Posted by simon c on 2009 July 16日 Thursday
Islanders GM Garth Snow invited Kuji after he was contacted by his university. Maybe it’s not coincidence that he landed in Long Island, as the club is owned by the Chinese-American businessman Charles Wang.
While John Tavares, the number-one draft pick from Canada, is the undoubted poster boy at the Islanders evaluation camp, the club also reports on its website the “really impressing speed” of the small (172 cm, 5’8”) Japanese forward.
The 22-year-old had a good debut with the national team at the Division I tournament in Lithuania, last April, winning bronze and scoring two goals, one assist in five games.
And now he’s practising with the Islanders, whizzing around Tavares and other high-rated prospects, and giving autographs to kids attending the camp.
“After watching Kuji for two days, his skating and his overall skills are not a problem at this level,” said Japan head coach Mark Mahon, who visited his player in the camp. “It is his decision making as the play moves much faster then the University level in Japan. Also the limited time and space is a factor with larger players and a smaller ice surface, but he has handled himself very well and according to Islanders coach Scott Gordon he has fit in very well and is a very attentive player.”