I've had a few requests for something like this, so here's my evaluation of five prospects that stood out last week at the Devils' rookie camp. I should mention that I was trying to watch the 2009 draft picks over players I've seen before, so that plays into why I don't mention someone like Tyler Eckford, who I watched a lot more closely last year.
Mattias Tedenby was a 2008 pick, but this was my first chance to see him in person because he did not attend last year's rookie camp.
Matt Corrente played in only one scrimmage before having to sit out the rest with a left shoulder strain, so there is no way to tell if he's made any progress. Also, I always issue the reminder that playing well in a rookie camp against fellow rookies and AHL and ECHL players doesn't necessarily translate into playing well in the NHL.
1. Mattias Tedenby, LW: Quick feet, impressive stickhandling in traffic. Needs to get a little thicker to play in the NHL and needs to learn to keep his head up in traffic. There was one moment in Friday's scrimmage when Jean-Sebastien Berube could have taken Tedenby's head off if he had wanted.
2. Eric Gelinas, D: You could really tell this guy can skate from watching him just a little bit. He's still learning the position because he was a forward up until four years ago. When you have a guy who is 6-foot-4, 190 pound and he skates like this, those are very good tools to work with. Wasn't able to tell whether he plays a physical game.
3. Alexander Urbom, D: Another big kid at 6-3, 195. Stood out with his passing and skating. I liked him a lot. I believe he has the makings of an NHL player.
4. Patrice Cormier, C: I watched him a little more later in the week after I heard that he had signed. He's a well-rounded player and he's filled out some from a year ago (6-2, 200). He looks like an NHLer and a the kind of guy the Devils like. He probably doesn't have the offensive skill to play on the first two lines. I don't like putting ceilings on 20-year-olds, but usually a guy who can play on the top two lines puts up bigger numbers in juniors than Cormier has. He did show improvement in registering 23 goals and 28 assists last season, though. Lou Lamoriello said the plan is for him to go back to junior for one more year, but it's clear the Devils think Patrice Cormier is going to be a part of their future.
5. Jacob Josefson, C: Another guy who looks like a Devil because he's well-rounded. Good skater and passer. He's only 18, so he needs to grow. He's listed at 6-0, 185. It''s hard to tell his offensive potential from his season in the Swedish Elite League because he was playing on the fourth line over there. Maybe he'll get a bigger role in the upcoming season.
I should also mention that defenseman Seth Helgeson (6-5, 220, fourth-round choice 2009) caught my eye more than a few times. I think he has potential. Curtis Gedig (6-3, 190) as well.
Actually, all of the big defensemen the Devils drafted in June looked like they can skatl. Their size stands out most, but after seeing them skate, I understand why Lou Lamoriello and the Devils' scouts are excited about this year's draft.
That said, we're probably talking about three years (possibly more) of development before we see them in the NHL. They are only 18.
In addition, I thought that Alexander Vasyunov and Vladimir Zharkov did some good things where I often had to look at my roster to tell who they were earlier in the week and knew their numbers without looking by the end of the week.
Right wing Nathan Perkovich also showed an edge that I liked. He'll be an AHL this season, but he was more noticeable than a year ago.