VOORHEES, N.J.- Tons of fans filled Flyers Skate Zone for the final day of prospect camp. Head coach Peter Laviollete was in the building, scrutinizing the young players. This week was a very big opportunity for the guys.
Scott Laughton was the main focus throughout camp. The Flyers first round pick in this past June’s draft drew comparisons to former captain Mike Richards. Laughton is a grinder, and could be a very solid 2-way forward in the NHL. During the scrimmages, he showed leadership qualities. When a teammate took a hit, Laughton would step in and drop the gloves to defend them. He has the offensive skills as well, possesses a very solid wrist shot. He will no doubt be in the NHL very soon. Oh, and one more thing. Laughton was born on May 30th, 1994. Yes, 1994.
Chris Clapperton was without question my favorite player to watch this past week. First off, he is listed at 5’9″ and I believe that is being generous. He looks more like 5’7″. However, he certainly doesn’t play like it. Clapperton is certainly not afraid out on the ice. He constantly looked for the hit and skated hard to the puck. He even mixed it up a bit with Brandon Manning a bit. He is very skilled with the puck on his stick as well. He is one of those players you root for. I really look forward to hearing his name in the future.
In June, the Flyers moved James van Riemsdyk. This past week, they brought another one in. Trevor van Riemsdyk was an invitee to camp. The younger brother of the former Flyer didn’t seem too promising the first day or two. However, after watching him during the scrimmages, I can honestly say that he really impressed me. Trevor is a defenseman, unlike his winger brother. “TVR” as fans are already calling him, looked very smooth with the puck, especially out of his own end. He is a very solid passer while in the midst of traffic. He can also score too. During the scrimmage, a penalty shot was awarded where he displayed some nice dangles and scored. I’m not saying he’s his brother, because he is not. And I don’t see him in the NHL anytime soon. But, however, he did catch my eye in Voorhees this week.
Nick Cousins was considered by some to be the best prospect at camp. And for good reason. Cousins portrayed a tough guy role, as well as an agitator. Always in the opposing team’s face, trying to piss them off. But that’s not all he can do. Cousins is also a very intelligent player with a strong hockey sense. He is very smart with the puck too. Most importantly, Nick just loves the game. I often caught him smiling and laughing out on the ice, which really is what the game is all about.
Goaltending was looked at very closely at camp. The two that stood out to me were this year’s 2nd round pick Anthony Stolarz and former Ohio State Buckeye Cal Heeter. Heeter looked very comfortable in net, and made some specatular saves. However, when the puck was on his stick, he looked a bit awkward. On Saturday’s scrimmage, the two combined to only give up two goals in an impressive victory. Stolie (Stolarz) is a crowd favorite. He is massive between the pipes, standing at 6’5″. He has a very solid glove. On Sunday, he seemed a bit rattled during traffic, but clearly the future is looking bright for these netminders.
Prospect camp was a tremendous opportunity for all who attended. I had a blast and was really impressed by these players, as well as some others.
On a side note, it was great to see Lappy back on the ice coaching.
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