Yesterday’s Future Stars Game at the Bridgestone Arena marked the end of Nashville Predators Development Camp. Team Gold would win 5-3 over Team Blue with invitee Zach Magwood stealing the show by recording a hat trick on the night.
This game’s first period opened up with Charlie Kelleher creating a turnover behind the net and right to the tape of Tanner Jeannot for a quick strike on Niclas Westerholm. The goal from Team Gold was swiftly followed by the Russian duo of Pavel Koltygin and Yakov Trenin bagging goals for Team Blue. Koltygin swooped down the right wing and whipped a low shot under the pads of Miroslav Svoboda. Trenin was on the end of some scrambly end-to-end play with breakaways going bust. He made his work and beat Svoboda stick-side.
The second period managed to calm down a bit and would start to cruise along with a more defensive feel to the play. That is until Barrie Colts forward -and Development Camp invitee- Zach Magwood went bardown on Milan Kloucek to make it 2-2. Magwood would follow up the second period in the shootout drill by being the lone man to score of the group sent out.
The Magwood Show would continue into the third period. He scored a further two goals in the final frame to secure a hat trick performance at the Bridgestone Arena. His second goal was a work of art. The 20-year old from Cambridge, Ontario flipped a puck upward, as he cut left to right across the mouth of goal, before swatting the puck from midair past Hayden Lavigne and into the net. Magwood, easily, stole the showcase that was the Future Stars Game. You simply have to love seeing an invitee making the absolute most of an opportunity such as Magwood did.
Eeli Tolvanen and Grant Mismash added goals back-to-back late in the third period. Tyler Moy was able to get a perfect pass on to the tape of Tovlanen for his tally while Mismash was on the receiving end of an incredible passing sequence that he managed to polish off. All of this made it 4-3 on the scoreboard and it setup the empty net opportunity for the Magwood hat trick and a 5-3 victory for Team Gold.
It was a scrimmage and one that had previous NHL All-Star Game feels to it with the reduced numbers, four-on-four and three-on-three, making for a more skilled game and minimal checking. There were amusingly some penalties on the night. But I did think all who were in attendance got to see a bit of everything from a lot of players who attended this camp. In a time where you could worry about the prospect depth being thinned to an extreme I thought this camp reminded me that there is still a lot to offer while also seeing the scouts have a few players on the radar as invitees that could be serviceable down the road.
There are a few who I felt really did a great job this week. I thought all members of the Milwaukee Admirals from this past season conducted themselves well. I particularly liked seeing Frédéric Allard and Joonas Lyytinen taking on real leadership roles this week. Both looked great and I am very hopeful both breakout in their sophomore seasons.
The top of the top this week is still a tight race. If I had to chose one? Tomáš Vomáčka. I think he has what it takes to be a superstar in the NHL. These next few seasons at UCONN and playing collegiately will really help push him long before turning pro. It’s in that time that I think we’ll all get a better idea as to whether or not the skills we can all really see from him in net can improve and his consistency of approach get into game action again and again.
Of course, your 1-B here this week is Moy. It really wasn’t until Justin Bradford of Penalty Box Radio made mention of it but it is amazing to see just how much Moy has bulked up since he first arrived to a Development Camp. You could insert a “well he did go to Harvard” joke here about him being a good student and listening to instruction but, on and off ice, this guy gets it. I feel last season was a lot to take in all at once but the right lessons were there to be learned from and the right veteran players were in the locker room to watch and ask questions with. I feel his work rate this entire week, sheer hustle and explosion in skating, was ahead of everyone. It was like he had a point to prove. And that is something you should want from a player in his position having been at Development Camp in the past, played professionally, and are back to lead by example. I was really impressed and, like Allard and Lyytinen, get the feeling those sophomores are in for a strong season if all stay healthy.
News yesterday was not limited to the Future Stars Game, either. The Milwaukee Admirals officially appointed their twenty-first head coach in team history, Karl Taylor. He was the assistant coach of the Texas Stars and someone who worked exclusively with the defense and penalty kill. Someone you might feel will be very good for an Admirals team that has such a young defense and can help groom an Alex Carrier, Jack Dougherty, and more for bigger and better things.
We were able to speak with the new Admirals coach at the Bridgestone Arena this evening and he also quickly made the news that Scott Ford will remain on staff as an assistant coach. After the Future Stars Game wrapped up I then had the opportunity to speak with Nashville Predators Director of Player Development Wade Redden as well as Jeannot, Allard, and Moy. These were all the interviews that yesterday had to offer.
This being the final post from Admirals Roundtable I have some quick things to say.
I couldn’t have even attempted to chase my dreams of working in this game if not for my family. My parents only ever wanted me to be happy and were always there to offer me the encouragement, advice, and place to call home while I pursued this long shot. My Dad. My Mum. My Sister. I love you all so much for always being there for me.
What will always make me smile when thinking of this time period of my life are the countless numbers of incredible people I have met on this journey: players, coaches, members of front office, broadcasters and media colleagues, and such kind hearted fans. What has always driven me throughout this experience has been that I get to meet and interact with so many of you wonderful people. As someone who has so often been “shy” or “in a shell” you allowed me to be me and break that shell. I consider you all friends. And that doesn’t change with Admirals Roundtable fading away.
I will always love this sport and the community that it has. I will continue following the Nashville Predators, Milwaukee Admirals, and our ol’ friends the Cincinnati Cyclones. I love these organizations and I always will. I’m grateful that for six-years I could say I helped contribute. I felt so connected from a personal level to the developmental process and seeing these people rise from early beginnings into their NHL dreams. But, as is the way of so many more AHL stories, players and coaches – affiliations and entire franchises – they move on.
I am now tasked with moving on like so many past Admirals. I will explore and decide what the next step is. It is both daunting and exciting but these last six-years around the Admirals molded me into the man that I aspired to be. I cannot thank you all enough for all that you have contributed to Admirals Roundtable and my life since first joining the Admirals back in 2012. Cheers and Godspeed.
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