Rochester is in Hamilton this week, and that means I get a chance to see Sabres' prospect Adam Dennis play. This is installment #1 of my "Amateur Scouting Report" series. I will also report how Jaroslav Halak does, and list some skaters who stood out to me at the end.
First thing that popped into my head when I saw Adam Dennis was "Michelin Man". I've seen him play before, but he looks a little bulkier this season. I think he should lighten just a tad on the shoulder pads, for his benefit. He has a strong, fluid butterfly style, but struggles a little bit in terms of quickness. He's a little on the slow side like I said, but that's a technical thing that can be worked on these next few years. He has the basic moves down pat, you can tell, but he just needs to work on doing the moves faster. He's very calm and relaxed in net, unlike many young netminders, and that bodes well for him. All around good positioning, but he can get caught standing still on quick plays. He needs to work on getting better pushes, and having a little bit quicker feet. He seems to lose the puck quite easily on screen shots, but that may just be a one night thing, and I won't make that judgment quite yet. Some games you just can't pick up the puck, and maybe today was one of those days. Solid rebound control, and quick reflexes. The second goal was very weak, he was off his angle and let Lapierre score from an impossible angle (off the inside of his blocker, and in). He seemed to tire out later in the game, may need to work on his conditioning/endurance if he wants to make the next step to the NHL level. I got an overall comfortable feeling from him, but there are obvious problems that need to be worked on. The good news is, that the problems he has can all be worked on and are not very serious. He has lots of time to work on his skills and will likely be in the NHL someday. It's up to him to decide whether it's as a starter or back-up.
Jaroslav Halak started the game for the Bulldogs, but was pulled after 24 minutes. He gave up 4 goals, a couple of them from the fluky/weird variety. He did not look comfortable in net, probably because it's early in the year, so don't look too far into it. He was replaced by Yann Danis who stood tall and led them back from a 4-1 deficit, eventually to a 4-4 tie. The Amerks ended up winning the game in a shootout, with both goalies looking great. It took 11 shooters before the first goal, Clarke MacArthur beat Danis to win it.
Some skaters that stood out to me:
Good report on Dennis. I saw him play during the rookie camp and looked pretty solid positioning wise. But again he was playing against rookies. He'll need all the time he can get in the A to work on his speed and technique. He has a good head on his shoulders and should develop into a fine goalie.
Thanks, I try my best.