There is a massive swath of humanity raining down upon Condorstown today. Nearly a dozen and a half players arrive today alone, with a few stragglers coming tomorrow and a few that have already arrived. The question is: Who are these guys?? I attempt to answer this question below, and hope to see everyone at the Bakersfield Ice Sports Center on Saturday for Open House.
Look Don’t look for guys that aren’t here yet – That will include D Joe Loprieno, F Hans Benson and D Dan Lawson. All three are in training camps at the American Hockey League level. Lawson is a rookie trying to make his mark, while Benson and Loprieno are guys that have been there before, proven themselves, and if they don’t prove themselves enough this time around, will be arriving next week some time, most likely. All three, obviously, have the potential to have a big impact on this team.
4. Look for energy out of the Condors forwards – With the amount of players attending training camp this season, it stands to reason that not all of them will make it. I have a feeling we will see some great energy out of the rookies, especially, of which we have many. And those guys that show not only that they can tickle the twine, but they are also willing to chase down loose pucks in the corners, win the one-on-one battles and take hits to make plays, have the best chance to make it.
3. Look up – D Erik Burgdoerfer, D Alain Goulet, LW Michael Gurtler, RW Ian McKenzie, RW Parker Stanfield, both goalies and three other players that are not officially on the roster yet so I can’t name them, all stand 6-foot-2 or taller. Size matters, but size WITH mobility and even speed, can win hockey games. The monster out of the group is McKenzie, who rolls in at 6-ft-5. Goulet and G Bryan Pitton are both 6-ft-3.
2. Look for names you have heard before – Burgdoerfer, Gurtler and F Michael Gergen are the three guys returning from last season. Personally, after watching Burgdoerfer and Gergen in their rookie seasons last year, I’m looking forward to seeing them on the stage again. They both have the ability to be contributors. Gurtler we didn’t see too much of, but he had a taste last season and is ready for more. You always have a different perspective when coming to training camp in a city you’re familiar with. You might also look for Pitton between the pipes… you’ve probably seen enough of him, rolling up a 7-2-0 record against Bakersfield over the last two seasons.
1. Look for names that you haven’t heard before – Most people look at our roster on the website and see 17 players, but obviously we aren’t starting training camp with only 17 guys. There are three players in particular who are arriving this week and will become official once camp gets underway. One of those is a goalie, who may or may not have been prematurely announced in the newspaper today. There is a trade pending that could help us as well. There aren’t just players coming in that we haven’t announced, there are good players who we haven’t announced. All of that will change when Friday comes and the players hit the ice. There will be no secrets then.
Kevin Bartl is the Vice President of Communications and broadcaster for the Condors, entering his 9th season with the team. His blog is supposed to come out every Tuesday. Follow him on twitter @KevinBartl.