One of the biggest events in the scouting community, the annual CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game offers an opportunity to see some of the top junior talent available for the NHL Draft.
And while one-off games aren’t necessarily the most ideal scouting situation, the event offers much in the way of being able to compare player fundamentals. Some players shine while others lose their lustre just a little bit. Team Cherry came out of the tilt with a 3-0 defeat, but not all was lost for the team, according to Future Considerations scout Josh Deitell, who was in attendance in Halifax.
Zachary Fucale, Halifax, QMJHL
Not a bad game, but did lose his positioning on one of the goals against. Was bombarded and did not get a whole lot of help from his team during what seemed like wave after wave of odd man breaks against. Did make some incredible saves keeping his side in the game early on.
Tristan Jarry, Edmonton, WHL
Came in the game in the second in relief of Fucale and was phenomenal stoning the competition with his good lateral quickness and some luck as well. His puck skills and ability to handle the biscuit were also a breath of fresh air as today’s young puck stoppers rarely get praised for this forgotten skill. His lack of exposure could see a NHL team get a real steal.
Samuel Morin, Rimouski, QMJHL
Huge wingspan and the ability to smother his opponent with it. He also showed more of his good mobility and willingness to play a strong two-way game. Look for him to gain confidence at some point this season and make a lot more noise in the offensive zone. He is also just scratching the surface of a physical game as well. He was looking for a dance partner in Halifax but no one would oblige him.
Darnell Nurse, Sault Ste. Marie, OHL
Incredible blend of size, skating, strength and defensive smarts. He was a real beast and has the look of a future top tandem two-way physical blue liner. Was almost impossible to beat one-on-one as he out-muscled and out smarted opponents who dare try all night. A real riser as his potential is sky high.
Jordan Subban, Belleville Bulls, OHL
Took the puck and rushed it up ice every chance he saw just as he has done all season in Belleville. Showed everyone that he can be elusive and that his size is not as big of an obstacle as some had presumed. His defensive play and lack of strength however was still evident as he was pushed around in his own end.
Ryan Hartman, Plymouth, OHL
Jumped out to a quick hard hitting start in Halifax and was a thorn in the side of Team Orr’s players all night. Winning teams have those kind of players who are hard to play against and Hartman is nasty with his hitting, chirping and ability to chip in offensively. Dropped the gloves and stood up for himself in this game as well. Love his constantly churning motor and drive.
“Really set the physical tone and tempo early on with a couple huge hits and a scrap. Settled down after but showed that he can be a game-changer ala Tom Wilson.”
– Josh Deitell.
Nathan MacKinnon, Halifax, QMJHL
The incredible skating and acceleration was on full display as MacKinnon flew up and down the ice. Because of an obvious disconnect with his line mates in the game, Nathan was not overly effective creating scoring opportunities. His skating is plus level and he can be hard to stop but Team Orr’s defenders did an admiral job on containing him to the outside in this contest.
“Not bad necessarily, but outside of one flashy end-to-end rush, he didn’t really stand out all that much. I think a lot of the guys on the other team were keyed in on him. Didn’t have a lot of room to work with.”
– Josh Deitell.
Jonathan Drouin, Halifax, QMJHL
A disappointing viewing of Drouin after a bunch of impressive showings this season. This is the case where a bad showing at this event will not influence a prospects draft ranking as we have seen all the impressive skills and abilities this kid has over the past few months.
“Drouin tried to do too much with the puck. I don’t know if he was trying to put on a show for the home fans or for the scouts, and obviously his talent was noticeable, but it would’ve been nice to see him use his teammates. He looked a lot better in the Mooseheads game against Quebec a couple nights after.”
– Josh Deitell.
Anthony Mantha, Val-d’Or, QMJHL
A strong prospect that has many enviable tools – such as the size, skating and a very dangerous shot to make everyone take notice – but in this game he looked lost on many shifts. You wonder if he is destined to be another in a long line of those ‘possesses all the tools but not the tool box’ type of prospect. He was blown up on a couple hits as his head was down looking at the puck and despite his impressive physical tools, failed to create much offensively.
Valentin Zykov, Baie-Comeau, QMJHL
A prospect worth falling in love with this prospect and his pro upside. He is skilled, has great strength, and uses it to his advantage. Zykov was most effective working the wall with that strength, winning the battle for the puck and then powering to the net for a chance which he did on a couple occasions.
Frederik Gauthier, Rimouski, QMJHL
Played a responsible game in both zones as he was strong on the draw all night and displayed good body positioning. Used his size and reach to disrupt and while he did not show much flash in this game we have been very impressed with his developing two-way game.