Development Camp: Day 4

(Photo Credit: Daniel Lavender)

Nashville Predators Development Camp returned to the ice this afternoon after yesterday’s community activities around the city. The lengthy session was the final series of practices before tomorrow night’s Future Stars Game at the Bridgestone Arena.

Today saw a split squad setup for practice. I imagine what you would have seen at Centennial Park was Team Gold and Team Blue operating in full preparation for tomorrow’s Future Stars Game. Yes, they were mainly individual skating practices with Power Edge Pro Hockey running the ship -but- the squads on the ice are most likely the teams formed for that game.

This being the final practice session of the week I feel rather confident in saying who has and hasn’t impressed so far.

Tyler Moy has been shot out of a cannon at all of these practices this week. It’s that Frédérick Gaudreau attribute. He looks like he is competing for a job interview out there with every drill he gets tasked with. I have been hugely impressed by how he has pushed himself this week and he keeps showing flashes of real brilliance that makes me so excited for what could happen later on in 2018-19 with the Milwaukee Admirals. Much can be said of being overwhelmed by that first pro season experience. I often also hear, with the mystery of the player now answered, the sophomore season is the hardest. I have a gut feeling that Moy is going to have a great season in Milwaukee.

Tomáš Vomáčka is the 1-A, 1-B to this “Most Impressive” discussion. He is so incredibly agile in net and picks up shots, squares up well, and makes himself feel bigger in the net than he might actually be with that speed and read. I left today’s practice confident in saying that Vomáčka was the most impressive goaltender of the bunch here at Development Camp. What makes it even more intriguing is that he just turned 19-years old a month ago and is due to arrive at UCONN to play the collegiate route this Fall. He will have played in North America, as a native of the Czech Republic, since he was 17-years old. He is acclimatized to the smaller ice and is ratcheting up the level of play on that ice to better appreciate how to work his positioning and rebounds: NAHL, USHL, now NCAA. All of this before we even think AHL or NHL.

I never really enjoy the “Least Impressive” tag on anyone. The most I could say is that there were moments when looking at guys due to Milwaukee this coming season that made me feel a bit underwhelmed. Tanner Jeannot made today’s Power Edge Pro Hockey drills look like a car crash. I’ve never seen anyone, Milwaukee or otherwise, skate clean into so many of these skating tools/props. He looked like he was having an out of body experience. And, by contrast to Moy, you can’t help but look at Yakov Trenin this week and wonder how Jáchym Kondelík can look as good as him – now. It’s as if Trenin needs a gearbox change because he is stuck in first as others shift up a few.

(Photo Credit: Daniel Lavender)

Overall, I think all involved still showed really well. I am excited for what Mathieu Olivier could be to the Milwaukee Admirals in his first pro season. I liked a lot out of what I saw from him. I’m curious if Alex Overhardt has a future -potentially- on an AHL contract with Milwaukee. This was his second successive Development Camp in Nashville and he always appears to me to be someone that could fit into the Admirals mix, strong forward with a heavy shot. Filip Pyrochta I thought did well and plays a lot bigger of a game than I expected. Carl Persson looks very skilled and I’d love to see him link up with Emil Pettersson this season – that would be fun times. It was all good. There really wasn’t anyone who looked out of place here, good or bad. That goes for Eeli Tolvanen, as well. He might have been the feature name here this week but he still looked every bit the 19-year old kid that he is and that isn’t a bad thing. Though, must say, his shot is at least from a 29-year old seasoned veteran. There is a reason people are so excited about him. That scoring touch is it. I suspect this season, much like Filip Forsberg in 2013-14, Tolvanen will learn more about the complete game necessities beyond being a producer on offense. Allow that kid some freedom to grow, make mistakes and learn from them, and he’s got what it takes to really thrive in the NHL.

After practice came to a close I had the chance to speak with Scott Ford and hear his thoughts on the off-season so far and what his future might be in the organization. I then chatted with Miroslav Svoboda, dropped in on scrums with David Farrance and Patrick Harper, and once again caught up with Joonas Lyytinen. These were today’s interviews from Centennial Sportsplex.

Tomorrow is the Future Stars Game at the Bridgestone Arena. I am hesitant to do an actual Game Recap on it because it is less of an actual game and more of a showcase. Still, I’ll get something together following the contest and -hopefully- some post-game interviews. That’s the plan for now. If you are in attendance tomorrow? Give a wave! That game is going to mark the Admirals Roundtable Finale. So, always, be happy to meet any of you and talk.

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