Some brief observations on a select group of campers from today’s first session. Will try and get a note or two on each player throughout the week:
F Matt Marquardt: Shoot-first winger with a heavy, accurate shot… Wasn’t particularly strong on the puck… Will be asked to enter the danger areas in Providence.
F Joe Colborne: Rangy forward with soft hands and good hockey sense… Should be a physical force if he fills out his frame, as his upper body is rail-thin now… Needs more explosiveness in his stride.
F Brad Marchand: Nonstop motor helps undersized winger compete with big boys… Was one of the stronger players last summer and drew attention again today with his skating and willingness to compete… Will fight for a big-league job, but will most likely spend the year in Providence.
D Andrew Bodnarchuk: Most polished of the young defensemen… Showed good skating ability and strong lateral movement… Can turn to retrieve pucks and make crisp first pass out of the zone… Wasn’t afraid to lean on forwards.
F Maxime Sauve: One of the faster skaters in camp… Skinny and needs to get stronger to compete with bigger opponents… Raw player but attractive because of speed… Will most likely return to juniors for 2008-09.
F Blake Wheeler: Proved that “Wheels” is an appropriate nickname, skating well on the right wing… Soft hands for a big man… Has to get stronger if he wants to fill the role of power forward in Providence.
D Denis Reul: Big thumper along the boards and in front of the net… Limited skating ability in tight areas… Must become better positionally because of his mobility issues.
F Mikko Lehtonen: Strong on the puck and protects it well… Decent speed for big frame… Has to play tough and rough because of his size.
D Alain Goulet: Agile in tight quarters… Doesn’t have breakaway speed, but makes the turn well to retrieve the puck… Could use another two years at Nebraska-Omaha before he’s ready for the pros.
F Jamie Arniel: Did nothing flashy but competed hard in every drill… Looks to be a third-line grinder in the mold of a less physical Martins Karsums.