper body work needs to be more of a priority than it would be for someone like McGing.

94 Roeder, Adam D
Roeder is very sharp on his skates, and is very strong against opposing players. His shot was one of the hardest I saw. Unfortunately, I cannot give a better review on him, as he was one of the players that I did not have enough time to really look at.

95 Wilson, Jacob D
Wilson was one of my favorite defenders. He bumped people off of pucks effortlessly and used his big body to his advantage. I classified him as a “bull with finesse”, meaning he has good footwork, and checks well. His balance is impeccable, and he has incredibly soft hands for making plays. However, his footwork was not a standout strength, and could use more polish. Also, I noticed that when he did some of the turning drills, while he did complete the turns as precisely as he could, each time he turned, he lost his speed. While it is not necessary a bad thing, if by any chance he was chasing a more speedy and agile forward, such as Jordan Kyrou or Alexey Toropchenko, he would not be able to catch them very well when they would deke the puck around him. Each time, he would lose his speed, and they would have an easy time skating around or past him.

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2 thoughts on “This One Time, At Blues Camp: Part 3, Talented Invites

  1. Jared Thomas was signed to an AHL contract by San Antonio at the end of last season, and will be there this fall. If he does well, he could end up signing with the Blues as a free agent.

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