If you missed the explanation of mine and Jen's approach to looking at camp yesterday, go back to the front page and see what read it, and then reread her post by way of an apology. I'd like to say that it's nice to finally be excited about hockey. No matter what I think of the moves Murray made, I love hockey season and I want my team to do well. Having said that, the Ducks have a bevy of young talent and no space for all of it. It's going to be interesting to see how it all plays out. Analysis on individual players after the jumpNicolas Deschamps: I think Deschamps stood out the most to me among the new faces. He was fast. He was on the puck, and he was putting everything under the crossbar. I fell as though every time I checked on him, he was doing something right. Defensive play was decent. He stayed in passing lanes, but wasn't really pressuring the puck. He looked like a scoring winger. He doesn't have Blake's tenacity, but he seems to have more skill. Deschamps could make a great call up option for the second line if he can't crack the line up out of camp.
Mat Clark: Clark had a couple mistakes early in the day, including some lazy passes, which just can't happen. His shot has gotten better, and so has hit foot speed. He beat Cramarossa in the puck race. I was also pleased to see him lose the race to the puck later in that drill, but keep his feet moving and get in front of his check. His head is still on that swivel, but what he really needs is to work on moving the puck faster. I didn't get a chance to really see Clark in his element, the physical game. However, he's very strong along the boards and will make a great bottom pair guy in the 2012 season. Although, he might have to be a bottom pair guy if Foster's health doesn't improve, because...
Matt Smaby: He was a little unimpressive. He kind of reminded me of those other guys who go with the Spartans in the movie 300. He was all over the place, and didn't show a lot of finesse to his game. I'm not expecting him to be Visnovsky with the puck, but he needed to show me a little more in terms of moving the puck. Right now, nothing I've seen gives me hope for him on our blueline, but he still has something to offer Syracuse. I will also be 100% fair and say this was the second day of camp. It's totally possible he just had a bad day.
Emerson Etem: I was very impressed with Etem, not necessarily because of his play, which was very solid, but how well he adapted. I literally saw him make an error on a drill where players defend against zone entry, and then saw him do a complete turn around for the rest of the drill. But that wasn't the best part. He took Carlyle's advice and applied when he was playing defense during the 5-on-3 drill. He seems to be so coachable and so adaptable. I have high hopes for Etem. It's a shame he'll probably be back in Junior this year. There just doesn't seem to be space for him on the roster. The main thing I'd like to see him improve upon is using his shot as a pass. Every scorer needs to be able to get that shot on net for the rebound. At times, it seemed like Etem only wanted to shoot when he thought he had the perfect window
Devante Smith-Pelly: DSP owned rookie camp earlier this summer, but seemed to be uncharacteristically timid on Sunday. He had trouble burying the puck when he started to win the foot race at center ice and got the breakaway on the goalie. I think that hurt his confidence going forward. He wasn't his usual tenacious self along the boards. He still went to the front of the net, but didn't seem to be effective. He got his pocket picked trying to retreat the puck to the point. Overall, he just had an off day.
Jake Newton: His offensive game is so good, you sometimes forget about the defensive lapses. The shot is beautiful. His passes are crisp. He needs to better at dominating along the boards and staying on his check, and keeping the play in front of him. This will be a key developmental year for Newton in Syracuse. He has all the offensive tools; if his defensive game develops, he'll be a great asset.
Nick Bonino: I know we all think Bonino should be the fourth line center, but I'm not convinced. I wrote my forward preview (going up next week) before this camp writeup, and in it I observed that Bonino still has a lot of offensive potential. I think leaving him on the fourth line is a disservice to him and bad for the Ducks. On Sunday, he further entrenched me into that belief. He has great vision and phenomenal passing abilities. That's not to say that he doesn't have everything you need in a fourth line center. He's very responsible in his own zone. He was 47% on faceoffs in his 26 games in the NHL last year, and managed a respectable -3 considering he didn't score a single point. Can he be the fourth line center? Absolutely. Should he be? I'm just not sure. I think there's a lot more to his offensive game and he has third or even second line potential.
Peter Holland: Speaking of centers. Peter Holland showed up, and he beat Andrew Cogliano in a foot race to the puck. I don't know if that means Cogs is slower than we think or Peter is faster than we think. I suppose only time will tell. Holland falls into a strange category for me. I just don't know what to think of him. He played well, but didn't do anything that really stood out. I think the best thing I saw him do was beat Cogs to that puck. He had already beat Palmieri and I think this influx of speed is a good sign. I still didn't see the power forward moves I've wanted to see from him. He does make great passes, though. I just can't see him anywhere but Syracuse next season.
Kyle Palmieri: I feel the same way about Palmieri that I feel about Holland. He didn't do anything that jumped out at me. That can be a good and a bad thing. The kid is fast and he can shoot; that hasn't changed. But, I didn't see him do anything amazing. He was what I expected. I think I'll have a better sense on Thursday when I can see him in a scrimmage.
Pat Maroon: He was better than advertised. He has an NHL shot, can make good passes, but more importantly, he used his size effectively. He was great along the boards and used his body to create space for himself and his linemates. He looked more like what I was expecting from DSP. I think Pat has a very good chance to make the 23 man roster if he keeps playing like he did on Sunday.