Rookie Camp Wraps Up, Training Camp Roster Released

The 52-man roster for training camp is available, take a look here. There are no major surprises on it: it's mostly the guys we have on contract. Four junior players made the cut: Alexander Burmistrov, Ben Chiarot, Cody Sol, and Sebastian Owuya. There was no doubt that Burmistrov would come to camp, but each of those three defensemen had a very solid rookie camp. I was particularly impressed with Chiarot who seems to be taking steps forward like Zach Redmond (from last year) and Paul Postma (from two years ago) did after their draft year.

I don't have quite as many comments about today's scrimmage as I did on Tuesday: the same guys continued to impress. There was a bit of a mix-up between Angelo Esposito and Akim Aliu after Esposito took a low open-ice hit from Aliu. Each was called for a penalty after a bit of pushing, but Aliu apologized to Esposito the next time the two were on the ice and all seemed fine.

Today I finally noticed Andrew Kozek who seemed invisible to me on Tuesday. He was playing on a line with Fredrik Pettersson and the two of them looked solid. Ed Pasquale had a few incredible saves during the game. Andrey Zubarev showed some nice offensive moves. I even saw Cody Sol move the puck nicely and jump into the play a few times; I wasn't the only one who noticed, apparently, as he got an invite to stick with the team.

As far as NHL-readiness, I'd say Cormier and Pettersson both look ready to go. While I thought Paul Postma would be ready, I think he could use a bit more time in the AHL, as could Andrey Zubarev. Make no mistake, both guys will play in the NHL, just probably not this year. More difficult to judge are Angelo Esposito and Alex Burmistrov.

Esposito looks like he has his speed back and showed a few nice flashes, but nothing exceptional. Still, it's been a long, long time since he's regularly played hockey, so he's going to take a bit to get into the groove of things. I hope that he'll play in the pre-season game Tuesday so we can get a chance to watch him go at full speed. It's a tough road for him to make the team (as he'd likely have to eclipse both Burmistrov and Cormier), but I wouldn't write it off completely.

Burmistrov never showed me anything that made me think, "He's ready to go." He's a good skater and I could see a lot of his shiftiness on display, but I also saw a few bad passes and turnovers. In open ice he's great, but he was getting beat along the boards. Now, a lot of these same things were said about Evander Kane during early camps last year. It's entirely possible that Burmistrov is just "playing nice" since he knows he'll be at the main camp. If he turns it up a few notches, I'll totally take this back, but this week he didn't look like an NHL player.

So there you go: the main competition for spots will likely be Cormier for 3rd line center and Pettersson for 3rd line wing. They'll be competing with guys like Nigel Dawes, Enver Lisin, and Spencer Machacek. Esposito and Burmistrov have outside chances to make the team.

Your defense will be, barring a surprise, Enstrom/Byfuglien, Hainsey/Oduya, Bogosian/Sopel, and Valabik as #7. Those pairings could easily be different, but they seem like a decent starting point.

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