Day 1 Recap of the Moncton Wildcats Training Camp: It’s Early, but the Cats Came Back

It’s early, really early, but you can still take a lot out of the first day of a Moncton Wildcats Training Camp

All Hands on Deck

All the players are here, not just the rookies and a few veterans battling to prove their worth.

Photo Credit Daniel St Louis

Everyone is here, well except for Alexander Khovanov and Charles Antoine Lavallée, but don’t worry they’re coming. 

Last year the Cats brought in the veterans during the second week of camp, a decision that didn’t necessarily sit well with the masses.

Was the writing on the wall for some Wildcat veterans last year?

Definitely.

Nevertheless, this year is completely different and you could quickly tell there’s a different feel and intensity surrounding this year’s camp.

Fired Up

John Torchetti can finally leave his mark on Moncton Wildcats. 

It was clear that things drastically changed on and off the ice after “Torch” took over in January.

Obviously, everyone was being evaluated, but it’s incredibly difficult to do that on the fly, mid season, not knowing the player’s tendencies, personalities and what drives them.

Torchetti did an admirable job under very trying circumstances getting the Cats to buy into his system while being caught up in the constant vacuum of “a win at all cost” philosophy.

I guess something’s will never change, but in this business, it’s all about the “W”.

You see everything is different heading into this training camp, new expectations, new roles and a few openings.

Day 1 was intense to say the least and it’s only going to get harder.

Daou who? 

If you didn’t know who Philippe Daoust is, you will soon find out!

Daoust was clearly one of, if not the most entertaining players on the ice during the second intrasquad game today. 

“I was actually really looking forward to getting on the ice today,” confessed Daoust.  “That’s where I feel most comfortable.” 

“It was great to skate at this level with the vets and get a feel for the speed of the game at this level. I really appreciate the opportunity that I have been given here with the Wildcats.” 

“They have been in touch with me for quite a while now and stuck with me throughout my last season, that meant a lot,” admitted the skilled center.

“It motivated me to work towards trying to earning a spot here hopefully.” 

The 17-year-old possesses incredible skill and is a dynamic player in 1-1 situations.

He’s creative and relentless on the both sides of the puck, which is a rare combination to say the least. 

It’s only the first day, but this kid has a legitimate chance of cracking the roster. “I will definitely continue to build on the work I put in the gym this summer and focus on foot speed shooting and conditioning because the game is so much faster and the players stronger,” said Daoust of the areas he’s focused on improving during camp and beyond.

Daoust is solid in the dot, and is very accountable defensively. 

The young center didn’t back down or avoid the dirty areas of the ice, if anything he welcomed it. Daoust showed tremendous poise with the puck in high traffic areas and is also a very skilled playmaker. 

Ok, I know it’s only Day 1, but this kid can flat out play. 

The shifty skilled center has fantastic edges and very deceptive linear speed to the outside as well.

From what I’m told, he’s grown a lot over the past few years, but quite frankly I don’t give a rats ass how big he is, the kid can play.

If you can play, you can play, and Philippe Dauost can certainly do that! 

“Having been the smaller guy for most of my hockey years, I always did use that as motivation to show everyone that size is only one aspect of the player.” 

“I couldn’t control my size, so I focused on all the other things that it takes to play the game and that I could control.” 

Control what you can control, Philippe Daoust controls the game whenever he has the puck on his stick.

Clearly, he’s not a bottom six guy, anyone would know that, but he’s very versatile and can play up or down your lineup, which in my opinion that Wildcats could certainly use. 

Phillipe Daoust has gamebreaker tendencies and that’s certainly someone that you would like to look down the bench and tap on the back to go over the boards.  

Daoust is the type of player that the puck just follows him and when he has it on his stick great things usually happen.

It’s early, but we shall see how he handles the physicality as camp goes on, but for right now he’s a player to watch for.

Get used to saying his name, it’s not Daou who? anymore, its Phillipe Daoust and he’s one hell of a hockey player.

Eye in the Sky 

You should probably know the Wildcats Scout responsible for finding Daoust. 

Bilodeau, Ismael Bilodeau, 

Oh yeah he has a license to scout! 

It’s early, but it would appear Ismael Bilodeau found another gem for the Cats.

So you want to talk scouting and projecting talent, you talk that guy.

Ismael has done a fantastic job in his tenure with the Cats. 

Tristan De Jong and Phillipe Daoust, yup both free agents, both had opportunities with other CHL teams, and both making significant impressions so far with the Cats.

De Jong stepped in and played significant minutes last season and showed very well.

Oh, by the way you can ask Ismael how many games he watched last year, you probably won’t believe the number, but it’s true. 

Bilodeau, Ismael Bilodeau, that’s his name and he’s going places in the scouting game. 

Wildcat Notables

There were a lot of players that jumped off the page today again it’s early, but…….

Jeremy Berube had a solid outing on the backend, Manuel Alberg showed some flashes of offensive brilliance while a few other young defencemen also caught the eye.

Nicolas Pavan, Charles-Antoine Pilote and Logan Nutbrown all had strong outings today. 

Francis Langlois showed well yet again. 

Langlois is coming off an outstanding camp with the Cats last season. 

The gritty skilled winger grew two inches since that time and is a lot stronger and faster. 

Look for Langlois to get a longer look this season.  

Francis Langlois is another player to keep an eye on as the camp goes on. 

As for the veterans, well just put it this way, they understand and respect the expectations.

There was no coasting out there from the vets today, they know that the Torch is watching and is going to keep them on their toes and accountable. 

Keep it locked right here for more updates throughout Wildcats Training Camp. 

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