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Training Camp review

Here is my 2011 Training Camp Review

I'm just mentioning the players that made the "cut".

First things first, with not knowing all the players by name it was hard to really keep track of many of the kids out there. This was especially difficult when all of the Pats draft picks were all wearing Pats gear so it was almost impossible to pick any of the kids out of the rookie part of the camp. With that being said I finally got to find out whom all the draft picks are and who the standout players were. I’m going to go position by position and give some thoughts (some will be repeated from earlier posts, just because things haven’t changed or things are uncertain with returnees).

Goalies
The battle during training camp was really competitive with no one really standing out.... That’s not a slight to any of the goalies but I don’t think that anyone really stole the show. Each goalie (the kids included) had ups and downs but camp is scrimmages so you have to take into account who was playing in front each netminder.

I’m not going to make any bold predictions but I will make some predictions.

I don’t see Damien Ketlo starting for the Pats. Unfortunately for him he’s an overage netminder and not too many team start with an overage unless they are a standout. Damien’s camp wasn’t bad; he seems to have gotten a bit bigger and covers more of the net, but like I said before he never stood out (same with all of the goalies). I think it might a season too late.

I’m going to make the prediction that Matt Hewitt will be the starter for the 2011/12 Pats. He wasn’t stellar during camp but was very good, I don’t think that he did anything to hurt his standing as the new starter. I just hope he’s given the opportunity if he is indeed named the starter. I think the only knock I have for Hewitt from camp is his focus.... but that improved as the camp went on and by the Blue and White game he was totally on his game and rocking it.  Even though he didn’t really take the reigns and really step up he was the best goalie in camp.

Here’s where battle will be interesting. Although Adam Beukeboom has the advantage of being with the Pats for parts of last season, Teagan Sacher came in and quietly battled and made it to the “next step” of the Pats roster. I honestly think that either of these kids will be a viable backup for the Pats as they are very similar in style and ability.

Defence
This is where the big question marks come into play. Are Davidson and Bidlevskii going to be back? That seems to be the question everyone was asking around camp. Both were good in camp as expected so you get the point with them.

Ricard Blidstrand still seems prone to the odd giveaway but didn’t do too bad during camp with only a couple to be seen and they were early (perhaps nerves). I’m not sure if it’s just me but he seems to have come into camp lighter than he was last year. He also looks like he’s grown a bit as well. He still can skate which is his real asset.

With Tyler Borstmayer I honestly think he has improved a lot since last season. He looks bigger and has put on some beef. Unfortunately he’s not the fastest guy out there and that is a cause for concern. Even with him lacking foot speed it looked like he has learned to use his giant reach to impede players going to the net and was pretty good along his own wall.

One game WHL veteran Kyle Burroughs was unbelievable during camp. He totally stood out in the rookie part of the proceedings and didn’t look out of place in the mixed portion. This kid has the poise and presence of a three year veteran. He can shoot and can skate. I think he’s going to be a star in the not too near future.

People asked “who is the kid with the Hitmen helmet on?” for much of camp and when they were told they really didn’t expect much. In all honesty I didn’t know what to expect when I saw Brody Luhning either. He had a good camp, has decent speed and rushing ability and is an actual WHL veteran. He may have played his way onto the team. I honestly don’t see any problem if he makes the final squad.

The first player that I picked out (other than the regulars) was Landon Peel. I really don’t know how he didn’t make the team last year. Okay he was a 16 year old rookie but I think he was better than some of the other options the Pats had. I think he had a really good camp and maybe he will get his shot this year.

I’m going to like weathered veteran Brandon Underwood. The dude has got some game and even put up a few points during camp. I think he will have a chance to surpass his career goal total this season with increased responsibility. Two goals shouldn’t be hard for him to get. He will be counted on for his leadership with a potentially very young d corps.

Unfortunately not knowing some of the players I didn’t really get to focus on Colby Williams or Nathan Zimbaluk. So I’m not going to even give them a critique or any real thoughts as it wouldn’t be fair.

It’s getting late. I will have the forwards tomorrow.

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