It’s June, but the Penguins are on the ice.
Well, kind of.
It doesn’t really count for a ton, it’s just a practice in the dead of summer, so no reason to get too high or too low on anything. However, this is the first impressions for the youngsters selected by Pittsburgh in the 2019 NHL Draft, and a chance for others like Filip Hallander, Calen Addison and Jordy Bellerive to show their stuff.
(Refresh this page as thoughts will be added as the afternoon goes along)
1:30 - Sam Poulin and Filip Hallander are among the players out with the first practice group of the day.
2019 first round pick Sam Poulin is on the ice with the first practice group today pic.twitter.com/8gW1UyU9EK— PensBurgh (@Pensburgh) June 26, 2019
Poulin and Undrafted Brady Trivigno played well in 3v3 half rink drills, can really notice Poulin’s vision and passing touch and Trivigno is a tiny, shifty player. Poulin also blatantly tripped Clayton Phillips after getting deked to wreck a drill. Whoops.
The puck comes off Poulin’s stick hard too, missing the net on a rush with a low, heavy thud against the wall on the second drill.
Newly signed goalie Emil Larmi is out here too. Definitely not very tall but his legs are pretty quick. Lost his depth in the net and got sniped over the shoulder a couple times.
Have noticed the undrafted invite Jared Spooner a few times too in a positive way. Moves well, good size and can shoot the puck.
Hallander is silky smooth, doesn’t hit the net a lot but he’s made a few nice passes.
Alex D’Orio is having a solid afternoon. Not much of anything getting by him.
On a 2-on-2 rush, Poulin dropped shoulder and bulled past defenseman invite Roni Allen while cutting to the net. Then while running out of room before the net Poulin lifted a little chip shot and the puck floated just under the crossbar and in the net. Consider the competition but...really nice move.
Allen rebounded a couple drills later, easily pushing Valtteri Puustinen to the side to end a rush and get a whistle
—And now the Zamboni is coming out to chase the players off the ice for the end of the first session.
Standouts to me were Poulin, and Trivigno. It’s one practice, in June, so it kinda is what it is, a bit sloppy and not a ton going on for the first day in terms of crispness.
3:15 - Jordy Bellerive, Calen Addison and the second practice group of the day are on the ice.
Defensemen Will Reilly and Santeri Airola stood out in the short half rink 3v3’s, as draft picks should. They connected for a nice pass and backhand deke goal in the last run.
Nathan Legare snapped a hard wrister far side just inside the bar on the first rush drills. That guy can definitely whip the puck.
Addison is moving very well. Not sure if I buy the officially listed 5’10 180 pound benchmarks though, looks smallish in a camp full of not much size.
Airola seemed a bit off the radar for a draft pick last week, but he’s flashing a bit. Easy to see how he got on the radar, not big (again 5’11 seems generous) but he moves very well and has good hands controlling and playing the puck.
Coaches yelling a lot more with this group, looks like they’re struggling to get the flow of the drills down more than the first bunch.
Boy, if you lose where Legare is as drills go on both end of the ice just follow the huge thud of his shot. Not exactly breaking news given he scored 45 last year but it’s unmistakable. Also wrecked a drill by failing to give and go in the NZ, so also true to reports he just wants to carry and launch.
A lot more instruction with this group to get the basics right. Makes you remember it’s June and these guys really aren’t familiar with one another.
The stat sheet says Jon Lizotte scored one goal in college last year (and one in three games with Wilkes). Would have guessed a lot more, he’s got a cannon.
Addison is great at looking for forward’s sticks and making shot-passes easy for them.
Legare looks like a pretty polished skater to me in a quick view. He can stop and turn effectively and his stride isn’t visibly choppy/wonky or poor. He’s just not a high gear player or has much acceleration, probably in part because he’s 210 pounds. Here’s to hoping development for him means either redistributing weight or strength gains.
2v2 rushes, Bellerive is excellent at pushing the pace and moving the puck. Legare dipped a shoulder past Airola (knocking his helmet off) but his backhand rising shot was stopped). Legare next time up drives to the net and is checked by Reilly in one of the bigger collisions of the day in two big bodies there.
3v2 rushes, Bellerive and Legare again standing out- all the other forwards, not so much.
Seventh round pick Santeri Airola had a solid showing in his first taste of development camp action. Skates well and can move the puck as a right shot defenseman pic.twitter.com/htetA6fkj7— PensBurgh (@Pensburgh) June 26, 2019
And that will do it for Day 1 of prospects camp on the ice.