The Saint John Sea Dogs’ 2016-17 season kicked off on Wednesday afternoon with a rookie camp scrimmage. Here’s a look at what happened.
BY THE NUMBERS
21 - players drafted by Saint John in recent QMJHL Entry Drafts - 10 from 2016, 10 from 2015 and one (Cody Grant) from 2014 are listed on the rookie camp roster.
1 - Import - the Sea Dogs' 2016 Import Draft selection from Russia, Alexander Vdovenko, made his first appearance on Harbour Station ice. The big winger showed a few deft moves in his debut.
1 - American - Paul Edson, a 6'4" defenceman from Beverley, Mass., is the lone US born player at rookie camp. Edson made a fine first impression with poise and skill - and he potted what proved to be a shootout winning goal following a nice deke.
13 - Invitees - included in the list of camp invitees are four from Saint John (C John Farrell, RW Brett Magee, RW Matthew Palmer and D Tyler Smith).
3 - Free agents signed last season - defenceman Mark Kennedy (younger brother of former Charlottetown Islander/current Halifax Moosehead Bradley Kennedy), defenceman Michael Waugh and goaltender Matthew Williams.
2 - Sons of Maritimes coaching legends - invitee Michael Joseph (son of former Moncton Wildcat/current Woodstock Slammers coach, Fabian Joseph) and 2016 draft choice (177th overall) Matthew Stienburg (son of former NHLer and St. Mary's University coach, Trevor Stienburg) made their Sea Dogs debut on Wednesday.
- Both goaltenders - Alex D'Orio (2015 first round) and Matthew Williams looked very good in the opening scrimmage. Both were poised, athletic and positionally sound.
- 2015 and 2016 first round selections Cedric Pare and Olivier Mathieu looked especially sharp in the opening scrimmage with their skill and poise.
- Potential power forwards - Pare (6'3"), Isiah Campbell (6'3"), Nathan Cyr-Trottier (6'2") and Etienne Croteau (6'4") are all long, langy forwards who showed solid skating and each delivered a few big hits in the scrimmage. Kevin Mason (6'1") also showed skill and a big shot as well.
- Speed demons - as for smaller forwards (i.e. under 6'0"), Olivier Mathieu, Alexandre Lafreniere, Sam LeBlanc and Jordan Ehrensberger each demonstrated bursts of speed, finesse, shiftiness and hockey sense.
- Defence - besides Edson, Ian Smallwood, Vincent Martineau and Simon Elsiger were solid defensively and showed ability and willingness to move the puck. Mark Kennedy and Matthew O'Leary (2016 MHL first overall selection by the St. Stephen Aces) also showed signs that they could be in the mix for one of the final roster spots on the Sea Dogs defence.
- Of the seven 2015 and 2016 draft choices not on the rookie camp roster, only one does not have reported US connections. Defenceman Devan Newhook (NL) is expected to arrive for the start of the main camp.
- It will be interesting to see if any of the other six arrive next week. Centre Shane Bowers - who, along with phenom Joseph Veleno, just returned from a stint with Team Canada U-18 at the Ivan Hlinka tournament - is reportedly slated to return to Waterloo of the USHL. Morgan Barron (NS) played hockey at a US Prep school in 2015-16 and he may be protecting his NCAA eligibility. The four US born draft picks - C Marc McLaughlin (2015 draft, 6th round), D Ben Mirageas (2015, 9th), LW Matt Gould (2016, 6th) and G Derek Fournier (2016, 13th) may also be more concerned about their NCAA aspirations. Mirageas was on Team USA at the recent Ivan Hlinka tournament and Gould was on Team USA’s under-17 squad at the Five Nations Cup.
Photo via @SJSeaDogs