Day three of development camp showed off some shooting skills as well as some competitive drills. It also offered me the chance to see goalies Jack Campbell, Christopher Nihlstorp and Tyler Beskowarany for the first time on ice - they are involved in a separate training geared towards honing their skills specifically, and are not on ice with the rest of the prospects usually.
As we have said before, not many conclusions can be drawn about a prospects' NHL readiness from watching drills like these. The best you can do is observe skill sets where someone excels and skill sets that may need additional development.
Trevor Daley was out today with the prospects, skating and participating in drills for the first half of Group A's on ice session. Daley was paired up with Brenden Dillon for some shooting drills, taking passes and one timing pucks into the net. He also participated in one of the competitive drills, where prospects were matched against one another to work on defense and puck possession, a drill that unfortunately saw Jace Coyle suffer a lower body injury [knee]. Some prospects were getting quite physical, with several body checks into the boards as well as some tripping/interference/holding that would have most definitely been penalties in a game setting.
Individual observations are after the jump.
*As Brandon said, Brenden Dillon is being excluded from observation reports, as he seems to be more polished and NHL ready than the rest of the group.
*Brett Ritchie may have been the best forward at puck possession and protecting the puck today. He was matched up with Jamie Oleksiak for several competitive drills, and he was able to keep the puck away from Oleksiak's tremendous reach. Oleksiak, coincidentally, had a big grin on his face while trying to separate Ritchie from the puck - the two played on the same team together in Niagra of the CHL last season.
*Austin Smith had a very impressive camp day today. During puck handling drills, he was pushing himself to take the puck under the obstacles on the ice instead of simply skating around the obstacles. He wasn't always on target doing it, but he also didn't take the easy way around the exercise either. In the competitive drills, he showed a mix of pure goal scoring (sniping one bar down) and playmaking ability (often paired with Reilly Smith who would then score by picking the corners.)
*Jamie Oleksiak showed during competitive drills why the "physicality" he's often said to not possess may not be such an issue - he doesn't necessarily have to be physical to separate someone from the puck. He uses his body to get good positioning on a forward and then his long reach to break up passes and strip pucks away. It will be interesting to see how he does playing in the AHL with guys that tend to be a bit larger and if that kind of play still works for him.
*Christopher Nihlstorp was positionally sound during his goalie drills, and his demeanor on the ice was similar to Jack Campbell's from what I could see. Both of those goaltenders push themselves and when they would let in a goal by one of the four shooters they had on the ice (Ritchie, Alex Chiasson, Oleksiak and Dillon) both were obviously mad at themselves for allowing a goal.
*Camp invitee TJ Foster has looked like he fits in quite well skill level wise with many of the forwards that are expected to be in Texas next season. His skating is on par with many of the other forwards, and his puck handling and stick handling are above average. I could see him maybe getting an AHL contract to help fill out the roster down in Austin this next season.
*Patrick Nemeth was paired with Oleksiak for the shooting drills again today. Nemeth has a very hard shot, ringing one off the glass in front of me so loudly my ears rang.
*The Dallas Stars' players weren't far from many fans' minds and conversations today. I ran into three young kids with Stars jerseys and asked who their favorites were, since their jerseys were signed by quite a few players. I received three different responses - Kari Lehtonen, Alex Goligoski, and Loui Eriksson. I asked about Jamie Benn, and all three said "WE LOVE HIM!" in unison, and they also talked about how they liked Jordie Benn as well. The atmosphere amongst the fans was definitely one of positivity and excitement for the future.