As we roll into the weekend which will see the Cyclones play a pair of preseason games against the Wheeling Nailers, it brings an end to the Cyclones training camp which began October 1st. I was able swing by Northlands Ice Center this week to check out the on ice training sessions.
Coach Skalde kept the tempo high and had good dialogue with the players. On Monday the coaching staff, which included former NHLer Andrew Cassels, who was helping out for the day, participated in a conditioning drill with players to end the session. The over all mood was light but very business like; there was no question the coaches and players in camp are taking the task of defending the Kelly Cup very seriously. Fans will probably notice a different style of play under coach Skalde, but overall play will continue to be very up tempo judging from the training sessions.
I like to say, give me guys who can skate first and foremost, if they are big even better. The 1st thing I noticed about the group assembled by Coach Skalde was their size and I was pleased with their skating. This years Squad skates as solidly as last years Kelly Cup Championship Squad at the least. Forwards are strong on the puck, have great net presence and finishing ability. The defensemen big and mobile. There is a lot to like about this group.
After some preliminary cuts, the return of a few players released from AHL camps and the late addition of 2 from Rochester the roster sits at 24.
Barret Eghoetz, Mathieu Aubin, Scott Reynolds, Chris Minella, Brodie Sheahan, Sam D’Agostino, Ruben Begunts, Brett Robinson, Ryan Del Monte, Chris Morehouse, Dylan Hunter, Matt Butcher, Matt Pierce
Adam Bartholomay, Doug Krantz, Kevin Roeder, Brad Schroeder, David Sloane, Brian O’Hanely, JC Sawyer, T.J. Fast
Jeremy Smith, Marc Cheverie
As it stands, the Cyclones will have to make at least 1 cut before the rosters get capped for the start of the regular season and with the NHL regular season underway and the AHL season starting this weekend it’s still possible the Cyclones see another player trickle down the line.
A couple of players to keep an eye on if you’re coming out to the preseason game on Saturday:
Chris Minella – Chris is starting his pro career after playing 4 years at Notre Dame. He’s a big, solidly built kid. He didn’t light up the scoreboard in college but after observing his game he seems built for the more physical nature of the pro game.
Sam D’Agostino – Sam is another 1st year player who didn’t have the greatest numbers in college but his effort and energy is hard to miss. The kid has some pretty good wheels and keeps it going even when there’s a lot of contact. I didn’t see him get pushed off the puck very often.
Dylan Hunter – Hunter was acquired from Utah for Brett Motherwell and future considerations. He is billed to be one of the offensive leaders for the ‘Clones this season. Dylan finally arrived at camp today and he looked pretty solid. Time will tell if he can live up to the billing.
Matt Butcher – Butcher, a 5th round pick by the Vancuver Canucks, joined the line up yesterday (10/5). Matt had previously been in Rochester’s camp. Butcher showed a lot of finishing touch in his 1st on ice session with the ‘Clones. He’s a guy who has a lot of upside.
David Sloane – Sloane is a solid blueliner with a lot of upside.
Adam Bartholomay – Adam is listed as a forward but spent the early days of camp playing the blueline. He finally got a chance to move up front on day 7 of camp. That kind of versatility can come in handy as injuries and call ups inevitably happen.
JC Sawyer – He’s big and he has a lot of offensive upside. He reads the offensive zone play as well as any defenseman I’ve seen, but can he up he defensive zone play to match?
We’ll be checking back in after the preseason games.