FC’s Scout Series: Brian Huddle (OHL)
Future Considerations’ Ontario Hockey League correspondent and scout Brian Huddle gives his thoughts on who from the 2012 NHL Entry Draft class left him impressed, who disappointed and who his sleeper is on draft day.
For the majority of the season, my eyes were drawn to Radek Faksa on any given night in Kitchener. Not only because he was one of the biggest Rangers on any given night, but because of the improved play in his OHL rookie season from my first game to my last seeing him.
Initially, Faksa looked tentative offensively, going to the perimeter and seemingly content to touch the puck in the play. His size really never seemed like a factor beyond the obvious reach advantage. I was already aware of his maturity defensively, but the offense left me wanting more. Within a couple weeks, Faksa was inserting his physical dominance with huge hits and was taking the puck to scoring areas on shear strength. He could dominate a game offensively from down low.
Despite the obvious wear that he showed in the playoffs following a concussion, Faksa showed progression each viewing until then, bringing new tools to his offensive arsenal. Coming back healthy next season, it’ll really be interesting to see what a summer of workouts and a second go at the Ontario Hockey League brings for Faksa.
Another name from Kitchener, the once-highly touted Matia Marcantuoni disappointed in viewings this season. Obviously the Toronto, ON. product was unable to get into the lineup as much as he’d like to have with multiple injuries – including a concussion – but when he was he stopped showing the things that made him so successful prior to junior.
Still possessing some of the best wheels in the OHL, Marcantuoni stopped driving to the net with authority as the season wore on. His game regressed to being content in low quality passes into the slot and curling back at the blue line, looking for a pass.
A couple months ago, Josh Anderson was not on the radar. Being buried on the fourth line of a deep London Knight team will do that to anyone. However, Anderson has seen his stock rise to being a potential third or fourth round selection in a couple of weeks.
What made Anderson catch my eye wasn’t production, but more so the tendencies to wanting to do the right thing. Despite a wiry frame that he’ll need to bulk on (hello, Gary Roberts!), Anderson was at his best when he dropped his shoulder and carried the puck to the net with a real authority, creating some havoc or even scoring. He’s got the nice tools to go with that; speed in his stride, a projectable frame, good understanding of the game and a heavy shot. As he gets bigger and stronger, and is able to impose his will on defenders, we could see one of the better players from this draft class develop before our eyes.