Future Considerations’ WHL scout Zenon Herasymiuk gives his thoughts on who from the 2013 NHL Draft class left him impressed, who disappointed and who his sleeper is on draft day.
To go even deeper into the draft class, pick up Future Considerations’ 2013 NHL Draft Guide.
Spending the season scouring the Western Hockey League, catching Canada’s World Junior camp and closing out the season at the Memorial Cup, there were a lot of candidates for me in all three designated areas of the Scout Series.
And in my journeys, a player that never failed to impress was Prince Albert Raiders defenseman Josh Morrissey.
The first thing that stands out when watching Morrissey play is his effortless skating ability and his fearlessness in using it in a multitude of situations. He frequently blows past players in the neutral zone and uses his excellent footwork to shorten his passes and take meaningful ice on the breakout. His hockey sense is elite as he always seems to make quick, yet calculated decisions. Morrissey is one of the best power play quarterbacks in the entire draft class with his smarts, anticipation, and point producing tools.
He has a bit of room to improve defensively, but is still very effective because of his athleticism and surprising physical edge. He isn’t afraid to knock heads with guys in the corners and holds his own in front of the net with good timing and willingness to battle.
I feel that Morrissey is truly a one-of-a-kind defenseman. He is dynamic, competitive, and has a ton of character. While others have concerns about his size and ability to defend at the NHL level, I have little doubt that Morrissey will be an impact NHLer in a few years time.
One guy that was never really able to assert himself as a good prospect in my books was Victoria Royals defenseman Keegan Kanzig.
Coming into the year, Kanzig was regarded as a possible top-60 pick because of his size and physicality. He is truly one of the biggest hockey players I have ever had the chance to see. Just by standing on the ice he strikes fear in opposing teams.
Unfortunately he didn’t show the manoeuvrability to be able to use his physicality on a consistent basis. Other than using his size to occasionally block a shot or smother a forward in the corner, Kanzig was not as effective as he could have been in all other areas of the game. He is a bit clumsy with the puck and he struggles with faster forwards off the rush. Kanzig doesn’t have the best hockey sense and takes his fair share of bad penalties also.
Kanzig still has a ton of upside given how unpolished his game is. He is a heavyweight fighter that can throw them as good as anyone. His game just doesn’t project well at this point. Given how much potential he has, it is unfortunate that he hasn’t been able to make it work yet.
While he isn’t a sleeper in my books, Red Deer Rebels defenseman Kayle Doetzel is a guy that more people should be paying attention to.
Doetzel isn’t the biggest, fastest, or strongest player in the draft class, but he is certainly one of the most consistent defenseman in his age group. Every time he steps on the ice you know you are getting 45 seconds of shutdown. I call his game “politely mean”. He doesn’t go out of his way looking for trouble, but when given the opportunity to eliminate an opposing threat he will willingly paste someone to the boards with a strong, clean check. He is a very good skater for his size with solid straight line speed to close gaps and good agility to patrol the defensive zone.
Doetzel doesn’t get involved too much on the offensive side, but he makes a good first pass and uses his smarts to avoid turnovers.
Doetzel works hard and doesn’t go around looking for glory. He is just an unspectacular defenseman that gets the job done. He is a very mature player and I think he is underrated by many because of his boring style of play. Doetzel is good player now, yet he has a little room to improve in quite a few areas. When he able to pull it all together, he will be a scary defenseman and true gem for an NHL team.