The assessment of prospects at development camp is a hard task. On the one hand, there are guys that stand out. Sometimes they should, as prospects range across the spectrum of the development curve. At the same time, there are guys that look like they need work. That is also to be expected.
So when you toss them all together, it's hard to say where someone is in their own development and whether that's on track because what you're measuring against are guys in different parts of the development curve.
Yet, there were hundreds of Stars fans out at the development camp scrimmage today to evaluate the prospects in attendance this week. It was quite a change from just a few years ago, where the number in attendance would have been in the tens instead of hundreds.
The buzz about the Dallas Stars continues into the summer, with people genuinely excited to see not just the NHL team when they return to the ice at training camp, but also the youth movement that could be on the NHL ice a few years from now. It's just another small way the team's perception has changed in the last few years.
One thing that development camp strives to do is to instill the culture of the Dallas Stars into prospects. Nothing showed that better than the two teams lining up at center ice, giving five stick taps (one each for a fallen police officer), and a stick salute with a moment of silence in solemn observance of the tragic shootings Thursday night in downtown Dallas.
One thing Jim Nill has wanted to ensure since he took over in Dallas was a sense of being a first-class organization. That ethos shows through at all levels, and permeates through the organization from top to bottom. It showed through again today.
A few prospects did stand out based on their skill sets today. Defenseman John Nyberg had two goals in 3-on-3 play. First round picks Riley Tufte and Denis Gurianov showed off some slick stick-handling skills. Philippe Desrosiers stood out among the goaltenders, with solid positioning and coverage of the posts. AHL guys like Devin Shore and Gemel Smith looked really good after their injuries last season.
The main take away from the prospect camp scrimmage that I can find, though, wasn't on the ice. It was in the stands, as Stars fans continue to grow their enthusiasm for the team in the long, hot Texas summer. Now we enter the dog days of summer, as the NHL news grinds to a stop and teams take their last few free moments before gearing up for training camp and the World Cup.