Day 2 of Blue Jackets development camp featured a lot of what we saw on Monday: skating exercises, skills drills and yes, more skating.
It’s obviously a heavy emphasis for the week, with the team hiring a skating instructor work with the prospects and also the presence of new assistant coach Kenny McCudden, a highly-regarded skills and skating coach who spent 16 years working with the AHL’s Chicago Wolves.
The sessions each began with drills demanding the prospects to skate on one leg, maneuvering through two zones before getting to center ice and heading back. If it’s anywhere near as exhausting as it looked, I understand their pain.
The goaltenders got an early workout in with the assistance Blue Jackets goaltending coach Ian Clark, who’s back in the U.S. after spending time with Sergei Bobrovsky in his hometown of Novokuznetsk, Russia. A few of the Blue Jackets’ veterans who are in town for the summer were around the rink, as well.
Let’s get to today’s observations:
- I won’t bury the lede today, so I’ll give pro video scout Mike Battaglia credit for a sparkling glove save (yeah, it was that good) on Gabriel Carlsson during one of the early drills in the afternoon session. I will, however, point out that he held the pose for a few seconds to make sure everyone saw it.
- Ryan Collins is an intriguing prospect, and he was considered to have major upside when the Blue Jackets picked him in the second round a year ago. He skates well for a big guy (6-foot-5) and he has solid puck skills, giving him a foundation to work with as he further develops at the University of Minnesota.
- Oscar Dansk is headed to Rogle in the Swedish League this fall, but he’s here this week looking to build toward the new season. He’ll spend some time on the ice with his new team later in July, and then the new season begins in September. When I talked to him earlier this week, he said he was looking forward to the opportunity in Sweden and excited about getting back on track after a tough year.
- Joonas Korpisalo has had a good couple of days, but as we all know, this is hardly a good time to form a base of judgment on players. For many of them, it’s their first time on the ice since their seasons ended and conditioning isn’t quite where it was a few months ago, so it takes a day or two to get back to pace. Korpisalo, who’s entering his first full season of North American pro hockey, is expected to share the net with Anton Forsberg this fall.
- Speaking of Forsberg, he was outside the Blue Jackets locker room on crutches this afternoon. As was reported by Shawn Mitchell of The Dispatch, Forsberg said he had some “clean up” work done on his right knee and he should be ready to go for training camp in September.
- We spoke to recently-signed Swiss defenseman Dean Kukan today. I won’t drop any spoilers, so look for it on BlueJackets.com later today or, at latest, tomorrow morning.
- Cool experience for the prospects last night at the Ronald McDonald House of Central Ohio. They got a full-fledged tour of the facility (fun fact: it’s the largest RMH in the country), a crash course in cooking from the Blue Jackets’ culinary staff led by chef Joe Ditri, and then served the meals to families at the house. Many of them came away with new friends, both young and old, and we’ll have more on BlueJackets.com later this week.
- Blake Siebenaler is, in all likelihood, returning to junior this fall, but he’s bigger and stronger than he was a year ago. He had 12 goals and 37 points in 66 games with Niagara (OHL) last year, making him the team’s second-leading scorer on defense, and he’ll be looked on to take even more responsibility in 2015-16. A mobile, offensively-gifted defenseman with a right-handed shot is good thing to have in the system, and the Blue Jackets are keeping a close eye on Siebenaler, a third-round pick in 2014.