Twelve Huskies recruits/players and four Huskies alumni took to the ice this past week for NHL Development Camps with ten different NHL franchises. The total of sixteen players at camps was the third-highest total in Hockey East, behind Boston College and Boston University. Below we have some notes on who attended which camps, and if any buzz or reports have come out describing how camp went for the players.
Carolina– Matt Filipe was one of the elder statesmen for Hurricanes camp this year. Reading different reports, takes, and tweets from camp, people were impressed with Filipe’s growth from this point last year to now, and were impressed with both his skating ability and his shot. He was one of the two captains for the 3-on-3 scrimmage, helping divide up the rosters with Hockey East rival David Cotton. Filipe went on to score a goal in the scrimmage. Hopefully he can build off camp and use it as a springboard as he likely slots into the Huskies’ top six next season.
Chicago– Ryan Shea will be attending development camp, but other than that there has not been a lot of media coming out of Chicago regarding how camp has gone. We will retweet and post on Twitter as we see anything regarding Shea. However news did break that Chicago re-signed Dylan Sikura to a two year contract, which was awesome news to see. Hopefully Dylan gets a full-time chance with the big club this year after having a great season for AHL’s Rockford.
Edmonton– Michael Kesselring drew rave reviews from scouts and people in attendance at Oilers camp, with one writer calling him “a revelation thorughout camp….among [Team White’s] most dangerous players.” Impressed with his size (6-foot-6 and growing) as well as his skill, Kesselring was noted as having good skills on the rush as well as some finesse moves. He even got a chance to play among the forwards at one point in camp, a testament to his offensive abilities. Kesselring said he was able to speak with Oilers defenseman and former Husky Matt Benning about playing at Northeastern, and said in an interview they had a good conversation and he’s excited for the opportunity next year.
Perhaps the most lavish praise for Kesselring came from writer David Staples, which I will post and leave for readers to digest on their own:
Florida- Rising junior Zach Solow and former forward Liam Pecararo attended Florida Panthers camp, with Pecararo having signed a contract with their AHL affiliate, the Springfield Thunderbirds, and Solow being from the Florida area.
Montreal– Montreal saw the heaviest Huskies presence out of all the camps, with Jordan Harris, Jayden Struble, and Cayden Primeau all showing their skills to rave reviews from those in attendance.
Struble, the second round pick from this year’s draft, was already known as a physical specimen thanks to his performance in the NHL Draft Combine, but his size and skill was on display once again. Habs director of player development Rob Ramage said Struble ” is built like a linebacker, so the strength is there. We have time with him. He’s got a great attitude. He’s a workhorse.” Struble himself talked about going up against highly-skilled counterparts which helps develop his game, and using it as a measuring stick for his own abilities against top offensive threats. In clips posted by those in attendance, Struble looks calm and poised when having the puck on his stick, a good sign for a 17 year old defenseman getting his first taste of a professional environment. Unfortunately Struble suffered a lower body injury and missed the last day of camp, but he’s expected to be healthy by the start of the season, whether that season is with the Huskies or Victoria (BCHL).
Not to be outdone, Struble’s defensive pairing partner for camp was Harris, who was able to showcase his own abilities, including scoring one goal in the scrimmage portions of the camp. Ramage said of Harris that when he saw him two games in a row, he looked polished and “like a senior” on day two after a rocky day one, and he brought that senior-like mentality to camp. “He looks like a veteran out there,” said Ramage. By others, Harris was called a “fleet-footed d-man built for today’s NHL,” “smooth in possession, there is some deceptive elements to his game,” and NHL reporter Pierre McGuire said that Harris was a steal, and that he’d play in the NHL one day (as will Struble, per McGuire).
As for Primeau, very little can be said by us that has not already been said. Proving to be an absolute steal as a seventh round pick, the greatest goaltender in Northeastern history has looked every bit the part of the top Canadiens goalie prospect. Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin stated that he really wants to get Primeau some time in Laval (AHL) to get professional seasoning and experience, so we should expect Primeau to be a focal point for Laval the next few seasons, especially with Carey Price’s contract not up for approximately another 72 years.
Nashville– incoming freshman Jeremie Bucheler and recently-acquired alum Jeremy Davies were the Huskies’ representation in Smashville for camp. A new name to follow for Predators faithful, Davies opened a number of eyes, with multiple people calling him “underrated,” a “fluid skater…a possession darling,” and even earned an NHL comparison to Bruins’ defenseman (an former Huskies nightmare) Matt Grzyleck.
Jeremie Bucheler impressed members of the media with his size and skill in camp, with one writer saying how he was “quick to act on his defensive side…he’s aggressive and doesn’t hesitate with his actions to battle for the puck,” a description that will be music to his Northeastern coaches’ ears as they love to emphasize the importance of puck battles and winning 50-50 battles along the boards.
New York Rangers– Riley Hughes attended Rangers development camp, but was rehabbing from an injury and did not participate in the skating portions of the camp.
Pittsburgh– incoming defenseman Tyler Spott and 2019 Huskies alum Brandon Hawkins were participants in Penguins development camp, and Hawkins was named one of the three stars of the camp’s 3-on-3 tournament.
Toronto– Gunnarwolfe Fontaine, a 2020 Northeastern recruit, was the talk of the town during camp due to his unique, awe-inspiring name. Not to be outdone by his parents’ naming talents, Fontaine showed his own hockey talent over the weekend including scoring two goals in the final scrimmage at Leafs camp. Both goals were around the goal-mouth, with one coming off a breakaway where he chased down a puck sliding towards the corner, and the second was a bang-bang player off a pass from a teammate. Fonatine looked like he belonged as an undrafted invite, and will play next season in the USHL where he looks to build off his 20 goal, 43 point first year in the league with Chicago.
Vancouver– As one would expect, Mr. Bight Lights was given a lot of attention for his second camp in Vancouver. Tyler Madden returned to camp experienced from both his camp last year after being drafted and his successful freshman season at Northeastern. Multiple reports detailed Madden as one of the true steals from the 2018 draft, and Canucks fans and media alike were figuratively drooling over Madden’s offensive skills on display during camp.
Madden’s new teammate this year, Aidan McDonough, attended his second NHL development camp and first with Vancouver (attended PIT in 2018), after being selected in the 7th round of the 2019 Draft. Called “A late-bloomer with a great shot,” McDonough will be looked at to slide into the Huskies’ top six almost immediately, and contribute some scoring punch this season.
Congratulations to the sixteen Huskies who attended development camp. We look forward to seeing many of them at Matthews Arena this season, and following the seasons of the recruits working towards Matthews as well as the alumni working towards their goal of playing in the NHL.
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