The 2015 public edition of the Anaheim Ducks Summer Development Camp, with scrimmages held on July 4th and 6th in front of appreciative crowds craving some summer hockey at The Rinks: Anaheim Ice. Check out the standouts and notables from each session through the eyes of the Anaheim Calling staff.
- 1st standout: Nick Ritchie - Holy mackerel this kid has some pretty sweet hands. Between some solid shot attempts and some beautiful passes I want to see what this kid can do next to players who already have NHL experience.
- 2nd standout: Stefan Noesen - Yes, Noesen has one NHL game under his belt, but I didn't expect him to standout as much as he did when surrounded by other young talent. Noesen was on a line with Ritchie and 2015 draftee Troy Terry, and that trio was lethal to say the least. They seemed to grasp and embody the system strategies so fully they had so many flawless passing plays that ended with pucks in the back of the net. It was incredible to watch.
- Shea Theodore - as expected, one of the most threatening players on the blue line was Theodore who was all over both ends of the ice throughout the scrimmage. From solid defensive play to some pretty stellar offensive drives, Theodore could seriously get a shot at the NHL level in my eyes.
- Brandon Montour - I wish I could more perfectly explain why I liked this kid so much but I'm somewhat at a loss as to specific details why. I feel like he was in the right place at the right time, and that smart positional play was something that put him a little above other prospects. Between his intelligent approach to plays and his skating abilities I'm curious where Montour measures up when compared to the likes of Lindholm, Vatanen and Fowler.
- Jaycob Megna - call me what you will but I have a soft spot for big-bodied defensively-minded blue liners (I admit I was a bigger fan of Chris Pronger 's play style than Scott Niedermayer 's but that's for another day). Megna is a big kid, with some discrepancy on his height and weight on various websites, but looked 6'4-6'5, 205-215lbs. Yet for a larger statured player he moved well and was consistently breaking up plays and getting the puck out of his defensive zone. I want to see what this kid can do when trying to defend against NHL players like Kesler or Perry.
- Piggybacking off Liz's point about Ritchie, he showed good vision in the offensive zone and had a hand in multiple first day goals. It can be a bit off-putting to see a player with his frame and body type not filling the traditional 'go to the front of the net' role, but he moves well considering his size and gets in to good spots to shoot. Come training camp it'll be intriguing to see whether he carries the puck into the zone as much and works the facilitator role that he seemed to play for much of the two sessions.
- Though still extremely raw, you can see the potential Anaheim saw in 2015 sixth round goalie selection Garrett Metcalf. He was the most efficient in his movement of the goalies for much of his two sessions, settling in much better in the second. The one goal allowed in the first session came as a result of having to battle traffic, which will become less of an issue as he adds additional muscle to his 6'3", 175 lbs frame. Keep an eye on how he's handled in his true freshman season at UMass-Lowell.
- After showing off the two-way sensibilities on the first day that give you an idea of why some scouts see him as an Anze Kopitar-lite kind of player, 2015 second round pick Julius Nattinen was more offensively involved today and picked a pretty wrister to open second half scoring. Not overly flashy, he was efficient in his play, winning face offs and showing good instincts in picking his spots on when to attack and when to drop back and cover defensively against transition.
- Even before his hat trick in the second game, UMass sophomore-to-be out of Laguna Niguel Dennis Kravchenko acquitted himself well and was the standout amongst the collegiate invites. Despite being the smallest player at the camp he had no problem getting to and staying at the front of the net, as well as being effective on the forecheck and generally causing the good kind of havoc in the offensive zone. His three goals in the second scrimmage came on a penalty shot (off a Megna boarding infraction), knocking home a rebound, and hitting the empty net.
- Expect Theodore and Montour to be feature defenders for the Gulls this season. Theodore showed a calmness that belies his age with the puck against his peers, while Montour's active stick and defense-first instincts lead to him being the first man back to often moot rushes in to his defensive zone. While one would expect Theodore to do well moving the puck from the blue line considering his pedigree, Montour also did quite well with puck retrieval of shots around the boards and keeping the offensive flow going in the zone from the point.
- Hero of the first scrimmage, Terry was less impactful without Ritchie on his wing in the second. The line of Terry centering Nicolas Kerdiles and Noesen was surprising in their inability to create many meaningful looks on the second day. Kerdiles toned down the physical play, and Noesen was mainly noticeable as a forechecker rather than an offensive presence.
- Guelph Storm junior invite C.J. Garcia displayed a nice release on his goal that was readily apparent in drills after the first scrimmage where he seemed to pick wherever he wanted while shooting flat footed from between the tops of the circles. His play started out a bit rocky in the defensive end, but as Garcia began getting more involved offensively his defensive play tightened as well. With scouting reports saying that he's looking to improve his two-way play, this camp seems like something he'll be able to positively build on as he heads back to the O.
- Defensemen Jacob Larsson, Matt Berkovitz, Brian Cooper, and Steven Ruggiero didn't dress for the second scrimmage, as well as center and highlight reel goal scorer Kevin Roy. Larsson was at the session and spoke with the media afterwards.