Friday morning had me making my annual trip to the NAHL Soo Eagles Pre Draft Camp. While the season ended only a few short weeks ago for the Eagles, the entire staff was looking forward to getting back in the saddle and so was I.
Typically, you never quite know what you are going to get at a pre draft camp, sometimes you can find a good player, sometimes you can see some players who just need to know where they fit in to the junior hockey hierarchy.
One thing not many expected was to see nearly two hundred players at camp this year. The Eagles staff clearly worked their tails off to get this many players to attend, and the quality of players attending was very good. Ten teams made for a long weekend of watching and evaluating.
The Eagles Organization as always was very gracious in assisting other teams in their recruiting as well. Assisting in evaluations were staff members from the Dells Ducks, North Iowa Bulls, Blind River Beavers, Dallas Jr Stars, Soo Thunderbirds, and the newly minted team in Nashville of the NA3HL.
Generally I like to pick out a a half dozen or so players that stood out to me, but today I will focus on just two. These two were exceptional players and got the attention of every scout in attendance.
Sergei Khoroshun, 1995 Forward from PEAC Academy. The smooth skating, powerful forward was a stand out in every game. Whether on the Olympic sheet or NHL sheet of ice, his speed and skill were evident to all. While I don’t like to stereotype, he did not play like many European players do, simply relying on skill. He is a complete player that brought a physical element to his game as well. Should he make the final Eagles roster, I look for him to contribute a lot offensively next season.
Matt Caruso, 1997 Forward from the Waterloo Wolves. The young forward did not play young. The Soo Ontario native didn’t have to travel far for camp, and the Eagles are an organization he is familiar with having an older brother already on the team. A motor that never stops is one thing you notice right way, and a player who plays bigger than he is. Skilled, fast and tenacious are three words that would best describe Caruso.
While there were many other players that stood out for one reason or another, these two stood out above the rest for me. Next up, the Austin Bruins.
Joseph Kolodziej – Publisher