Monday, August 15, 2011

Ten questions heading into Rockets training camp

10) How many 16 year-old's will the Rockets carry this season. Three? Four? The safe answer is two considering rookie defenceman Jesse Lees and Madison Bowey are locks to make the opening day roster. Keep your eye on sixteen year-old Austin Ferguson though. A 10th round pick in the 2010 draft, the Abbotsford resident is getting rave reviews from head scout Lorne Frey. Ya, Frey pumps the tires of all the players he drafts but Ferguson has been a pleasant surprise.
9)Will a dark horse emerge at training camp this year? Will an off the map player impress the coaching staff to the point that they have no recourse but to place him on the team? I love those stories. Mitchell Callahan is the best example of a player who walked into camp and landed a job with the team. Adam Brown followed a similiar path. Now he's the Rockets go-to-goaltender.
8) If you are a rookie goaltender at training camp, do you even show up? All kidding aside, but it has to be discouraging to see an exceptional goalie like Adam Brown and then notice that his back up is equally talented. Last year the back up spot to Brown was up for grabs. This season Jordon Cooke's objective is to show he can take over the number one duties when Brown departs.
7) Are the 20 year-old's safe on the Rockets roster? Adam Brown is! You don't trade away an elite goaltender. The Rockets learned that lesson when they dealt Derek Yeomans to Seattle a couple of years ago for Clayton Barthel. Is d-man Kevin Smith or forward Cody Chikie safe? Not so, if Mitchell Callahan returns for his final season of junior eligibility. If 'Cally' comes back, someone has to go and it won't be Brown.
6) How much playing time does Bowey and Lees receive from defensive coach Dan Lambert? A regular shift? If so, those two are going to make their fair share of mistakes in the first half but will be dynamite after Christmas.
5) Who replaces Tyson Barrie? Ok, nobody does. Lees and Bowey will be good d-men down the road, but no one is capable of dominating like Barrie did.
4) Who steps up as the leader right from the start of training camp? Who wants to be the captain? It is a wide open field. You don't demand respect if you want this position. You receive it by the way you carry yourself both on and off the ice.
3) Losing three of your top four point producers from last season means someone has to pick up the slack. Geordie Wudrick, Tyson Barrie and Mitchell Callahan are gone. Look for Brett Bulmer, Zach Franko and Colton Sissons to pull harder on the rope this season. Leading the pack will be Shane McColgan.
2) Two players I'm interested in watching is Jesse Astles and Tyrell Goulbourne. Astles should be a physical force this season while Goulbourne is a heart and soul player that will give you everything he's got. Astles came out of his shell last season and Goulbourne impressed during a late season call up. Those two are the building blocks when it comes to punishing the opposition with a big hit or a fight.
1) Is 19 year-old Max Adolph able to bounce back from a series of concussions? The Saskatoon resident had an injury riddled 2010-2011 season that you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy. Can Adolph afford to take one more blow? He suffered three concussions last season alone. Adolph's health is a huge question mark after playing in just 36 games last season.


#36 said...

Do you think Baillie will make the team? Has there been any news on Girgensons?

fax said...

Regan - As a Portland fan who watched the Rockets very closely for six games last season, I would expect Jesse Astles to have a "breakout" campaign.

I was very impressed with his effort and play in the playoffs.