Every season, scouts from Future Considerations spend countless hours gathering information on the next wave of NHL talent coming down the pipe. Future Considerations Ontario-based scout Joseph Aleong is no different.
Here is Aleong’s notebook for February.
Thomas Harley, D, Mississauga Steelheads, 6-3, 185, DOB 8-19-2001
Harley has turned into the most important player on the Steelheads with the team shipping out several veterans. A smart defender on the back end, Harley has good instincts and awareness of when to jump into the rush. Shows long, smooth strides with good agility and balance on his edges. Foot-speed has improved from the beginning of the year, allowing him to accelerate quicker and stick with opposing forwards better off the rush. Confident with the puck and makes a crisp initial breakout pass. Struggles at times to make a smart play under heavy pressure in his own zone, causing some bad turnovers. Shows advanced defensive awareness, with good gap control and knows how to use his long reach to his advantage. Good potential as an all-situations, smooth skating defender with two-way ability and size.
Mason Primeau, C, North Bay Battalion, 6-5, 205, DOB 7-28-2001
Primeau’s trade to North Bay has afforded him more minutes and a bigger opportunity to produce offensively. A big-bodied power center, Primeau’s skating stride can be clunky and slow to get going in the first few steps despite good top-end speed when he has room to skate. He possesses good stride power and strength on his skates, particularly in tight areas and physical play. Good offensive awareness, showing the ability to find soft spots in defensive coverage and use his size to create matchup problems in front of the opposing net. His puckhandling abilities are decent, but he seems to prefer to chip the puck in and forecheck rather than carry it from the neutral zone. Playing more with control of the puck and making plays rather than tracking it down on the forecheck would be a good step towards increasing his point totals. Defensively, he has shown improved zone coverage and is learning to use his long reach more to his advantage.
Blake Murray, C, Sudbury Wolves, 6-3, 185, DOB 7-5-2001
Murray hasn’t taken a noticeable step forward from his impressive rookie season, but has come on strong after a disappointing start to the season. He skates well for a big center, with powerful strides and a good, low stance. Foot-speed could be improved to increase quickness and acceleration, but his balance and strength are impressive when he’s engaged and motivated. Possesses solid puckhandling abilities and can be tough to handle when working on the cycle. He could stand to be more patient with the puck on the rush, rather than looking to dump and chase on most shifts. Heavy snap shot, but his release takes time and struggles to get clean shots off in high-danger areas. Effort and physical engagement varies from shift to shift, sometimes making his mark on the forecheck and causing turnovers on the cycle; other times he seems more of a passenger who doesn’t use his size to his advantage.