Monday, July 21, 2008
Developmental Camp or Where's So and So?
Goaltender (1): Jeff Frazee (Devils' 2nd choice, 38th overall in 2005).
Defensemen (9): Brandon Burlon (2nd choice, 52nd overall in 2008); Matthew Corrente (1st choice, 30th overall in 2006); Matt Delahey (5th choice, 112th overall in 2008); Mark Fayne (5th choice, 155th overall in 2005); Mark Fraser (3rd choice, 84th overall in 2005); Corbin McPherson (3rd choice, 87th overall in 2007); Tyler Miller (5th choice, 107th overall in 2006); Anssi Salmela (free agent signed by Devils); Harry Young (8th choice, 202nd overall in 2008).
Left wing (3): Jean-Sebastien Berube (9th choice, 208th overall in 2008); Brad Snetsinger (free agent signed by Devils); Vili Sopanen (5th choice, 177 overall in 2007).
Center (7): Tyler Burton (free agent signed by Lowell); Patrice Cormier (3rd choice, 54th overall in 2008); Fedor Fedorov (free agent signed by Devils); Adam Henrique (4th choice, 82nd overall in 2008); Cory Nagy (6th choice, 142nd overall in 2008); Michael Swift (free agent signed by Devils); David Wohlberg (7th choice, 172nd overall in 2008).
Right wing (3): Matt Halishcuk (4th choice, 117th overall in 2007); Nick Palmieri (2nd choice, 79th overall in 2007); Nathan Perkovich (6th choice, 250th overall in 2004).
Gulitti is already looking into why Tyler Eckford isn't here. That's a good question. Other good questions to ask would be where is Petr Vrana, Nicklas Bergfors, Vladamir Zharkov, and Mattias Tedenby? It's not as if the camp is draft-year-restricted, nor is it restricted to mostly fringe prospects/free agent prospects. Matthew Corrente and Anssi Salmela are here and they are being discussed as possible NHL players already. No, really, it's in Colin Stephenson's column about the development camp in today's Star Ledger. We've heard about Corrente possibly in the mix, but good on Stephenson to highlight why Salmela may have a better chance. Unlike Corrente, Eckford, and Mark Fraser, Salmela has professional experience in Finland and was even named to play for his country in the World Championships. At worst, he could be like Jari Viuhkola, who didn't make the team despite his past experience and went back to Finland instead of languishing in the minors. But given that Salmela is young and wants to fight to get onto the team, I expect him to stick around for a little longer.
Also, Stephenson answers the question as to why Eckford isn't there, he's actually in school this summer. In general, these camps aren't just a way make a statement to the team, but to show the team that you're committed to be there. However, I don't think it'll hurt Eckford as he's advancing his education - he's not holding out for a contract or doing whatever.
Stephenson's column also contains even further possible evidence that Lou is looking to upgrade the defense. I say possible because the quote is exactly:
"We've added two players, in Bobby Holik and Brian Rolston, and certainly we're looking for a defenseman or two to come in and play -- or push somebody -- and then we'll see what happens from there."
Well that could mean a number of things. Maybe one (or two!) of Corrente, Eckford, Fraser, or Salmela earns a spot in camp and that would be the "upgrade." Maybe they'll trade someone for a defenseman. Maybe they'll sign someone with the little cap space they have. He's being vague here as to not play his hand. The only clear statement defense-wise is that Lou's not done yet. Even though he does note the team was pretty good last season. Too bad the camp is closed to the public, but at the same time, I can't imagine there being enough interest to justify opening it up. It's not like, say, the Giants playing at Albany University which draws about a couple hundred watchers. Regardless, best of luck to all the prospects at the developmental camp.
By the way he is 6'4" 230 lbs.
Rupp / Holik / Federov
700 lbs of fury.
Fedor signed a contract in 2001, but played only 10 minor league games seasons ago with both the Manitoba Moose of the AHL and in Columbia Inferno of the East Coast Hockey League. In a game with Columbia he was forechecking when a defenseman in front of him whirled around and fired the puck. It hit his right eye. He had cuts and a concussion. The eye was torn from the skull in two places. "The worst injury you can probably get in hockey," Fedor said.
A doctor told him he never would play again. But a specialist in Detroit told him he had a 3 percent chance of playing. He had laser surgery to reattach the eye to the skull, then sat at home in the Detroit suburbs. He wasn't allowed to work out, so he watched television, played video games and went down to the Joe Louis Arena.
"I just sat on my duff for six to eight months," he said. "I was hoping for the best the whole time. But I'm thinking, 'If I don't play again, what am I going to do?' "
Three percent was enough. About a month before Canucks 2002 training camp, Fedor was cleared to play. He still has vision problems in the eye, but he saw well enough to score four goals in the exhibition season and follow linemate Trevor Linden's example, working hard, playing more of a complete game.
Arlo: I had no idea Fedor suffered such an injury. It's amazing he's playing hockey at all.
That said, he still hasn't broken into the league. I had to go to a Rangers blog (shut up), which had a quote from minorleaguehockey.com stating that Fedor is essentially an enigma back in 2005. Given that he has yet to stick with a team in the NHL at all, he's got a lot of work to disprove that thought.
Then again, the Devils successfully made something out of Mike Mottau, who at age 30 hasn't played anything close to a full season of hockey, this past season. So maybe Lou knows something we don't.
as well as:
Apparently Fedor is not being brought in for his fists. The big story on him is that, in his first go around in American hockey in 2005, he had a big ego and mouth. Started a fight at a disco and was punched out by kevin bieksa.
On the upside the Russian league has a great training program and will really push their players on fitness and skating. This should fit in well with Sutter.
Analysis: All the skills, size and potential. Has Lacked commitment. Perhaps bright enough to see another chance at the bigs and pick up the consistency. Holik could help him learn to play as a big, skilled player.