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Sabres Prospect Development Camp, Day 4

07/08/11

Today at Sabres prospect development camp, it was a quiet affair on both rinks. On the main rink, 4 groups of 7 skaters each participated in skating drills that focused on sprint speed and agility. On the auxiliary rink, the prospects took part in fairly casual shooting drills. I again spent the morning watching the drills being conducted on the main rink.

First and foremost, Riley Boychuk‘s smooth skating and maneuverability jumped out at me. He’s a big guy (6’5″, 220lbs), but he’s quick on his feet and has a great stride. Alex Lepkowski is another big man (6’3″, 205lbs) who has smooth moves. Luke Adam doesn’t have the speed that Boychuk and Lepkowski might, but his agility is much higher. The reigning AHL rookie of the year was able to zip through the cone clusters by tucking his muscular frame into a tight ball.

Zack Kassian wasn’t the best skater today, but he was far from worst. His agility isn’t there, but the power behind his stride is ridiculous. He’s not so much a bull in a china shop as he is a bull in an Antiques Roadshow filming. On the flipside, Kevin Sundher and Marcus Foligno don’t look like they’re skating very hard when in fact they’re flying up the ice with their effortless strides. As expected, Tyler Ennis handled the sprint and agility drills with the utmost ease. Toward the end of the drills, he spent time huddled with the coaches as they evaluated other groups.

A foursome of defensemen – both Drew MacKenzie and Matt MacKenzie, Alex Biega, and Corey Fienhage – all had shaky showings during the agility exercises. Biega’s stride is slow and hinky, both MacKenzies were unremarkable, and Fienhage was sluggish and a bit clumsy. Jerome Gauthier-Leduc did fairly well during his drills. Like the MacKenzies he was unremarkable, but he shuffled his feet through the cones adequately enough.

Mark Adams and Justin Jokinen probably each want to take mulligans after their performances. Adams had to use his free hand to stabilize his path every run through the pylons, while Jokinen was on the verge of taking an edge seemingly the entire drill. It wasn’t a good day for those gentlemen.

Thus concludes the on-ice drills portion of prospect development camp. Coming up tomorrow and Sunday, Team White and Team Blue will compete in full length scrimmages on the main rink. The scrimmages always draw a crowd and with this year’s pair of games falling on the weekend, it’d be prudent to arrive early to beat the crowd and find a seat.

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