|Schumacher in rookie game (photo: CIKIRI)|
Just before game time last night, the Kings released the names of 11 players who had been cut from their list of 60+ players in camp.
Interestingly, the latter group will be heading to three different junior hockey leagues – Gibson to the QMJHL, Schumacher the OHL and Weal goes back to Regina in the WHL.
After the first round of practice today, I asked coach Terry Murray for some highs and lows that each experienced in camp this month.
The normally positive, or at least even-keeled, Murray actually had some pointed criticism of Gibson. Apparently, the five goals he gave up in the third period last week vs. a team of Phoenix Coyotes prospects left a lasting impression…
Murray on Gibson – “Clearly (after) the game that he played, he has a lot of improvement that’s needed. First of all, he has to be able to handle his emotions. You’re going to be put under the spotlight as a pro player. So, get used to it kid. You have to find a way to get into a game where all your management and coaches are fans are watching and have high expectations of a second round pick. So, you have to get through that and then you take it from there. Working on your game never goes away. He left here with a lot of information from our goalie staff and they’ll follow up with him in junior and keep pushing his game along.”
Schumacher was a kid who Murray knew little about when the Kings drafted him out of Europe this past June. Then, he liked what he saw in Development Camp this July…only to then be a little concerned with his conditioning last week. Which is exactly where the coach started when talking about the 6-foot-5 forward…
Murray on Schumacher – “He’s an 18-year old, with a big body and I think he has a lot of growth in front of him – physically. When we were doing the 45-second skating drills, his lack of stamina and endurance showed. He was having an issue with it. But, when we went to the shorter bursts, he was right there with everybody, through all of the reps. So, bottom line is, in his off-season he needs to do more of that aerobic training and get a solid base. I love his game though. I like the way he thinks and holds onto the puck in the offensive zone. He has a creative mind. He likes to make those little plays in tight spaces. He’s going to create great scoring chances. Similar to what we see in (Tyler) Toffoli’s game now. You can’t teach that. That’s his game and I want to encourage it. He left with a very positive feeling about the training camp. He learned a lot and I hope that he has an impact on his hockey club this year.”
Then there’s Weal. He’s been in the Kings system a year longer than the first two, after being selected in the third round of the 2010 NHL Draft – held in Los Angeles. Weal has put up big numbers the last two season in the Western Hockey League (102 points in 2009-10 and 96 points last year).
Murray on Weal – “I thought he was one of the best players on the ice in those two rookie games against Phoenix. But as I pointed out to him, the most important thing that I saw was a player who is maturing, growing up. He’s a better teammate. He’s a really good guy now. I thought he had a little bit of a problem with that in his first year here. But, he has really grown up in that department. He’s making players on the ice with him better hockey players, through the right decisions and complementing those guys and finding them with his talent, his skills. So, he’s bringing out the best in everybody as a result of that. To me, he left my office with me having a very positive feel about him going back and playing another year (in the WHL).”
Prior to training camp opening up a few weeks ago, MayorsManor published our first top ten rankings of the Kings prospects. To see how they all stacked up, click here to read that article now.