Week at camp shows cupboards are stocked

Big D-man impresses, but don't expect anyone to be rushed

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Nifty though all those scrimmage goals are, the Winnipeg Jets are far more focused on off-ice matters when it comes to their development camp.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 08/07/2016 (2336 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Nifty though all those scrimmage goals are, the Winnipeg Jets are far more focused on off-ice matters when it comes to their development camp.

The annual summer exercise ended Thursday with another scrimmage at the MTS Iceplex, but the 36 players — including second-overall draft pick Patrik Laine, who was here for only two days of camp — in attendance got way more than that from their visit to Winnipeg.

The five days included valuable one-on-one time with coaches and the team’s off-ice staff, sessions in the gym to help each player with his personal regimen and educational time with subjects such as nutrition and dealing with media.

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff is excited about the potential for towering 18-year-old Logan Stanley.

“The competitive nature of everyone comes out… but the off-ice stuff was received very well, the gym training and the nutrition and all the things that go into this week,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said Thursday. “It’s a real productive week for everyone.

“It’s not necessarily about what’s on the ice.”

Fans who attended Thursday’s final on-ice session were treated to sick dangle goals by draft picks Logan Stanley and Jack Roslovic.

“He’s got that ability in him,” Cheveldayoff said of Stanley, the 18th-overall pick last month. “He’s a big player, moves well, has a bomb for a shot. But he’s a guy that’s going to continue to grow, grow into his body. There’s lots of room for development there, and that’s what makes him a real exciting prospect.”

Stanley, the 18-year-old from Waterloo, Ont., measures 6-7 and 220 pounds and said the week had plenty of value for him.

“I think it’s just a measuring stick,” he said Thursday. “I kind of see where I’m at, and I’ll be able to measure myself again in September with all the NHLers. I’m looking forward to that.

“It was good to get out here to Winnipeg, see the city and meet all the staff and some new guys and get skating out here. It’s been fun.”

While Stanley will be returning to the OHL this season to play with the Memorial Cup hosts in Windsor, Ont., left-winger Brendan Lemieux is about to become a full-time pro.

‘He’s a big player, moves well, has a bomb for a shot… There’s lots of room for development there and that’s what makes him a real exciting prospect’– Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff, on Logan Stanley

The 31st pick of the 2014 draft has been to development camp before, so he sees it through a little different lens.

“I think it’s a good week because you get to start making connections with a lot of these young guys we’ve just picked up,” said Lemieux, who at 20, is done with his OHL days. He played the final five games of last season with the AHL’s Manitoba Moose. “You get to start growing together, and it’s a good learning experience for the guys.

“That said, for me it’s a good week because my game is starting to come along. I’m feeling where I’m at but knowing it’s the middle of the summer, I do have a long summer coming up.”

Lemieux said he liked the pace of the week on the ice.

“I found the pace pretty good,” he said. “It’s a lot easier to pick your game up when you’re with older players. With younger players, it’s different and you have to drive the pace yourself. I think we drove the pace up pretty well this week, especially when Paul (Maurice) was on the ice yesterday.”

Having the Jets head coach run Wednesday’s practice was a new wrinkle for the players this year and a new way for the coach to connect with the organization’s young players.

In that, Cheveldayoff rarely fails to mention the bigger picture of what this week is about.

“I’m really proud of the work that our scouting staff does to prepare for the draft and the work that is done at the draft itself, then you start seeing the fruits of the labour,” he said. “Exciting as it is, it is still a time-consuming process. Development doesn’t just happen overnight.

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Brendan Lemieux is done with his days in the Ontario Hockey League, but whether that lands him on the Jets’ roster or with the Moose remains to be seen.

“It’s gratifying to see the year-over-year maturation of these players and to see what they’re like. Look at a guy like Logan Stanley and think back to Adam Lowry and what he was like at 18 and how much of a different person he is from a physical and mental standpoint. And Mark Scheifele, from his first time, we keep going back to him.

“The difference that a player is from 18 to 19 to 20 to 21, the process, although it happens at different rates for different people, when you see it unfold in front of you, it’s exciting.

“Look what Jack Roslovic did in the couple of days here. It’s a testament to the work they’ve put in and the growth that’s in their game.”

Camp invitee Alex McCrea, an undrafted Californian who played defence last season at Cornell University, missed the final two days of on-ice sessions after blocking a shot from Stanley during Tuesday night’s scrimmage. McCrea came up with a broken arm for his sacrifice.

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

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Updated on Friday, July 8, 2016 8:40 AM CDT: Adds photos

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