The Arizona Coyotes rookie camp showcased some good looking prospects
After attending a disappointingly short 35 minute session on Saturday, AHL Springfield Falcons head coach John Ralston worked the boys pretty well on Sunday. The session went from 11:00 am to 12:50 pm, as advertised. Not sure if Ralston was being easy on the rookies on Saturday, or what, but Sunday’s session was much more entertaining. It gave me a chance to see the rookies again after the rookie development camp in July.
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There were some intriguing line combinations, like Christian Dvorak on a line with Max Domi and Anthony Duclair. The thing I noticed most about the power play drill they were performing, was the chemistry between Max Domi and Anthony Duclair. They really have a feel for where the other will be, and that’s a main characteristic for good line-mates. Christain Dvorak looked good, but there were others also who showed up to display their skills to Coyotes management.
Both Arizona Coyotes’ Head Coach Dave Tippett and GM Don Maloney were in attendance for both sessions over the weekend. I’m sure they noticed, as I did that the following players besides Domi, Duclair and Dvorak performed well: goalie Niklas Treutle. The German was a standout in net, robbing shooters regularly, and played with a cool, confident demeanor.
Then, there was Nick Merkley who showed off his speed, and puck handling abilities, as well as his excellent playmaking skills. I’d say in one to two years he may be ready to jump to the NHL. Watch for him later in the camp.
One fan favorite was small right wing (5’ 8”, 160 pounds dripping wet) Conor Garland. He’s a spark plug type of player, who gets involved, skates exceptionally well, and because of his size has great speed, and can worm his way between the huge players very adeptly.
Ryan MacInnis looked much better in the session on Sunday than he did in July, where he was obviously out of shape, and couldn’t catch his breath. He scored a couple of goals, and looked as if he wants to compete for a roster spot.
Henrik Samuelsson was not as much of a standout, and not sure why I didn’t see his number 55 involved in plays that made me notice him. His brother, Philip was slated to be at camp, but he was not there at either session over the weekend. Not sure if he’s hurt, or what.
Dylan Strome was just average again, so I’m not certain why he didn’t give it his all to impress the coaches and management if he wants to move up to the NHL. It won’t be automatic, so he needs to step it up. Perhaps when the team goes to the L.A. area for two rookie games there, he will show some more enthusiasm.
What really impressed me on Saturday was the leadership displayed by Max Domi. After the session was almost done, he was leading the group in stretching exercises in the middle of the circle of players. He took the initiative to raise his stick, and the others joined in to thank the crowd for being there. He obviously watched some Arizona Coyotes games to see what the team does after a home game to show the fans their gratitude. It really showed me he’s ready to perform a leadership role down the road, if needed.
All in all, it was good to see hockey again, and especially see the future Arizona Coyotes out on the ice. October can’t come quick enough, if you know what I mean.
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