Campfire Stories

Matt Bugg


Robert Nilsson


Some NHL camps are wrapping up, some are just underway, and some haven't started yet. Here's a look at the latest news as it's been coming in.


Who was expected to break out: Bobby Ryan. With the departure of their two leading goal-scorers in Teemu Selanne and Dustin Penner, the burgeoning power forward was given the ultimate opportunity.
Who broke out: Todd Bertuzzi. Ryan simply is not fast enough yet for the NHL, and it showed during the first LA/Anaheim pre-season bout. Bertuzzi, however, looks to be 100% in every regard.

Who was expected to break out: Bryan Little. The Thrashers needed help before; but with Steve Rucchin failing his physical, Little needed to come up Big.
Who broke out: Brett Sterling. The high-scoring AHLer demonstrated enough to actually earn a spot, although he probably had one locked up anyway. Little just isn't ready.

Who was expected to break out: Marek Zagrapan. Decimated by free agency, there was never a better time for the 13th overall selection in '05 to impress.
Who broke out: Mark Mancari, on a line with Vanek and Connolly. The bruising power winger thrived with a crafty playmaker and an even craftier goal-scorer. Poolies, take note of this combo!

Who was expected to break out: David Krejci. The Bs already have a solid group in Savard, Bergeron, Kessel, Sturm, Murray and Bochenski. However, Kreci could have easily supplanted that last name on the list.
Who broke out: Marc Savard. To be fair, Krecji hasn't been on the ice a whole lot as of yet. And Savard's an established star. However, the veteran has never looked more dominant on his own.

Who was expected to break out: Jonathon Toews. The youngster dominated at the World Championships despite playing with and against men. He was a lock to make the team even before camp started.
Who broke out: Patrick Kane. While Toews has been good, he hasn't been out-of-your-seat good. Kane, for his part, scored two goals in the first scrimmage- one a highlight-reel spin-o-rama that his boss just happened to invent.
Who was expected to break out: T.J. Hensick. Looking to follow fellow former collegiate Paul Stastny to the NHL, Hensick's game-breaking speed and offensive instincts were to be a camp focus.
Who broke out: Chris Stewart. Hensick has actually been quite dangerous, but Stewart has been a physical force. If he wins a job creating space for Sakic or Stastny, watch out.
Who was expected to break out: Kris Russell. The BJs have sorely needed offensive punch from the backend forever, and Russell was expected to deliver right away.
Who broke out: Derick Brassard. Russell's speed stood out, but stay-at-homer Marc Methot out-played him. Any lost offense will be more than made up for by Brassard and Brule, who both look more than ready for the show.

Who was expected to break out: Igor Grigorenko. The Wings actually had a help-wanted sign up for more than a depth forward this year, and Grigorenko has waited longer than anyone for that spot.
Who broke out: Tomas Kopecky. As Dobber mentioned in his Ramblings, the energy winger burst out offensively while 'Grigs' was flat. Be warned, though- while Kopecky may initially line up with Z and Datsyuk, he doesn't have the talent or consistency to stick there.

Who was expected to break out: Rob Schremp. Or Andrew Cogliano. Or Sam Gagner. The Oilers needed a rookie to show something, because free agency failed to fill a glaring hole in the top six.
Who broke out: Robert Nilsson. Schremp has been too slow, Cogliano has yet to grow hands, and Gagner's been good but not outstanding. Nilsson grabbed the reigns and has been a one-man show.

Who was expected to break out: Alexander Radulov. In an offseason marred by an impending sale and a resulting salary clean-out, Radulov was one bright spot. His dominant playoffs were expected to carry over to this year.
Who broke out: Shea Weber. No forward has stood out, a possible red flag. Weber, however, has been the camp's star. His energy, leadership and skill level point towards a massive season.

Who was expected to break out: Marc Staal. Known more for his shutdown prowess, the second-oldest Staal shone offensively in the OHL playoffs, earning MVP honors with 20 points in 21 games.
Who broke out: Ryan Callahan. Moved to center, the checking forward had instant chemistry with Peter Prucha. Staal, for his part, looked like the rookie defender he is- although you can't fault him for being shown up by some guy named Jagr time and again.

Who was expected to break out: Jeff Tambellini. Cooking in the college and AHL ranks seemingly forever, the speedy winger had a new coach and a new camp in which to grab a job.
Who broke out: Josef Vasicek: Tambellini will still have an NHL job when all is said and done, but Vasicek was a revelation. The underreported free agent signing put on a playmaking clinic.


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