The buzz about the Canadiens Development Camp was the play of Joni Ikonen, a low second-round pick we're convincing ourselves will be the steal of the 2017 draft, such is his progress curve at Frolunda, and the demonstration of talent and hockey IQ at the Brossard rink these last few days.
The last time we were this hyped about a second-round European prospect was when Sebastian Collberg was showing such sublime skill, observers thought he was wasting his time against such poor competition. He was that good. A lock.
When I started blogging, and posting on social media about hockey, I was really high on the Canadiens' prospects, in both sense of the term, but veteran killjoys would douse the flames of passion of this young man, recalling similar situations when Tomas Plekanec and the Kostitsyn brothers and Mike Komisarek and Alex Avtsin and many young hopefuls seemed like a great combo of surefire stars-to-be.
So now, with the perspective of Louis Leblanc, Jarred Tinordi and Nathan Beaulieu no longer with the team, and two of them arguably busts, with Alex Galchenyuk not yet established as the Pierre Turgeon he was sure to become, I'm quite jaded on the farm system.
Is young Mr. Ikonen an interesting prospect? Sure. Did Josh Brook form a good pairing with that other 2017 draftee d-man (I forget which)? Great.
But every team right now is chortling over their draft hauls. Nashville seems to think they have too many good young players, they'll lose some through the cracks. The Canucks are rejoicing that finally there's some help on the horizon, lots of talent. Blake Price of TSN 1040 Vancouver called the 'Summer Showcase', a scrimmage at the New Pacific Coliseum to close off their development camp, "the most highly anticipated July Canucks game ever."
So I'm not going to cartwheel to training camp, and have high hopes. I actually expect a very difficult season, and missing the playoffs a distinct possibility. Even if we get a hot start to the season.
But this development camp, with Nikita Scherbak stalling, and Mike McCarron and Jacob de la Rose taking their time, and the apple of my eye Mikhail Sergachev gone, with Bokondji Imama signed away by those darned Kings, it was hard to get excited about. What I'm looking forward to is getting picks at the deadline for Tomas Plekanec and Ales Hemsky and Joe Morrow, and a better draft position next June.