THUNDERBIRDS

Thunderbirds wrap up rookie portion of training camp

Aug 26, 2016, 10:46 AM | Updated: 11:59 am

KENT – The first two days of Thunderbirds training camp were highlighted by scrimmages that focused on the future of the club. It was all about the rookies on Wednesday and Thursday.

The 2000- and 2001-born prospects were split into four teams for a series of scrimmages that concluded Thursday evening. Perhaps in an attempt to breed some competitiveness, the T-Birds held a mini-tournament on the final day with the Grey Team taking the title. Coached by scouts Leland Mack and Mark Romas, Grey went 6-0 on the week as the two scouts-turned-bench-bosses now have a two-year rookie camp unbeaten streak going.

The returning, veteran players did make an appearance with some on-ice fitness testing and an afternoon practice Thursday. With fans waiting on whether or not Mathew Barzal will be with the team this year, it is worth noting that he is not in camp with the T-Birds.

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His absence doesn’t come as too much of a surprise. Barzal hasn’t played much hockey this summer as he has been nursing a minor hip injury. Along with that, he is focused on doing everything he can to make the New York Islanders’ roster and wouldn’t gain much by coming to camp with Seattle.

With the rookie portion of camp now over, here are some of the notable moments and players from the first two days:

Elijah Brown looks ready

The 2015 first-rounder looks ready to go as he skated with confidence in the rookie scrimmages and was hands down the best player on the ice. You want your top prospects to dominate their age group and he sure did. The road will get tougher for Brown the remainder of the week as he will now compete with the older players, but based on his two-game appearance with the T-Birds last year, he should do just fine.

Hockey Bloodlines

There were a number of familiar last names in camp this week. Most notable was the name Sakic. T-Birds 16-year-old prospect Chase Sakic is the son of legendary Hall of Famer Joe Sakic. The elder Sakic was a star in the WHL with Swift Current before going on to score 625 NHL goals with the Quebec Nordiques and later the Colorado Avalanche. He won two Stanley Cups and now is the general manager in Colorado. The younger Sakic had a strong showing in the two days of rookie camp with good hands and what appears to be a high hockey IQ. He’s not the biggest player out there and you have to wonder how much his lack of size might hinder his chances of someday making the T-Birds’ roster. The Sakics weren’t the only recognizable names in camp. Former T-Bird and Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Corey Schwab’s son Austin was between the pipes the first two days for Team Green. Current T-Birds defenseman Jarret Tyska’s younger brother Matthew skated with the Blue Team and the White team featured Cole Weinger, who is the younger brother of Portland Winterhawks defenseman Evan Weinger.

Prettiest goal of rookie camp

In one of the early scrimmages, 15-year-old Cody Savey fought off a defender on a rush and scored on a one-handed, back-handed, top-shelf shot.

Stankowski in action

Goalie Carl Stankowski saw regular action throughout the two days with Team Green. He looked sharp and will stay in camp to begin competing with the older, returning players. He is one of the guys looking to make the roster as a backup this season.

Crazy like a Fawkes

T-Birds 2016 first-round pick Jake Lee was in action this week and looked strong, but so did the guy the team took with its second-round pick. Forward Eric Fawkes was strong for the winning Grey team. He has good size, was fast and his line generated chances while winning nearly every shift. Fawkes, only 15, scored twice in the “championship” game on Thursday evening.

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