Before we dive into the events of this week’s developmental camp in Newark, there are some updates:
-The last original Albany Devil has left the building. On Monday, Dan Kelly signed a 1 year deal with San Jose. He leaves as the all time franchise leader in games played (352) and plus/minus (+44). So if you’re keeping score at home…that’s 9 players, not counting those who remain unsigned, that have left the organization since May. That number may soon increase to 10, as Marc-Andre Gragnani is rumored to be heading back overseas to an unnamed KHL team.
-However, the only coach the A-Devils has ever known will remain just that for the next two seasons. It was announced early Saturday afternoon that the reigning AHL Coach of the Year Rick Kowalsky will stay on, along with assistant Sergei Brylin. Kowalsky is the third longest tenured coach in the league, behind Roy Sommer (Worcester/San Jose) and Ken Gernander (Hartford).
-It looks like it could be the last season of AHL hockey in Newfoundland, with Monday’s announcement that the IceCaps will move to Laval, QC beginning in 2017-18. After switching affiliations from Winnipeg to Montreal before last season, it was only supposed to be a temporary stay while a new arena was built in Laval, similar to what Philadelphia did with Adirondack while the PPL Center in Allentown was being constructed.
Now a few highlights from camp in New Jersey:
Interviews with Joe Blandisi, Nick Lappin and Josh Jacobs:
If you scroll down the New Jersey Facebook page…I highly recommend the Facebook Live Q & A with Blake Coleman.
Day 2 on Wednesday saw a 3-on-3 round robin tournament with the prospects divided into four teams, aptly named Team Stevens, Team Daneyko, Team Niedermayer, and Team Brodeur, after the four retired NJ numbers. In the end, it was Team Stevens, lead by Jacobs and Blake Coleman, winning the tourney on a shootout goal by 2016 first rounder Michael McLeod. After the tourney, everyone split up around the city of Newark for various community activities…some stayed behind to conduct a youth clinic, while others delivered bottled water to elementary schools or visited local hospitals.
Other team bonding activities? A cooking/nutrition class, a trip to the go cart track, and Yankees-Red Sox at the Stadium on Friday night.
Saturday afternoon came the Red-White Scrimmage. After a scoreless first half, both teams turned on the offensive jets in the second. Team White would hang on for a 4-3 victory, followed by a very long shootout for all participants just after. I had the opportunity to make the trip down…
Blake Coleman representing Team White
Full team photo…during pregame warmup.
One of the purposes of this trip for me was to check out some of the current A-Devils (Coleman, Lappin, et al), but also to get an idea of who may be coming up over the next couple of seasons. Who did I find the most impressive? The SuperBuddies themselves, McLeod and Nathan Bastian.
For more photos from Saturday’s scrimmage, check out my full album on Flickr.
Now that camp is over…no more on ice action until training camp in September. But there’s still comings and goings, and the schedule release (likely at least another month away) to look forward to the rest of the summer.