Development Camp is done and dusted and there was a lot to learn from the week of drills and weekend of scrimmages. Here’s a quick observation on every prospect under VGK control.
Very steady in the defensive end and a physical nightmare to forecheck against. Scored a nice slap shot in a 4-on-3 situation too. Plus, his translating skills were terrific.
It’s clear he’s physically ready for the NHL level. There remains a fine line between being calm and under control in the defensive end as opposed to lacking urgency. In Camp, any pressure he invited was fended off easily, time will tell if that will continue against the best players in the world. Either way, there should be zero doubt that his future includes NHL experience.
It felt like most of the week he was trying to do too much. Whether it was trying to dangle guys in the D-zone, making moves at the blue lines, or attempting passes through closed lanes. His backchecking remains excellent though. I came into the week thinking he was going to push for a spot on the NHL roster at camp, I leave knowing he’s a longshot to start anywhere but the AHL.
The star of the weekend, Brabanec (pronounced Bra-ban-etz) was constantly near the goal creating or finishing chances. His forechecking was too much for many to handle and his hockey-IQ jumped off the page in all three zones. Reminds me a lot of Jonas Rondbjerg from 2018 Dev Camp.
Skated just one day before being held out for precautionary reasons.
The questions I entered camp with were not answered in any way. On the power play, he remains an absolute elite weapon, but everywhere else, he didn’t flash in a way you’d expect the only 1st round pick on the ice to. Let’s see how he looks in Rookie Camp, but as of right now, he still needs some cooking in the AHL.
The skating issues that plagued his scouting reports didn’t appear to be much of a problem in the scrimmages. He’s ferocious on the forecheck and responsible on the defensive end of the ice. There’s a lot to like already with plenty of time to grow.
The best save sequence of the weekend went to “The Mayor” as he stopped a shot through traffic and then flashed his pad out to stone a rebound. Overall, he, like all four goalies, looked comfortable in the net albeit against a fairly lukewarm attack being thrown at them.
He looks the part of an NHL goalie more than any other goalie prospect we’ve ever seen come through VGK Dev Camp. His large frame and smooth movement in the crease keeps pucks out with ease. When the next SinBin Prospect Rankings come out, he’ll be the #1 goalie.
Typically in their first Development Camp in Vegas, goalies struggle. That was not the case for Whitehead who didn’t allow a goal through the first two scrimmages and stopped 5 of 6 shootout attempts. And, his attitude is infectious.
Probably the least impressive of the four goalies, but still more impressive than most of the skaters.
The speed he’s known for popped in a few of the drills but he was unable to play in the scrimmages due to an undisclosed injury.
The question marks that have followed him defensively dissipated a bit, albeit against an unimpressive attacking setup. Offensively, there are no question marks. He’s incredibly calm and confident on the puck and his skating along the offensive blue line is excellent. He’s never seen a shot he won’t take though, which can be framed as a positive or a negative depending on who is standing behind the bench.
Looking much stronger physically than we’ve seen him in the past but was held out of the scrimmages.
You can clearly see why he was able to put up so many points in the QMJHL a year ago as his vision, feel for the game, and shot are all above average. What jumped out the most though was his motor. The moment he steps over the boards to the second he leaves the ice he’s going a million miles an hour.
Steady defensively but not much offense at all. To be fair, his D-partner for a majority of the weekend was active in the offensive zone, so maybe it was a conscious effort to be the responsible one.
Has an NHL frame and looks great coming through the neutral zone but it rarely materialized to much once the ice got more contested near the goal.
For a big defensive his hands are impressive. Multiple times he got out of tough spaces by keeping the puck on his stick rather than dumping it out of the zone.
If Brabanec is the week’s #1 star, Hallum was a clear #2. He was clearly faster than every other player on the ice and as the weekend wore on he was able to start finding teammates once he blew past the defense. Plus he was being hooked and slashed so often that he forced refs who were instructed to be lenient on the penalty calls to make a bunch of them.
One of the few who flashed more in the early week drills than he did in the scrimmages. He did poke a puck into the net though, which is more than can be said for most forwards in the three scrimmages.
Looked like a wily veteran out there. Where the game appeared to be move at lightspeed for many players, it didn’t for Donovan. Unfortunately it didn’t result in much on the scoreboard.
Impressed me more off the ice than on it. That’s not to say he was poor on the ice, he wasn’t, but there wasn’t a lot jumping off the page other than a shot from the high slot that was tipped in. Among a group of many who entered the press conference room nervous and shy, Wiebe was the opposite.
Must say I expected a bit more offensively from Corcoran in this camp. He was everything you could ask for in his own end and there were flashes of excitement as he led the rush through the neutral zone, but it didn’t amount to much.