Prospect Camp Day 2: The Toropchenk-Show

Introduction

“How we got to this point” is in Day 1’s post.

Observations

The crowd was a bit larger. The ooooh’s were louder.

I was by myself, and at one point decided to check for a bleacher seat. That didn’t work out. If you have kids and want seats, you may want to show up a little early on Friday and Saturday. Smaller kids can also stand on the raised area behind the net.

Lion’s Choice beforehand was the best idea, although the mall pretzel is still a solid choice.

We didn’t start a “Let’s go Blues” but you can tell everybody wants to.

Robert Thomas was sporting a GoPro during drills, so either the NHL or STL will have some cool content for us.

And honestly, a lot of the prospects and coaches were smiling. Good vibes. A lot of chat between groups of fans too. The hype is building. Quickly.

The Experience

The first day content I posted here provides the details.

Today, the same series of events occurred, except Team Tkachuk took part in the hour of drills instead of Team MacInnis.

Coaches still in bleachers, Jax still on the ice, Bobby still signing autographs.

Team Tkachuk consists of:

Forwards: Devin Brosseau, Filip Helt, Adam Musil, Nolan Stevens, Robert Thomas, Alexei Toropchenko, Dwyer Tschantz, Blake Winiecki

Defense: Trenton Bourque, Grant Frederic, Luke McInnis, Niko Mikkola

And Klim Kostin. It seems he will perform the drills each day since he is not medically cleared for scrimmage contact.

The Toropchenk-Show

Imagine this.

You are 17. Your birthday is tomorrow, but the second half of the NHL draft is tonight. You may not stay up to watch online…who am I kidding, you might be drafted! And of course, after leading your MHL team in scoring at 17 years old you are selected.

The team who picked you in the 4th round has a Countryman you know of; everybody knows who Vladimir Tarasenko is. Maybe you could leave your country, family, friends, and try to play in the NHL.

But the ice is smaller. And you don’t speak their language. Their news stations are not fond of Russia at the moment, and it’s an 11 hour time difference.

You choose to try out.

You’re invited to prospect camp and show up as one of the youngest of the group. Jet lagged. Smaller ice. Foreign language.

No excuses.

You call for the puck, create solid transition play, drive the net, and score or assist on 4 straight goals in competitive scrimmage. Your team wins 5-1. After the fourth goal you and your line mate, Nolan Stevens, celebrate it more than a scrimmage calls for, and that’s okay.

The adversity Alexei Toropchenko has faced in this transition has been non-existent in camp thus far. Today, he wins my vote as best in camp. He isn’t flashy, he is just a problem.

He’s a problem for defenders. If you give him space he will drive to you. If you tighten up he will find the open man.

He’s this odd mix of play-making and power forward. He wants you to believe he is a puck hog so his center can tap in a goal on the opposite post. And he’s doing this against older players, some drafted higher than he was, all with a lifetime of experience on North American ice. He can barely understand commands or conversation, but after day 2, it is clear, he knows hockey, and the only reason he may not be the steal of the draft is because of his Countryman, Klim.

Next year he will be following in Robby Fabbri’s footsteps playing for the OHL’s Guelph Storm.

My Impressions on players

Jordan and Tage brought the dangles. Unfortunately, they didn’t finish but they did not disappoint.

Nolan Stevens is a must watch this season as he enters his senior year at Northeastern University.

It blows my mind that Robert Thomas skates better than everybody and is the youngest invitee.

Filip Helt drove the net HARD. If he can put it all together he is a force to be reckoned with.

I do not have any idea how to judge goaltending, but Evan Fitzpatrick is stopping everything.

I promise I will watch Adam Musil tomorrow.

Invitee Information

The prospect information has been removed and will be combined into one master list in a subsequent post.

I’ll be back tomorrow for day 3.

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