Development Camp: Final Thoughts – The Stars
After watching the kids all week…
Prize free agent signing and top prospect Jiri Sekac and 2013 2nd round pick, Jacob De La Rose really stood out as the stars of this years development camp. Grabbing my attention maybe even more so than their on ice performance was the bond these 2 seemed to develop over the week. They played on the same line, even though Audette (who also stood out) wasn’t always their center, possess similar skill sets, and most importantly; have a chance to make an impact when the regular season rolls around.
Their efforts in the defensive zone, along with their obvious speed and size make them candidates to get some ice time under Coach Therrien in the upcoming 2014-2015 season. Sekac, 22 seems primed to make himself an everyday part of this team going forward, as his 3 years in the KHL really separate him from the rest. His professionalism, specifically his attention to detail, the way he approaches every situation and play on the ice cannot be compared to anyone else attending this camp.
This will, and in my opinion already has, gained the respect of Therrien and co. and I fully expect him to have a spot alongside Lars Eller or even Tomas Plekanec. Offensively, Sekac relies on his size, skating and hockey sense to create plays by finding lanes and driving the net. He likes to setup on the half wall on his off wing, often setting up for the give and go, and always tries to end his shift with a scoring chance. His offense will only develop as he learns to adjust to the NA game. Don’t expect a huge learning curve here either, could be someone the team relies on come the end of the season.
De La Rose’s situation is different as he is only 19 years old, although he already possesses NHL size and skating. His whole game is based off the forecheck as he gets those big legs churning and picks up speed to creates turnovers with his long reach and natural hockey sense. While he may not have the 1 on 1 skills of Marian Hossa, his style, work ethic and desire to succeed create scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates. This style is infectious and seems to wear down opponents, as often the defense starts making plays they wouldn’t normally make due to the constant pressure.
Expect the man they call DLR, to have a Bournival type role this year with the Habs, and maybe even some games in Hamilton to gain some offensive confidence, but will be a fan favourite for years to come.
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