Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Sioux Falls Tryout Camp

Sioux Falls camp this year didn't have as much star power as last year's camp with Jake Hansen and Jack Connolly giving impressive performances, but it was another very fast-paced camp. It was pretty well-attended too. It looked like some fans had made the trip from Sioux Falls which is pretty impressive.

The Navy team was the most impressive at the camp, led by Harvard recruit Luke Grenier. Grenier was the most impressive player of the day. He's filled out over the past 12 months, and should be due for a huge year for the Stampede. Returning player Matt Farris also had a nice game. St. Cloud recruit David Eddy looked talented, but was kind of all over the place. A year in the USHL refining his game a little bit should serve him very well. Also, former Blaine HS forward Mike Schaber played an excellent second half of his game and was rewarded with a goal. He was recruited by some WCHA teams over the high school season. Former Texas Tornado forward Adam Mitchell also looked very good, and has very good size.

On defense, Randy Cure recently committed to Mercyhurst. He's a big guy that skates well. He's a little unpolished, but has a lot of potential. Another intriguing defenseman was '91 birthdate Drew Scurfield. He played a couple games in the MJHL last year. In another couple years, he could be very good.

Defenseman Chad Ruhwedel looked pretty good for the Green team, as did returning forward Dane Walters.

On the Gold team, Anthony Raiola had a pretty impressive camp and he should have a solid year for Sioux Falls. Cretin-Derham Hall's Ryan Bohrer also had a good game. The Gold team also had a couple nice power forwards in Ryan Kesti and Duncan McKellar.

The most impressive player for the Red team was former Texas Tornado forward Sam Goodwin. Goodwin was great, but he might have trouble making the team because he's an '88 birthdate. The Stampede have '88s Kris Reinthaler, Max Grover, Terry Broadhurst, and Joe Knoepke all returning, so one of them would have to go for Goodwin to make the team. If Goodwin didn't make it in Sioux Falls, I'm sure somebody would pick him up.

'91s Andy Simpson and Travis Belohrad both looked pretty good for the Red team.

Among the goalies, Eric Hartzell will likely be returning unless he commits to a college. Sioux Falls also had two of the better '91 goalies out there in camp with C.J. Motte and Clay Witt. Both are talented, but maybe a little raw right now, though they'd potentially make nice back-ups to Hartzell. Also at the camp was a goalie named Matt Ray, a '92 from Andover, Minnesota. I wasn't familiar with him, but he was outstanding.

Tri-City Storm Camp

As you might expect, Tri-City's returning players were, for the most part, the top players at the camp.

For the Gold team, Mike Cichy played pretty well. He should have an exceptional year in the USHL next year before heading to North Dakota. Another returning forward, Josh Berge, also played pretty well. Kyle Politz of Apple Valley, played in the NAHL last year, and he looks like he's ready to make the jump to the USHL this year. Returning defenseman Danny Heath has made a huge jump in terms of strength over the past 12 months and looks like a much more solid defenseman.

For the second straight year, I though Nick Oliver looked great at this tryout camp. He drew some criticism for his play during the high school season, but I still believe he's better suited for a league like the USHL or in college hockey which is more physical. Former Hill-Murray forward Andy Singerhouse was another player that didn't blow me away during the high school season, but played extremely well at the camp. I think he's got a decent shot of making the team.

Chicago Young Americans defenseman Charlie Dodero was the only '92 birthdate(that I recognized, the roster didn't have birthyears). He struggled a little bit with the faster pace, but he should be pretty good in a few years.

Jordan Van Gilder was playing for the Navy team, which implies that he won't be going to Alaska next year. Twins Matt and Joe Zarbo looked very good for the Navy team, though passing and team play was understandably sloppy with everyone at the camp, so they definitely had an advantage playing together.

Off the Red team, New York defenseman Sean Escobedo tried out for Sioux Falls' team last year and I thought he was very close to making the team. He looked good at this tryout camp too. The Red team also had three recently graduated defenseman from the Minnesota high school ranks in Grant Fahnhorst, Rob Vannelli, and Zach Tolkinen. Vannelli is probably good enough to play right now, while the other two are bigger defenseman that could be very good USHL defenseman with a little more development.

Anthony DeCenzo played a few games for Tri-City last year and with a full season for the Storm this year, he should be one of their best scoring threats. Troy Power is another returning forward that had a surprising(at least to me) lack of points last year, but with a year under his belt, should score more next year.

St. Cloud Tech's Jared Maetche played at forward at the camp after experimenting on defense during the high school. He played well at forward and continues to remind me of St. Cloud Tech alum John Swanson.

New Jersey forward Colin Markison was one of the best forwards at the camp. I thought he had made a commitment to somewhere, but then couldn't find anything. In any case, he was excellent.

The Grey team had Minnesota recruit Brandon Martell. Martell lost most of last year due to injury, and some Minnesota fans have raised their eyebrows about his potential future with Minnesota. Martell played pretty well at the tryout camp, but wasn't head and shoulders above the competition. He'll likely be what Minnesota expected when they recruited him, which is a solid defenseman that can add some depth and fill in if the team gets beset by injuries.

The Grey team also had some nice performances from players I wasn't familiar with before the camp. Forwards Nick Curry, Doug Clifford, and JT Osborn all played pretty well.

Roseau's Tyler Landman also had an excellent camp. He scored the goal of the day when he dove past a defender to deflect a centering pass into the net, and added a nice assist through hard work.

The goalies at the camp were: Ryan Benitez, Tyler Bruggeman, Owen Collette, Nick Holmes, Kyle Jendra, Nick Maricic, and Sean McClure. Nick Hopper was supposed to be coming back this year, but he wasn't at the camp. The Storm probably needed an overhaul at the goalie position anyway. Bruggeman and Collette both played pretty well. Bruggeman stopped 7 straight breakaways between the game and the post-game shootout. Both goalies will likely go back to high school and compete for the honor of top senior goalie in the state next year.

Jendra is still a tremendously quick goalie, and has a shot at making the team. It's really a shame that he wasted his college eligibility by signing with the Plymouth Whalers and then only playing three games for them. Nick Holmes and Yale recruit Nick Maricic are two other '90 born goalies that played well and have an excellent shot at making the team.