By Andrew Eide
The T-Birds wrapped up their second day of training camp with a spirited scrimmage consisting of a Blue and White team made up of their 15 and 16 year-old prospects. It was the second such scrimmage of the day and it sandwiched a couple of work outs by the older, returning players.
In the first scrimmage, the Blue team shut out the White team by a score of 3-0. Blue got a goal from Mathew Barzal and two from Jagger Williamson. The afternoon game was a spirited affair that went to a shoot out and was won by the Blue by a score of 6-5 as Williamson picked up the shoot out winner.
Thursday ended the prospect portion of training camp as the returning players, along with a number of draft picks, will work out and play scrimmages this weekend – starting with Saturday’s 3:00 p.m. session.
What stood out the most in the scrimmages was the overall quality of depth the T-Birds seem to have in their system. During last year’s prospect work outs Barzal dominated the group. He scored multiple goals and seemingly had a scoring chance on every shift. While he still was head and shoulders the best player on the ice, and did score three goals on Thursday, he was not as dominant. This is a testimony to the high level of competition this year. It was a competition that consisted of three other first round draft picks, along with two high second round picks.
The future seems bright.
There were several good performances on Thursday, here are some of the more notable ones:
Matthew Barzal: Barzal was as advertised again on Thursday. He continues to show elite skills in nearly every aspect of the game. Always dangerous, he sees the ice, the puck is a magnet to his stick and he can finish. It will be exciting to see who head coach Steve Konowalchuk has him playing with this weekend and throughout the preseason.
Dante Fabbro: Seattle’s top draft pick from this year looks very sharp. The defensemen is a smooth skater, hardly ever gets rattled and sees the entire ice. He makes quick and decisive plays in his own end and moves the puck well. Thursday he also showed that he has a physical aspect to his game – throwing several big time hits.
Ethan Bear: Bear is a big defensemen who is going to be in the mix to make the club out of preseason. He can win battles down low, is extremely strong and can throw his weight around. Perhaps the biggest surprise was how skilled he is offensively. He can move the puck well and displayed a pretty big, and accurate, shot throughout the games on Thursday.
Lane Pederson: Pederson had a strong day on Thursday and looks like he will be a contender to make the club this year. There had been some speculation that he would play center but he was on the wing all day Thursday. He has good size, can skate and showed that he has good hands. He scored a goal in the afternoon session after a terrific deke at the blue line that sprung him free.
Luke Osterman: The Minnesota born defensemen had a good day on Thursday as well. He played physically all day long, was solid in his own end and seems to play with a bit of grit and edge.
Kaden Elder and Nolan Volcan: Elder and Volcan were paired on a line in the afternoon and displayed a great deal of chemistry. They were pushing the play and created several good scoring chances, including hooking up on one of White’s goals in the afternoon session. Both players are not eligible to play in the WHL until next season but they could end up forming a nice line for Seattle down the road.
Jagger Williamson: Easy to spot on the ice thanks to his long flowing hair, Williamson had an impressive outing. He is a smaller player but managed to be around the puck all day. He scored two goals in the morning session, set up a big goal in the afternoon session and picked up the game winner in the shoot out. He seems to be a player that would be annoying to play against as he didn’t shy away from contact and is quick.
Colton Thomas: Thomas was a late round draft pick this past spring, going in the 8th round, but had a strong day. He centered a line that continually applied pressure and he picked up a nice goal in the afternoon.
We will have a recap of Saturday’s action for you here at 710 ESPN Seattle.
Follow Andrew on Twitter @andyeide