Development Camp Well Underway
Monday marked the beginning of development camp for the Columbus Blue Jackets. About 35 players attended in all, including draft picks from ’06 to ’09, as well as many free agents that were invited to participate.
The camp is open to the public, and although the ice was crowded with players and coaches, much attention was focused on the Jacket’s 2009 first round pick John Moore.
Throughout the first two days of camp, Moore has been frequently positioned along side Notre Dame product Theo Ruth, who was acquired during the ’07-’08 season from the Washington Capitals in exchange for veteran Sergei Fedorov. So far, the two have looked good together, creating numerous chances in front of the net and playing fast shutdown defense.
“It’s exciting. I need to work that much harder every day”, Moore said. “Right now that’s my biggest goal, to get bigger and stronger and hopefully be a part of that moving forward.”
“We all love his attitude and disposition,” head coach Ken Hitchcock said about Moore. “His foot speed gets him out of so much trouble all the time. He’s able to get up the ice; he can maneuver away from people.”
Five of the six Jackets draftees at the 2009 draft were present on Tuesday. Sixth round pick Anton Blomqvist of Sweden was the only one that did not participate.
New goaltending coach Dave Rook was also present at camp working with goalies Kevin Lalande and Allen York. Rook spent the draft weekend with his former team, the St. Louis Blues, before being allowed begin work with the Jackets.
Lalande, who was acquired from Calgary at the March 4th trade deadline last season, was very impressive in his time with Syracuse posting a 2.27 GAA and a .927 save percentage. He and Dan LaCosta will likely compete for the third goalie spot on the roster in the upcoming year.
Although many of the guys have looked good so far, development coach Tyler Wright says they still have a few things to learn.
“These kids are all young, they’re all naive,” Wright said. “They have an understanding that they think they’re ready for the NHL and what it takes. When you get it in their mind that you have to multiply that by about 100, then they’ll figure it out.”
Another story that arose during camp was the exclusion of Blue Jackets forward R.J. Umberger from the list of players invited to U.S. Olympic hockey orientation camp in August. The list includes 19 forwards, many of which, appear to be less qualified than Umberger.
“For him not to be in a group that big…I disagree with it,” Blue Jackets General Manager Scott Howson said.
Although he was not included on the original list, it is still a possibility he could receive an invite as the games approach come November or December.
“It’s something you dream of, representing your country in the Olympics,” Umberger said. “I would definitely go if I were asked.”
In other news, the Crunch recently signed forward Brock McBride. The 22-year-old enforcer played eight games last season for AHL Hartford notching four assists.