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Real First Impressions

training camp and preseason

The beginning of the 2017-2018 NHL regular season is two weeks away. Teams are getting prepared for the grind with three weeks of training camp, which include 5-6 preseason games.

Where will the big guns be placed in the lineup? What role players will be every day players? Which rookies/prospects will show and prove they belong at the NHL level this year? These are the questions surrounding training camp and these first few preseason games.

The rookies have shown they are ready and want to play now at the NHL level. Injuries may help their cause, but the reality is many are good enough anyway.

Nico Hischier

The #1 overall pick showed everyone he is ready to go after scoring in his first game against NHL competition. The Swiss-born rookie is on the verge of history if he becomes a force in this league for years to come.

NHL Preseason
Hischier puts on a show in his first ever NHL game action. Sign for things to come?? Photo Courtesy of Chicago Tribune

Long illustrious careers are not commonly linked to those who come from Switzerland. 11 players have played more than 100 games in the league. However, Hischier has extreme character according to the New Jersey organization and has an entire country behind him.

It hasn’t been confirmed that Hischier will help bring New Jersey back to the top of the league yet. He has brought excitement to a fan base however. That sells tickets and increases TV viewership. There is not much else you can ask for at this point in training camp.

Klim Kostin

The Blues made a surprising trade at the draft trading Ryan Reaves for Oscar Sundqvist and the 31st overall pick. That pick was taken on a player ranked as the #1 European skater in the draft. His name is Klim Kostin.

Training Camp and preseason
Klim Kostin is said to be the biggest steal in this year’s draft and a potential future star in this league. Photo Courtesy of St. Louis Game Time

Kostin fell in the draft due to his recent shoulder injury, but he stands at 100%. St. Louis seized the opportunity in drafting the highly touted prospect out of Russia, which gives them options. The Blues hopeful shined in his debut Tuesday night. Kostin registered a goal, which was a one timer straight to the top shelf in the back of the net.

The St. Louis organization has been high on this kid since drafting him and through training camp. Ryan Reaves was beloved by the Blues fan base, but the hockey fans in the gateway to the west will forgive their General Manager. The club has lost forward Zach Sanford (a young up and coming forward) for 5-6 months with a dislocated shoulder. Opportunities have come up for this young Russian who seeks to prove his organization right.

NHL Training Camp

Training camp runs for roughly three weeks before games are up for points. Games are sloppy, penalties are vast and the end results are not an indication of where a team is/will be. There is however the notion that these athletes are in shape and possibly game ready year round. 4-5 days after the start of training camp they are ready to go and playing games.

training camp and preseason
These teams circle up during practice, but all participants are increasingly hungry to get going and play some meaningful hockey. Photo Courtesy of Reading Eagle

It also gives us fans that NHL hockey is back. The speed, the physicality, the thrill…it’s here. Let’s play some hockey.

 

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