clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Prospects at play: videos from development camp

New, comments

"Hey Timashov -- what do YOU think of Auston Matthews?"

I just finished watching twelve videos from prospect camp so that you don't have to. (Actually the kids are pretty charming, for the most part, even if the reporters prodding them are not.) Here are my general thoughts about the videos.

James Greenway found out he got drafted while sitting at IHOP with his family. He very much admires his older brother Jordan, and has spent his career following his brother around, first to Shattuck, and them to Plymouth. He was on U20 Team USA and enjoyed beating Canada, really disliked losing to Finland, and said that USA "regrouped" to beat Sweden for bronze. His hero used to be Zdeno Chara, but now he admires Victor Hedman and Brent Burns, because they're offensive defensemen who are large while yet being skillful, like, hopefully, himself.

Nicolas Mattinen is new to camp, but played with Mitch Marner in the London Knights (where he was scratched a whole lot last season). He said he hopes he's heading back to London next season, because he'll be able to take a top six spot. He's immitating the poise and work ethic of his teammates Marner and J.J. Piccinich, and has spent time working with Danny Syvret to improve his game.

Kasimir Kaskisuo doesn't. Blink. Ever. At 22 years old with college hockey under his belt he behaves incredibly maturely, and his goalie stare clearly makes the reporters squirm. So when the first question was, "What's it like to face Auston Matthews in practice?" He was able to smile gently and say, "He's got a good release, smart shots, and makes smart decisions around the net." When asked if he's worried about the number of goaltenders he'll be up against to get playing time, he said, "I'll work for my luck." And when he was asked why he has such a short stick, he said, "It gives me more control." So there you have it. It's not the length of your stick, it's how you use it.

Mitch Marner was asked non-stop about his food intake. No matter how often he plaintively pointed out that smaller yet skilled players exist in the league, like Johnny Gaudreau, or Tyler Johnson, or Kane, he got the questions anyway. "How much do you eat?" "Is it hard to gain weight?" "Do you sometimes get sick of eating?" Marner's answer was basically, "A lot. Yes. Yes." He was asked one interesting question aside from the "why so skinny" ones. "Will going back to the OHL hurt your development as a player?" Marner looked like he was ready to field this one, and said, "Wherever I play, I'm going to work to get better." So diplomatic.

Auston Matthews made Dion Phaneuf look expressive. He also got to work with Barb Underhill on his skating, so instead of hearing the squeaky sound of his eyes rolling back into his head after all the super-repetitive questions about what it must be like to face so much media, I highly recommend that you just watch this video instead.

Keaton Middleton. "I thrive on my physicality, I'm a big strong guy." About sums this fellow up.

Travis Dermott has larger dimples than yours, and when he smiles he looks so enthusiastic that he made up for everyone else's media polish. He spoke about the path ahead of him, and said he just wants to "keep moving through the tracks of getting to the Leafs eventually."

A young fellow named Anthony Brodeur has known Lou since just about birth. He says he's been to Devils development camp these past few years, and hmm, somehow he's at the Leafs camp this year. How could that be? He went to Shattuck, much like Greenway, and had "the best years" of his life there. He ascribes his ability to "Genetics. But you have to work on it all the time too."

J.J. Piccinich left college to go to the London Knights, but didn't find it difficult to make the transition. "I found my role quickly as a shooter," he said. "Especially when we won 17 in a row." And then some reporter asked if being part of the Knights was good for him, because such a professional organization got him ready for the pros. Hi, reporter, have you been reading stuff like this lately? Do you feel the need to promote the CHL a bit?

"Hey Katya, who was Mason Marchment again?" "He was the jerk that gave the bad hit to Marner in the playoffs in 2015!" More people than just Katya remembered this, because the whole interview was really awkward. A reporter said, "Marner said you haven't apologized to him for that hit yet!" And another reporter asked him to go over the play in detail, and Marchment said that his elbow rose without him really thinking about it. The final reporter said, "That changed the way the series went, didn't it," and the interview ended in a swift and uncomfortable way right after that.

Adam Brooks looked so incredibly happy to be at Leafs camp. He's one of the 19-year-olds passed over twice in the draft. Since he's from Winnipeg, he knows Brendan Leipsic well, and followed in his footsteps by winning the WHL scoring title. He plans to "keep it simple and get pucks in the net" (I totally had to get this quote in here at least once), and wants to "do everything [he] can to make an impact." He's also obviously smart and well-spoken, and his interview was worth watching, aside from these old saws.

And then there was Dmytro Timashov, who won my heart by admitting that his favorite player is Martin St. Louis.  "I am a smaller player so I have to get stronger and get good balance and work on my strength." He's been spending his summer training in Aspen, Colorado, poor kid, which probably accounts for his golden tan. "So, did you watch Auston Matthews get drafted?" asked one reporter. "I was training in Colorado, and I was in a restaurant watching him get drafted." "So what do you think of Auston Matthews, Timashov?" "He's a real good player, I played against him at world juniors. Not fun to play against." To his credit, he didn't even roll his eyes.