Ramblings: Avs Sign Rodrigues; Outlooks for Hartman, Meier, Danault, and Burakovsky – September 13

Michael Clifford

2022-09-13

This is the last week before training camps start, though there are rookie camps that will be happening all week long across the league. For anyone that even pays cursory attention to social media for hockey clips and information, it is probably worth taking a bit of time about what we should look for in these practices and games.

First, we are looking for injuries occurring or players returning from one. That is one of the most important pieces to search out when this time of year hits. Every player is expected to be in the best shape of their lives, but are guys who had offseason surgery/rehab like, say, Patrice Bergeron and Joel Farabee, ready to go? It's an obvious move but checking in on team reporters to see what they have to say about returning players is one important aspect of camp.

The other is line combinations. With the caveat that lines will change through camp and all season long, how a coach views a player during practice and exhibition can tell us a lot. Teams are usually split into two squads which means we could have a couple dozen forwards in uniform. If someone slots on the third or fourth lines of a split squad, it's pretty obvious the coaches don't think much of their ability to make/impact the main roster. Players can and do impress during exhibition games so fortunes will change, but if Nick Robertson, or Philip Tomasino, or Marco Rossi, or any number of names aren't at least in the top-6 of a split squad, we should be concerned.

Things to avoid include "Player X is in great shape" or "Player Y looks hungry" or anything of the sort. Players are supposed to be in great shape; they're in the NHL. They are also supposed to be driven/determined as, again, they're in the NHL. If a writer makes a specific note about a player looking out of shape, that might be worth something, but it could also be a top-of-roster player not wanting to push themselves too hard too fast.

A lot of information coming from camps will be useless. Players from every team (except maybe Chicago) will expect to be playoff contenders but they're not all going to make it. Coaches wil