From The Notebook: February 2016

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Every season Future Considerations’ scouts spend countless hours in rinks across North America and Europe in an effort to gather information on the next wave of NHL talent coming down the pipe. In this monthly column we will provide our readers with a few single scouting snapshots and some early impressions from game reports taken by our talented evaluators.

January 22nd, 2016 – Medicine Hat @ Vancouver (WHL) – D David Quenneville, Medicine Hat, 5’8, 180

“Probably the loudest guy on the ice for the Medicine Hat Tigers and maybe even out of both teams. He communicates well calling for the puck, but also has the trust of his partner to give him the puck in front of the net as forecheckers abound. He handles the puck with confidence and can make plays with it, terrific up-ice puck mover. Everything just tape to tape with a smooth release and he can absolutely just wire it cross-ice. He can handle a tough pass too with smooth reception and can control it without the need to dust it off. While his passing heading up is very good, he doesn’t have quite the same poise with his back to the play and can cough up the puck in the defensive zone. I noticed a couple sketchier passes to his wingers and even a couple giveaways in the corners in the defensive zone. He skates back on his heels and so will have his head and chest up looking to make plays. He had a habit tonight of dumping the puck a few feet of the red line and even iced it once doing this. Quenneville has an awesome release with his shot where his smooth pick up of the puck helps him get it off quickly and he just gets a ton of whip on his shot to be able to wire it (same with his passes).

“Defensively, while his stick is active, he sweeps too much with it and he doesn’t use it effectively to check opposing players; he needs to look for better placement. Quenneville could also improve his body positioning in the defensive zone because he doesn’t keep himself between his man round the perimeter and this could lead to some opportunities for the opposition. He needs better angles on his way to players in the defensive because of plays like that where they can exploit his smaller frame or his tripod with that wild stick checks. He does a good enough job getting a stick up in players around the net though; he doesn’t let their stick touch the ice. He has a smooth stride and gains ice with his crossovers nicely. He doesn’t seem to have a big top gear, but he’s smooth accelerating and has a nice gear in that range. He looks to be a smooth, deceptive skater. All in all he lacks the top defensive habits of a two-way, but could be taught as it’s not a question of skill with him (also his size is probably a factor, but he’s not a shrimp by any means). I would look for him probably in the middle rounds, he’s more of a puck mover than a dynamic defenseman.”

Luke Tully

December 5, 2015 – TPS U20 @ Kärpät U20 (Jr. A SM-liiga) – RW Markus Nurmi, TPS U20, 6-3, 170

“Nurmi played a big role in TPS’s win against Kärpät with his two-way type of game. He had lots of ice time, both in power play and 5-on-5 and always contributed while being on the ice. Nurmi set his defensive role as a priority, as he often teamed up with his defenders in tricky situations to steal the puck, and he played more of a centre-role in his defensive style of play. Although he is pretty light weighted compared to his height, Nurmi used his size as an advantage in gritty situations along the board, as well as checking his opponents. His defensive play was very aggressive, as he both tried to check the puck carrier, as well as using his stick to try and reach the puck. For being a bigger player, Markus Nurmi proved to have a rather decent skating speed and an excellent mobility. He would often skate with the puck and use his mobility to get passed opponents and protected the puck with his long stick and great balance. He could get too adventurous with the puck and instead lose it while transporting it inside the offensive blue line. Nurmi was creative with the puck from time to time, but mostly during the power play opportunities where he had more open ice to try some moves. In the offensive zone, you could see that Nurmi has a great passing ability, as he easily found open ice to his teammates and he was not afraid to make harder passes.

“He would use his sharp and rapid passes to get the puck to his defenders on the blue line with a longer pass. He tried to shoot inside the faceoff circle, which was where he scored his goal with a quick and low wrist shot right inside the post. Nurmi’s hockey sense was great, both offensively and defensively. He did most of the time smart decisions with the puck, especially in the defensive zone where he saw their upcoming play and reacted excellent to the situation, which made his team get a counter attack. When receiving the puck in the defensive zone, Nurmi would make a quick pass to a teammate to start up the play, or pass the puck back to his defenders if no better option was given. I believe that Nurmi can become an excellent NHL player if he puts on some weight and strength. He certainly has the potential to become a decent two-way forward.”

Jonathan Luomala

January 23, 2016 – Quebec @ Gatineau (QMJHL) – C/LW Matthew Boucher, Quebec, 5-9, 175

“Played a line with a pair of undrafted forwards in Bronson Beaton and Louis-Filip Cote. He wears an ‘A’ for the Remparts in his draft year. Responsible defensively and positionally, stepped in between two defenders to receive a breakaway pass that he put off of Grametbauer’s shoulder. He has a wide base to his stride. Boucher works hard and fast to pursue the puck carrier and get back into the play defensively. Tends to skate with the ‘pitch-fork’ without the puck when he’s hustling — inefficient. Received a bouncing pass for another shot on goal late in the period. Takes really quick shifts, doesn’t linger looking for a play.

“He jumps from a standstill to accelerate. Stayed on for nearly the entirety of an early power play before taking a holding penalty. Quick hands and he’s decisive with the puck, doesn’t hang onto it too long. Plays the penalty kill and sits fourth in the QMJHL in shorthanded goals with four. Gets a lot of pucks on net, sits fifth in the QMJHL in shots on goal (approaching 200). Active communicator on the penalty kill, directs linemates where to be and wins battles by getting inside track on opposing players and lifting their sticks. Could be seen banging his stick against the bench in frustration after missing a chance in the slot late in the second period. Shocked he was left off of NHL Central Scouting’s midterm ranking among North American players. Leads a low-scoring Quebec team in scoring and sits 14th in the QMJHL in goals with 28. Worth taking in the middle rounds of the draft — could be a potential steal.”

Scott Wheeler

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