August Notebook – Aleong

Aaron Vickers2020 Draft Center, From The Notebook, Tournaments & Events

Every season, scouts from Future Considerations spend countless hours gathering information on the next wave of NHL talent coming down the pipe. Future Considerations scout Joseph Aleong is no different.

Here is Aleong’s notebook for August.

Jamie Drysdale, D, 5-11, 165, 4-8-2002
Canada 3 @ Sweden 2 (SO) – Hlinka Gretzky Cup – August 9, 2019
Drysdale, Canada’s captain, looked mature beyond his years playing in all situations for his country. A smooth, agile skater, Drysdale lacks the elite speed of a special talent like Quinn Hughes, but more than makes up for it with his top-level balance and agility. Accelerates quickly and shows good transition speed to keep opposing players to the outside of the zone and maintain good gap control. Poised with the puck, Drysdale seems to prefer to move the puck with a crisp outlet pass but could stand to be more aggressive and utilize his puckhandling ability more often. Great vision with the puck in the offensive zone, doing a good job of reading the play and finding lanes to get the puck to the net. Drysdale is very impressive defensively for a smaller player, using an active stick and high IQ to conserve energy and force the play away from dangerous areas. Very good at reading the play and breaking up odd-man chances, as well as transitioning the puck out of his end and moving it before being pressured by forecheckers. Drysdale won’t make many spectacular plays, but he has been Canada’s most consistent defenseman and seems to find a way to make a positive impact no matter what role he’s thrust into.

Zion Nybeck, RW, 5-8, 176, 5-12-2002
Canada 3 @ Sweden 2 (SO) – Hlinka Gretzky Cup – August 9, 2019
Nybeck was one of Sweden’s more notable forwards throughout the tournament, as the Swedes were able to capture bronze despite missing two of their top players. Nybeck, despite his small stature, is a two-way buzzsaw that creates a tremendous amount of pressure on the puck and has the skill to finish from all over the offensive zone. Low skating stance gives him great power in his strides and good balance, helping him fight through physical contact and use leverage to get to the dangerous areas in the offensive zone. He has a quick release on his wrist shot and isn’t afraid to shoot from anywhere below the faceoff circles, but he seemed to lose power when he didn’t have time to set his feet. Tenacious on the puck, Nybeck has a good motor and is effective away from the puck due to his acceleration and good awareness. Defensively he is less of an impact player, but still works hard on the backcheck and is willing to support his defensemen further down in the defensive end. Obviously, gaining strength and filling out his small frame will be a deciding factor in whether he can continue to produce offense at higher levels of competition.

Vasili Ponomaryov, C, 6-0, 176, 3-13-2002
Finland 1 @ Russia 4 – Hlinka Gretzky Cup – August 9, 2019
While Ponomaryov started off the Hlinka Cup outside of a top scoring role, he quickly meshed with fellow 2020 top prospect Alex Pashin and was quickly moved into a prime offensive role. Ponomaryov is a terrific skater, with the ability to accelerate to top speed quickly thanks to good foot speed and advanced lower-body strength. He is confident and aggressive with the puck on his stick, showing good patience and the ability to use his strength to shield the puck and buy time for his teammates to find open space. Shows good offensive awareness, not rushing the play in the offensive zone and using his edges to maintain control in board battles. He shows a penchant for finding shooting lanes, using a lightning-like release to catch goaltenders off guard and not shying away from shooting all over the middle of the ice. Shows a good work ethic on the ice, including constant pressure on the forecheck and the hockey IQ to help on the backcheck and break up odd-man rushes. His vision on the ice makes him effective at the centre position for such a young player, leaving an impressive that he’ll be able to remain down the middle at higher levels of play. Could be a sneaky candidate to move up in the first round of the draft.