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The All-Development Camp Team…

Now that the Nashville Predators’ Development Camp has come to a close, we can take a look back and reflect on players that left the biggest impression and who looks the closest to playing in the National Hockey League.

Well, you know, as close as they can while playing against other rookies.

This year, instead of a run down of the notes we took during camp, we figured we’d put together an “All-Development Camp” Team. We need to make one thing perfectly clear, however. We excluded Colin Wilson from the running. He played 35 games for the big club last season and he’s projected as one of the top two centers – if not the top center – in the organization so he shouldn’t even have been in camp to begin with. Also, his only real participatation was when he was working with goaltending coach Mitch Korn.

Also, it should be noted that the three forwards selected don’t need to make a traditional forward line with a right wing, a center and a left wing. We just went with the three best forwards in camp. Same with defenseman. We didn’t factor in whether they played on one side of the other and we didn’t care if they were a right-hand shot or a left-hand shot. Whoever the two best blueliners were got the nod.

Okay, now that that’s out of the way, without further ado, we present to you the 2010 All-Development Camp Team.

GOALTENDER – Anders Lindbäck
Drafted #207 overall (7th round) in 2008 by Nashville
This was a close race between Lindbäck and Jeremy Smith. Smith was solid for the most part and had a never-say-die attitude but he also allowed some pretty soft goals. Lindbäck gets the edge simply because he was stopping everything except for the high glove side. We saw five – count ’em, five – consecutive shooters go high glove side and they all scored. If Lindbäck can fix that pesky glove hand, he’ll be backing up Pekka Rinne in Nashville soon enough. If he can’t, he’ll be a career AHLer because, trust us, it was that bad.

Drafted #11 overall (1st round) in 2009 by Nashville
There was one “man among boys” in camp this year and that “man” was Ellis. His wrist shot actually got better than what we saw last year. It’s lethal. Like, Joe Sakic-lethal. He was lights out on breakaways, he was lights out from the point and he was lights out talent-wise. We would’ve liked to have seen a full-ice scrimmage, however, so we could evaluate where he is defensively. The offense he could bring from the blueline has us salivating. So much so that we are lobbying for him to make the opening night NHL roster.*

Drafted #38 overall (2nd round) in 2009 by Nashville
This one surprised us. Not because we didn’t think Josi was good, but more so because we assumed Jon Blum‘s name would be here. It’s not the Blum was bad. Far from it. He was just… how do we put this… underwhelming. And, in fairness, maybe that’s him meeting our expectations and us having set the bar too high. Either way, Josi impressed and deserves a spot on the All-Dev Camp Team. He will be one of three who legitimately contend for the #6 and/or #7 spot on the Predators’ blueline and don’t be surprised if he gets the job.

FORWARD – Blake Geoffrion
Drafted #56 overall (2nd round) in 2006 by Nashville
No surprise here. The 2010 Hobey Baker Award winner was one of the best players in camp. The local prospect wore the number five as made famous by his Hall of Fame grandfather Bernie “Boom-Boom” Geoffrion and, according to Fox Sports Tennessee, a number he might don on a Preds sweater while skating under his late granddad’s retired number in Montreal on November 18. If Nashville makes a move, don’t be surprised if you see Blake in Music City this season. The Preds haven’t had a promising left winger in the system since Alexander Radulov left.

FORWARD – Ben Ryan
Drafted #114 overall (4th round) in 2007 by Nashville
Ryan isn’t even a point-per-game player at Notre Dame but, in Development Camp, he shined. The 21-year old center showed plenty of creativity, speed and playmaking ability as well as a strong work ethic. Furthermore, he showed versatility, being able to work with any and all linemates. While Ryan is the only skater on our All-Dev Camp Team that you’re guaranteed not to see in Nashville this season (or maybe even in Milwaukee until playoff time), Ryan proved himself to be a valuable asset down the road.

FORWARD – Linus Klasen
Undrafted. Signed as a free agent on April 20, 2010 by Nashville
While Ryan Ellis may have been far and away the best player in camp, Klasen was far and away the best forward. Having played three years of professional hockey in Sweden really helped him. According to WKRN’s Joe Dubin, the Preds might be ready to offer him a spot on the opening night roster, forgoing Milwaukee completely. His speed in the three-on-three mini-scrimmage was unmatched and he was everywhere on the ice. Great hustle and determination. The left winger might be the only reason Blake Geoffrion doesn’t spend opening night in Music City.