Today was the second day of on-ice activities at the Nashville Predators Rookie Development Camp. Where yesterday’s drills seemed to cover some of the warm-up style drills you can see when the Milwaukee Admirals practice at the MSOE Kern Center today’s work at Centennial Sportsplex was far more about stretching out the legs. If there is anything that can be said in a concise fashion about the future of the organization it is that it will be one that can move fast. These kids have some serious speed.
Anthony Richard was a very fun watch in practice today. He arrived late last season in Milwaukee and made his professional playing debut with the Admirals in the playoffs. He played in the entirety of that opening round playoff series against the Grand Rapids Griffins and was one of the few bright spots. He seemed to get better and better. If you might remember though – he wasn’t playing at 100%. He was nursing a lower body injury when he arrived. Didn’t get into the final regular season games. And just squeaked into that playoff series. In practices back then I was impressed. Today? Even more so. He looks to be fully fit and his skating ability is outstanding. The more comfortable he becomes finding that balance between speed and skill the more successful I think the 2016-17 Admirals are going to be.
I was slightly bummed out yesterday that I didn’t see Trevor Murphy on the ice. Seems like he took a knock early on and dialed back. He was on the ice today and you can see what a difference a year of pro experience does when compared to other defensemen in camp. His passing wasn’t just crisp but it was very accurate. If the goal of the Predators defense is to be mobile and play with speed you can look at a guy like Murphy as one of the first proper prospects in the pipeline that exemplifies the qualities the NHL team are looking for the finest. Defensively, he’ll need to clamp down harder -but- he was a first year pro last season. I feel the 2016-17 season in Milwaukee is going to really be a good gauge on how Murphy projects. Is he NHL caliber or not? His shot certainly is. But a shot alone isn’t enough.
After practice I was able to round up two players and a very familiar looking bloke. I chatted with Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason to get his thoughts on camp and a few players we’ll be seeing in Milwaukee later this year. I also spoke with Murphy about an embarrassing spill into the boards that he took during breakout drills. Murphy was then kind enough to help assist in doing a mock-interview with Vladislav Kamenev. I deleted the audio out of respect for Kamenev’s nervousness to test his English. He is progressing really well though I think. More than capable to have your standard locker room chatter. Analytical discussions though? Still tough and understandably so. I was happy to give him a go at it and even happier that he took a shot. For those wanting Kamenev audio? Fret yet not. He interview bombs Murphy. Lastly, Thomas Novak who is listed as being from River Falls, Wisconsin but has his heart firmly set in Minnesota. Listen in and you’ll know what I mean quickly.
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