Every season Future Considerations’ scouts spend countless hours in cold rinks across the globe in an effort to gather information on the next wave of NHL talent coming down the pipe.
In this monthly column we will provide our subscribers with a few single game snapshots and some early impressions from actual game reports taken by our talented evaluators.
March 12, 2015 – Team D @ Team B (2015 Beantown Spring Classic) – D McKay Flanagan, 6.0, 205
“Flanagan is primarily an offensive defenseman, but did not really show bad in the defensive zone. In his own zone, he ran around a little but was always quick to get back in position. He also showed he was willing to play the body, but did not engage too often. He has impressive mobility and showed the ability to seamlessly transition from forward to backwards. He also did not lose speed when the puck was on his stick. He did have a tendency to hold it a little long sometimes when rushing the puck, but for the most part, did a great job rushing the puck. I loved his ability to draw defenders towards him to free his teammates, and then dish it off to them. He saw the game well in that sense. I liked how he kept possession of the puck when forwards were pressing out hard on him at the point. He was able to make a quick move, maintain possession and free himself to be able to make a play. His shot may be his best weapon in the offensive zone. He gets off a quick wrist shot and it has a lot of zip to it. The best aspect of his shot is his ability to always move himself in a position to better get off a shot. Whether it is to avoid a block or step in to get closer, his head is always up and he is very meticulous about getting off the best shot possible.“
– Colin Mayberry
March 27 & 28, 2015 – Swift Current Broncos @ Regina Pats (WHL) – LW Jake DeBrusk, 6.0, 180
“This first set of games was good, but not great, for DeBrusk. While I liked his intensity, he seemed to be off his game a little bit as the Broncos dropped both game 1 and game 2 of the series. I liked his effort and drive in the offensive zone. He was flying around the zone with regularity in both games, driving lanes, getting to the net and being a real pain in the ass to handle. He was strong in front of the cage, using body position to try and find openings to get at loose pucks. He was also very good along the walls. He is slippery to pin and to hit when he’s on the cycle and also makes a difference with a very strong stick on when battling for loose pucks. While not being a killer when it comes to physical play, he did show a willingness to lay the body from time to time. He also showed off his shot a couple of times in the two games, really wiring a few wrist shots. He’s got a good release and a hard shot and should show a greater ability to score from range as he gets older and smarter. I still don’t see him as a great defensive player. He’s smart enough to be one, but at this point I just don’t see a huge amount of commitment from him on that side of the puck. The biggest thing for me in these two games was the play of Colby Williams for Regina. The Pats veteran was tasked with going head to head with DeBrusk and did a marvellous job. He was giving him stickwork any chance he got, banging him around and just being a difference maker in the tough areas. It really seemed to get under the skin of DeBrusk and it did seem to get him off his game. He wasn’t getting easy access to scoring areas and had to battle for every puck and every inch of ice. He didn’t look comfortable and didn’t produce a whole lot of chances, with no goals or assists in either game. It’s the most frustrated and “off his game” I’ve seen him this season so we’ll see if he can rebound with home-ice matchups in games 3 and 4. Overall I still see DeBrusk as a guy who has some value in the 25-35 range of the draft. I think his production is just too good to pass on as it is usually a good indicator of players who will be sure-fire NHLers, especially when it is hockey sense driven production.“
– Cody Nickolet
March 6, 2015 – Omaha @ Chicago (USHL) – D Dennis Gilbert, 6.2, 195
“Dennis started the game tonight. Had a strong first couple of shifts with great jump in his step. He has very strong offensive instincts and the first couple of shifts he wanted to get the offense going by rushing the puck up the ice. Dennis is very confident with the puck on his stick. He constantly has his head up either breaking out of his own zone, looking up ice to make an outlet pass or controlling the puck in any zone. Dennis has strong leadership abilities as seen by his constant communication on the ice as well as his “take charge” aura on the ice. He was communicating not only with his defense partner but also forwards. He quarter backed the power play rush up the ice. He also played on the PK throughout the game demonstrating his versatility and head for defensive responsibility and leadership. Along with his offensive instincts, he does have great hands. He made a sweet deke around their defenseman deep in the offensive zone in the first resulting in him getting a shot off. His toughness shouldn’t be questioned either as he was the first one to stick up for a teammate that was injured in a questionable hit by an Omaha player. Dennis has great size as well as a large wing span and a great reach. He used that to his advantage to poke check an Omaha winger at their blue line to prevent them from getting out of their zone in the first. However, he needs to use his long legs and long reach to close gaps faster. One instance in first period he waited a bit too long as he was already by the top of the slot before he made a move on the Omaha player which allowed him to get a shot on goal. Dennis was a little too close to his goalie and screened him trying but ultimately failing to block the shot. If he was out a bit higher in the slot he may have been able to get his stick on the puck or the shooter to block it. He used his big frame to protect the puck along the boards keeping the puck in the zone. Overall another strong game for Dennis, playing in all situations, and was a leader and contributor on the ice.“
– Doug Luken