In a lot of ways, NHL Development Camps are little more than a precaution. As the offseason proper rears its ugly head -- it technically begins when the Stanley Cup is hoisted, but it really begins after the draft and free agency -- teams want to ensure that their kids are going to come into camp ready for a spot, not fat from eating Arby's all summer. After all, you don't have much time before the kids have rights. You can't have them losing a year to poor conditioning.
But it serves a purpose for the fans too. It fills the hockeyless days of summer, for one thing, and it gives supporters a chance to get excited about the skill coming down the pipe.
It helps when the kids show off some of that skill in the shootout drills, and several did this year. Here are our top five shootout moves from development camps the NHL over.
5. Aleksander Barkov, Florida Panthers
We already know all about Barkov's insane shootout moves, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that he makes this countdown. But he sure surprises the goaltender here, faking like he's going to pull the puck forehand -- with two hands, like a normal person -- before flipping it top corner on the backhand with one.
Barkov loses points because it looks so easy. Tough to say if he's really that good, and he fooled the goalie that badly, or this is a KHL All-Star game level of effort.
4. Jujhar Khaira, Edmonton Oilers
Jujhar Khaira gives us a similar move, but he wins points because the Oilers slowed it down for us. Production matters, friends.
No offense to the goalie, but I'd say, in future, if he telegraphs that move, the poke-check is your friend.
3. Sam Bennett, Calgary Flames
Bennett reminds people why the Flames took him fourth overall, beating the goalie here on a deke that actually takes him below the goal line before releasing the puck.
Seems counterintuitive, to skate past the goal before shooting at it, but Bennett makes it work.
2. Jakub Vrana, Wahsington Capitals
Vrana scores on a similar move here, pulling the puck forehand while skating backwards, then flipping the puck top corner with ease.
Again: pokechecking is a thing you're allowed to do, goalie. But after you buy the fake like this one did, you're finished.
1. Viktor Arvidsson, Nashville Predators
My favourite move by far is this modified spin-o-rama from Arvidsson. Rather than cradle the puck with his stick then try to find it when he comes out of the spin, he pins it to the ice with the bottom of the shaft for maximum control, then flips it under the goalie's arm.
Frankly, I'll be oklay with the shootout if we get more moves like this, and I suspect we might, as a generation of kids that grew up with the shootout as an important part of the game start pouring into the league.
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