With the World Junior Championship approaching and the World Junior A Challenge in full swing; Teddy Bear toss games along with other lower level showcases and tournaments filling up our December calendar, the hockey world is in full blown festive spirit.
The World Junior A Challenge in Kindersley, SK. has been a strong tournament with some top showings from high-end draft eligible talents that are not always in attendance at this annual event.
Impressing Future Consideration evaluators included Russian winger Denis Guryanov amongst others.
Scout Cody Nickolet was in attendance for two days’ worth of preliminary games in Kindersley taking notes and was very impressed with the young but physically impressive Guryanov.
“Big frame, skates well, plays a pro style game and has great offensive tools.” said Nickolet. “Was easily Russia’s best player at the event and I even heard some whispers about being a potential 1st rounder. He definitely has the skill set.”
While the young Russian was indeed impressive, he was not the only one to catch our attention.
Watch for a review of this event coming to Future Considerations soon.
WORLD JUNIORS IN THE SPOTLIGHT
The IIHF U20 World Junior Championship also looks to have a boatload of draft eligible talent to keep tabs on, including the top matchup of Connor McDavid versus Jack Eichel on New Year’s Eve in Montreal as both go head to head in the annual classic.
This year there are also a few high-end defenders such as Sweden’s Oliver Kylington, Ivan Provorov of Russia and American Noah Hanifin as ones to watch as they represent their respective countries.
Hulking forwards Pavel Zacha of the Czech Republic, Roope Hintz of Finland, Lawson Crouse of Canada and Timo Meier of Switzerland should also attract attention, as will smaller finesse forwards like Michael Spacek of the Czech Republic and Denis Malgin of Switzerland.
Watch for a preview of this events draft eligible talent coming to Future Considerations in the near future, too.
WHERE DID ALL THE DEPTH GO?
With our scouts getting multiple viewings on all ranked talent available by this time of year and with emails flying back and forth with regards to the Future Considerations’ December ranking, the depth of this draft class had to be re-evaluated.
The conclusion we came up with is that there does not look to be as much mid-to-late round talent to get excited about in the WHL, Sweden or USHL as we first thought. While we are still fired up about the top end guys in those leagues, our eyes in the rinks have been disappointed by more than a handful of once promising mid-level prospects.
Overall, there are more who are falling than those who are pushing their way up the board causing the 2015 NHL Draft to get downgraded a little from our initial view of this draft having amazing depth to now just looking slightly above average in that department.
There’s still plenty to debate in regards to positioning, though.
London’s Mitch Marner continues to shine and again has moved up the board as has Brandon’s Ivan Provorov and the U.S. National Development Teams Jeremy Bracco.
Falling down the ranking in our December list includes Brandon’s Ryan Pilon, who while putting up solid numbers offensively has our scouts questioning his projection, future role and upside at the next level.
Boston University power forward A.J. Greer, who has shown flashes of impressive projectable skill, has been far too inconsistent to keep inside a top 60 spot. Sioux City blueliner Ryan Zuhlsdorf has too shown glimpses of puck moving ability and solid defensive play but also many head scratching decisions on an almost nightly basis leading to more questions than answers.
The luxury for those players is there’s still plenty of hockey remaining on the docket.
Join me again next month as ‘Directors Cut’ continues to take a look at more NHL draft prospects and news.
Director of Scouting