INDIANAPOLIS – Training camp is underway in Indianapolis and the Pop Weaver Youth Pavilion is much colder than it has been in months. The Indy Fuel took the ice today for their fourth day of camp and The Sin Bin was there to gather some thoughts.
Thirty players are currently on the roster for training camp including three AHL contracted players and eight players on tryout contracts. Four players on the roster are returning players from the 2016-17 Indy Fuel team. All but a select few of those players took the ice today for a full-ice scrimmage.
Thoughts on Monday’s Camp
AHL Contracted Players
- Alex Wideman hasn’t skipped a beat. In fact, his offensive play was spectacular. Although his size never seemed to slow him down in the first place, it definitely didn’t stop him on Monday. His stick handling and ability to get open and create scoring chances was very clear. I don’t think he’ll be in Indy for very long, Rockford will be calling soon.
- I’m a big fan of Tommy Olczyk’s game. Prior to his professional career, the 5’10 forward spent four years at Penn State. As a Nittany Lion, he was a grinding, two-way player that could put the puck in the net when needed. Watching him at camp on Monday, he was hard to miss. Fuel fans will enjoy his two-way game. He isn’t afraid to go into the corners, grab the puck and create offensive chances. He’ll be a consistent, second/third line forward that will play heavy minutes on special teams while he is in Indy.
- As of right now, Tomkins is the only goaltender that has been assigned from Rockford. As they did last season, the Fuel will likely receive another goalie from the IceHogs. That being said, in the small amount of time that I saw Matt Tomkins, I was pleased. Hockey’s Future scouting report lists Tomkins as “a sound positional goaltender who plays a heady game between the pipes. Consistency is sometimes an issue but he plays a more controlled game that relies more on solid instincts and athletic ability. Tomkins has the size that many NHL teams seek in a goaltender.”
Blackhawks TV did a nice feature on Matt Tomkins and Collin Delia, two goaltenders who will likely end up in Indy.
- Overall, I’m confident in this year’s team. Saying that feels like a broken record, but this time is different. The team has size, skill veteran leadership. Zach Miskovic, Cam Reid, Michael Neal and Geoff Walker bring a strong, veteran presence along with scoring consistency to the team.
- The defensive depth is one thing that fans should be very excited about. Last season, the team was exposed when it came to third or fourth line defensemen playing first or second line minutes. That shouldn’t be the case this season. The team currently has eight rostered defensemen, giving them the depth that is needed at this level when it comes to defense.
- Head Coach Bernie John will want to run a fast-paced, two-way game this season. The defensive size and depth will allow them to get the puck out of the defensive zone and up the ice. Along with defensive depth, the team will have a strong two-way forward lineup that isn’t afraid to chase the puck into the corners, force turnovers and turn them into scoring chances.
The Fuel play a pair of exhibition games against in-state rival Fort Wayne, this Friday and Saturday nights.