Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Back From Exile

Howdy, kids!

Allow me to (re)introduce myself.  My name is Troy and today I'm returning from a bit of a sabbatical from the blogosphere.  It was a good break for me as I'm sure it was for all of you who were spared from reading my ramblings for a few weeks :)

I figured it was time to check in now that the Red Deer Rebels have officially released the schedule for their 2012 spring prospects camp, which will once again take place at the Penhold Multiplex...

 Friday, June 1st             3:00PM – 5:00PM
Saturday, June 2nd        3:45PM – 5:45PM
Sunday, June 3rd           9:00AM – 11:00AM

All sessions are open to the public.

24 players will be taking part in the camp, all of whom were born in 1996 or 1997 and are on the Rebels 50-man protected list.  This group include will many of the Rebels’ picks from the recent 2012 Western Hockey League Bantam Draft...

Name                          Selection                       Position          Hometown
Adam Musil                 1st round, 6th overall         Forward          Burnaby, BC
Taz Burman                 2nd round, 30th overall      Goaltender      Vancouver, BC
Austin Strand              3rd round, 48th overall       Defence          Calgary, AB
Mason McCarty            4th round, 69th overall       Forward          Blackie, AB
Grayson Pawlenchuk     4th round, 74th overall      Forward          Ardrossan, AB
Meyer Nell                   5th round, 96th overall      Forward          Boissevain, MB
Alexander Winters       6th round, 118th overall      Defence         Kamloops, BC
Bo Hanson                  7th round, 140th overall      Defence         Boise, ID
Brayden Burke             7th round, 145th overall      Forward        Edmonton, AB
Daniel Nault                8th round, 162nd overall      Forward        Penticton, BC

The group will also feature many of the '96 born players (better known as the 2011 Bantam Draft Class) who attended last year's prospects camp...

F     Conner Bleackley  (1st round, 21st overall)
D    Haydn Fleury (2, 43)
D     Vukie Mpofu (4, 87)
G     Grant Naherniak (5, 109)
F     Rod Southam (6, 131)
F     Earl Webb (7, 153)
F     Chase Thudium (8, 175)
F     Jake MacLachlan (9, 197)
F     Blake Weyrick (10, 219)

Obviously, Musil stands out as a new player coaches, media, and fans will all be excited to get a first hand look at.  Many pundits were surprised to see Musil still available at the #6 overall pick so it's quite possible the Rebels got quite a steal by selecting him.  He had 58 goals and 40 assists for 98 points in 60 games with the Burnaby Winter Club last season.

Vukie Mpofu was outstanding for the Saskatoon Contacts during the recent Telus Cup national midget championship in Leduc.  He was on the ice a lot, and in every situation imaginable.  He has great confidence and good skill.  The only thing which works against him is his size (he's listed as just 5 ft 9) but he's a battler and will no doubt show that over the three days in Penhold.

Rod Southam makes up for the size Mpofu lacks.  He's listed as 5 ft 10 (on but plays bigger.  A crash and bang forward who likes to make a lot of noise in the form of hitting opponents.  He played pretty well in Saskatoon's opening game at the Telus Cup versus the Optimist Rebels but was fairly quiet throughout much of the week (as he doesn't put up a ton of points).

We all got a good glimpse at what Conner Bleackley brings to the table thanks to the 16 games he played with the Rebels last season (in which he recorded 2 points).  He definitely has the confidence to succeed.  And, as with any former first round pick, there will be plenty of expectations for him not only to shine at prospects camp but to make the main roster this fall.

Haydn Fleury is a prospect for whom the Rebels have extremely high hopes.  With some big voids being left on the blue line by the departing Justin Weller and Alex Petrovic (and possibly others) Fleury is a likely candidate to be among the Rebels top eight this fall.

Anyhoo, that's a quick look at the upcoming prospects camp.  In the next few days I hope to have a few more blog posts on the way.  I'll definitely have more coming in a couple of weeks from now when camp takes place.


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