Well, the Soo Greyhounds training camp has come and gone for another season and this year’s camp has produced a few surprises. All things considered though, the 1999-2000 Greyhounds are in great shape.
The Greyhounds had four rookie goalies in camp (Jeremy Day, Tyler Mercier, Jeremy Elliott and Ray Emery). Last season’s goalies, Jason Flick and Jake McCracken, were attending NHL training camps and missed part of the camp. Flick was in Tampa Bay and McCracken was in Detroit. Both have since returned.
As for the rookie goalies, fifth round pick Ray Emery had a good camp but the only way he is going to be a regular in the Greyhounds lineup is if either Flick or McCracken are dealt during the season. Jeremy Day also played well making 50 saves in an exhibition game against the Sudbury Wolves on September 10th.
The Greyhounds have a lot of experience on their blueline this year. With six returning defensemen the Greyhounds had only a spot or two open for rookies. First round draft pick Trevor Daley has given Greyhound fans a good reason to smile. Daley’s skating is great and he has good on-ice vision.
CHL import pick Vaclav Zavoral spent a good part of camp at the Toronto Maple Leafs training camp. He played his first game as a member of the Greyhounds this past Saturday against Sudbury and he played pretty well. He has good size and mobility. He also handles the puck well.
Potential is the best word that I can use to describe the forwards that attended camp. The Greyhounds scored just 7 goals combined in the first three exhibition games. In Saturday’s game against Sudbury they broke out and scored nine times. In that game 8 different players had at least one goal (Ryan Jardine scored twice).
Despite being a late cut, winger Ryan Bayliss showed a lot of toughness and a little bit of a scoring touch. He impressed many people when he fought second-year defenseman Derek Fox and took care of him pretty easily.
Second round draft pick Malcolm MacMillan and third round pick Rob Chapman also had great camps. They really showed why they were such high draft picks. With players like these two the Greyhounds future looks to be very bright at the forward position. Former Oshawa Generals draft pick Ben Brown, who is also a Sault Ste Marie native, attended camp and impressed some people with his tireless work ethic.
In the last exhibition game against Sudbury the Greyhounds lineup was pretty much set. They had 17 players with at least 1 season of junior hockey under their belt. On opening day the Greyhounds could have up to 20 veterans in their lineup.
Some other players that had good camps were wingers Kris McLean and Sean Uniacke, centre Ryan Caicco and defensemen Scott Hazen and Darryl Baker.
At the start of training camp there were 44 players trying to obtain a spot on the 1999-2000 Soo Greyhounds roster. Greyhounds management wanted to cut the roster down to about 25 players and they did a very good job of it.
The Greyhounds lineup for the season looks something like this:
Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Josh Bennett Josef Vasicek Tim Zafiris
Ryan Jardine Sean Snider *Rob Chapman
John Osborne Mike Nelson
Ryan Healy Cleon Smith
Brent Theobald Cory Pecker
*Jeff Richards Chad Spurr
*Scott Smith *Malcolm MacMillan
Left Defence Right Defence
*Trevor Daley Paul Ballantyne
Bill Browne Dan Passero
* = rookie
Keep in mind that the players on this roster could still be cut before Friday’s season opener. This roster is not final by any means. The Greyhounds open the 1999-2000 season this Friday night at home against the Owen Sound Platers.
Look for the newcomers to step up and play well. As for the veterans, they know what they have to do in order to win now. New Head Coach Paul Theriault has already stated that winless skids down the stretch like last season’s ten game slide at the end of the year should never happen and he will not let it happen again.