Future Considerations’ Quebec-based scout Guillaume Gervais gives his thoughts on who from the 2015 NHL Draft class left him impressed, who disappointed and who his sleeper is on draft day.
A lot of players impressed, but one who stood out for me was mid-size defenseman from Gatineau, Alexandre Carrier. This kid can do-it-all. What impressed me the most from him was his way to play heavy minutes and still being as good at the end of the game as he was at the start of it. If you watched him play you probably know how smart Carrier is on the ice. In fact he is one the smartest, if not the smartest defenseman that I’ve seen this year.
Decision making are quick and rarely will he take a bad decision. He will either make a long breakout passes, keep it longer for more option or skate with it whenever he’s got space to do so. Without the puck, he will jump into rushes going straight for the net and create defensive collapse from opposing team. I saw him do that a lot this season and he scored a couple of times taking a rebound or receiving a pass in the slot. I saw him play in the last three years and his development is on the rise. Never did I thought that he would have had those kind of offensive stats this year because he only started to join rushes frequently or skating with the puck more this season.
During his first two years in the league he was more of a solid passing guy from the back end. Now that he took confidence in skating with the puck he can be a threat offensively. His size is the major concern from him as he is very light on his feet and also only 5-foot11. If only he could grow an inch or two and fill his frame more, he could become a solid top-four defenseman in the future with his high hockey IQ.
Now you’re probably wondering yourselves who was ranked high and drop a lot as the season went? Well lucky you, I’ll answer that question for you. Let me take you back two years ago, at the QMJHL draft. A kid name Nicolas Roy was selected first overall. Big, strong and skilled player who had all the tools to perform at the junior level. Sky was the limit for him at that time. He had a pretty decent year as a rookie and was one if not the best player coming from the QMJHL in several ranking at the start of this season, but as the year went on he was slipping and slipping on those several lists.
Roy had a tough start of the season. His team was not doing well either. He had all the chance to prove himself this year playing top-six minutes, power play minutes and also some penalty kill minutes in Chicoutimi. Then the Subway Super Series arrived, he was chosen to participate. Didn’t do well, being almost invisible. Then, the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game arrived and again he was almost nowhere to be seen except one of two flashes.
He started to play a bit better when his team made coaching changes, but he dropped so much before that that it was hard for him to climb back the rankings. He had a great showing at the Worlds Under-18 Championship at the end of the season though, displaying good puck protection, good defensive plays. He was more involved into plays in my opinion and had more confidence than what I saw from him earlier during the season.
All Thomas Chabot did this season was rising. Quickly, he became rated as a second rounder, then the month after he was already in the 1st round on some lists. With Zboril missing a couple of games because of injuries, Chabot was the guy to go for the Sea Dogs.
Chabot is a powerful smooth skating defenseman with the ability to skate with the puck and join rushes. In the offensive zone he can quarterback the power play with some great vision and decision making. He moves his feet a lot which helps him getting open or find an open teammate. While he is still young and that his defensive game can still be improved, he was really good in my viewing sticking with his man, reading and breaking other team’s offensive attacks.
His biggest strength is his skating and he’s the kind of defenseman you need these days for quick breakout as he will pass the puck in movement to shorten the distances of his passes. Chabot possess great tools and potential to be a top-four defenseman or even more in the pros. Don’t forget his name because he will probably be on Canada’s U20 squad sooner than later. Also, did I mention that he was 6-foot-2 and only 180 pounds, still has plenty of room to grow. A bright future’s ahead of him if he continues to improve like he did this year.