Fossum Notebook: January 2018

Special To FC2018 Draft Center, From The Notebook, WHL

Photo by Steve Hiscock | Saskatoon Blades

Every season, scouts from Future Considerations spend countless hours in rinks across the world in an effort to gather information on the next wave of NHL talent coming down the pipe. Future Considerations’ Western-based scout Logan Fossum is no different.

Here is Fossum’s notebook from the month of January.

Ryan Chyzowski, LW/C, Medicine Hat Tigers, 6-1, 180, DOB 05.14.2000
Medicine Hat Tigers 3 @ Saskatoon Blades 2 (WHL) January 10, 2018

Chyzowski possesses all of the tools necessary to be successful at the next level. He can fly up and down the ice and has quick boots for lateral movement. His internal motor has always been running at a high level and he doesn’t take any shifts off. Chyzowski doesn’t punish anyone with his physical play — he will lean into you on the boards, but don’t expect any major open ice collisions. His play with the puck is improving as the season progresses, as he isn’t afraid to let his impressive shot go, and he’s been making that extra move with more success and more often. He holds onto the puck for longer periods of time and doesn’t rush nearly as much with his decision-making. Holding the puck on the half-wall, he doesn’t force the pass through the penalty kill like he did on a number of times, he takes that shot to the net and it causes havoc. Having next to zero shot attempts in their first meeting, Chyzowski had next to 10 in this one — five of which hit the net. It was this kind of attacking of the net that made Ryan so dangerous all night. The confidence in his moves and his decision-making had defenders on their heels as Chyzowski was buzzing around the Blades net. The Kamloops native’s skating really impressed me on Wednesday. It could have been partially due to the Tigers pace of play, but Chyzowski was moving very quickly. Not only was his foot-speed impressive, but so was his edgework below the goal line, and the momentum he had flying through the neutral zone carrying the puck. Seeing this kind of improvement in something so foundational is a good sign for both Ryan and teams that have their eye on him.

Chase Wouters, C, Saskatoon Blades, 6-0, 179, DOB 02.08.2000
Regina Pats 3 @ Saskatoon Blades 4 (WHL) January 20, 2018

Clocking in at well over a point per game since Christmas, Wouters has officially found his game. Nearly doubling his point total from last year in the same amount of games, the Lloydminster product has found his scoring touch in the last few weeks, including an important goal against Saskatoon’s long-time rival Regina. Playing in all situations, Wouters’ confidence has grown greatly over the course of the season. Becoming less hesitant with the puck has added a dangerous offensive dynamic and that is a large reason why he’s finding the score sheet more often. An example of this was his goal Saturday evening, receiving a cross-ice pass from Braylon Shmyr, and one-timing the puck into the top of the net. He had a dangerous chance in the second period where I felt it should have been able to put the puck over the sprawling netminder, but he had missed. This lack of hesitation and growing confidence is leading to Wouters developing into a much greater offensive threat. The right-handed center still plays a very downhill brand of hockey. He skates very well at top speed and has been known to punish defenders on the forecheck for not moving the puck quickly enough. He is very versatile in this respect as he can be put out when you need a goal, defend the lead, or create some energy. His speed is an asset in all of these areas and he uses it well. With Wouters continuing to round out his game and further develop his versatility as a forward, he is continuing to turn the heads of fans and scouts.

Eric Florchuk, C, Saskatoon Blades, 6-1, 173, DOB 01.10.2000
Regina Pats 3 @ Saskatoon Blades 4 (WHL) – January 20, 2018

Scoring two goals in a come from behind effort in a divisional game was quite the way to pot your first goals with your new team. Florchuk, a lanky center, displayed impressive offensive instincts around the net and showed elite finish on both occasions he put the puck to twine. On his first goal of the game, he rushed the defender and blocked his shot causing the puck to ricochet into Regina’s zone. He outskated the back-checking players and pulled the puck from the bottom of the circle on his strong side all the way to the top of the crease opening the five-hole where he slid the puck. Showing poise, patience and finesse with the puck, Florchuk buried a beauty for his first with his new team. Displaying some of the same skills on the overtime winner, Florchuk beat his man in three on three from the blue line to the net where he tapped in a fifty-foot saucer pass into the top shelf. It was this elite finish that helped find Florchuk a spot at the CHL’s top prospect game. Florchuk is dangerous with the puck. He possesses a very smooth stick handling ability that can elude defenders, all while he’s looking for lanes to pass through and create plays. He uses his speed and size to keep defenders back and create space for himself. Doing this, he possesses the puck a lot while on the ice, carries and paces the play. He isn’t an explosive skater, but he’s very smooth and controlled. If he can add some strength to the quality foot-speed and lateral movement he possesses, he will soon be a dominant scorer in the Western League. Eric’s defensive play is a work in progress. He’s often times in the right position but routinely is caught puck watching which can put him half a step behind the play. He’s fortunate he’s got fantastic reach and good feet underneath him, or else he’d find himself in more trouble in his own zone.