The Prospects Are Coming...The Prospects Are Coming
NHL team's prospect camps is always an exciting team for fans of the team. It is no different for Blue Jacket fans as the prospect camp starts July 3rd and lasts through July 7th. There is a little different dynamic this year as not only will people get to see the future but also the now.
In a rare twist, the Blue Jackets will have a player that played 67 games for the big club last season in Ryan Johansen at the prospect camp. Johansen's role last year on the team was limited either by design or due to perceived effectiveness. The young forward from Vancouver will no doubt have to play a larger role in the upcoming season. Due to this, coaches want to have him part of the prospect camp to make sure he is on the right track to give him the best opportunity to get off to a fast start this coming season.
Has any player ever played his first 27 games of his career in Columbus that captured the imagination of fans as much as Cam Atkinson? The Boston College product took the CBJ fan base by storm with a hat trick in his first season and a style of play that included speed and a level of skill that turned fans into “Camsaniacs.” People might forget at the end of the season that his play pushed him to the top line and Rick Nash to the second line. That is why it is a mild surprise that “Camsanity” is coming to the prospect camp but fans won't complain.
One of the most anticipated players to be showing up will be this year's NHL draft second overall selection, Ryan Murray. Going into the draft, he was deemed to be the most NHL ready player in the draft. It will be interesting to see how he handles the speed and skill of players like Atkinson and the size, strength and skill of others like Johansen. I don't think it's an accident that the team wants to have NHL players in this prospect camp to measure up their new buck.
What may be the most watched position on the ice is not the players skating up and down the ice but the ones positioned in the blue ice and between the pipes. Oscar Dansk was their prized second round pick that some have thought was the best goalie in this year's draft. One of his best skills is the way he moves the puck. He should have his opportunities to display his skill but most will be happy if he stops the puck.
Joonas Korpisalo was a bit of a surprise pick in the third round due to the Jackets taking Dansk in the round before but if attitude means anything, Columbus has to love Korpisalo. He isn't ready to play second fiddle to Dansk and will be trying to prove that he's every bit the netminder.
Another goalie that Columbus fans will get their first look at is Anton Forsberg who is making the trip over from Sweden. Forsberg played 14 games for Modo of the Swedish Elite League and played two games in the World Junior Championship where he had a 0.99 goals against average and helped Sweden win the gold medal.
One of the favorite parts of prospect camp is to see what player steps up and shocks fans, players, coaches and management alike with their play. One of the players that did it in 2010 will be at the camp this year in Oliver Gabriel who came in as a camp invite and soon after was signing an entry level contract. Will there be another one this year is any ones guess but a player that could give it a run is Alex Aleardi who played with the Plymouth Whalers last season. In 68 games, he lit the lamp 36 times and had 65 points along with an eye popping plus 28 plus/minus rating. In an organization that is in desperate need of players that know how to score both in Columbus and Springfield, Aleardi will get a look and see if he still has the touch with better competition.
One I have personally have been waiting to watch play in this camp since last year is T.J. Tynan who was suppose to come to camp last year and ended up not making it. This 5'7” water bug was the talk of the NCAA last year when he put up 41 points in 39 games with Notre Dame. Comparisons to Atkinson are unavoidable but Tynan is more of a table setter where Atkinson is a sniper. Hopefully we might get a look at the two together and see how electric that may be.