From The Notebook: January 2016

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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 readers with a few single scouting snapshots and some early impressions from actual game reports taken by our talented evaluators.

Jan. 8, 2016 – Prince Albert @ Brandon (WHL) – D Vojtech Budik, Prince Albert, 6′-1″, 185

“Rough night for the Raiders, but I thought Budik did his part to stop the bleeding. He does a good job of prioritizing tasks and shoring up his own end of the rink. He uses good angles in retrieving dump ins under pressure, faking usually to one side or another to free up his back or forehand so he can spin off the check and move the puck. He uses his quickness and lateral foot work to keep tabs on his opponent’s movements and keep them to the perimeter of the rink.

“He takes good angles to the body and prefers to use his strength to pin his man along the boards and digs in, rather than lay a hard hit to separate the puck. He’s a strategic thinker in his approach and uses his feet and stick to seal off pucks from going through him. He protects the net front and can get inside of his opponents bubble, although he’s not overly aggressive. This game saw him on the first defensive pairing and serving second unit power play and penalty kill duties. He had a few plays where he used his speed and skilled hands to show off his offensive awareness. He has a good long skating stride and doesn’t take long to generate speed, especially when he sees a hole, enabling him to lead the rush up ice. He passes the puck well and shows an ability to change speeds and choose accurate placement. Budik is smart about choosing when to get up into the play, stepping up to pinch on the point or using his stick to knock down attempted clears or breakout passes.

“He doesn’t have a great shot as he kind of just hurls the puck at the net. He uses shifty fake moves and quick stops and starts to get opponents to commit and then open up a shot or passing lane. He shows good mentality in the stability that he approaches the game in both sides of the ice. I don’t think he has top-end offensive capabilities but he does make timely plays when he needs to. His well-rounded game fits him into the third round of the draft.”

Justin Froese

Dec. 18, 2015 – Omaha @ Des Moines (USHL) – D Jacob Bryson, Omaha, 5′-9″, 180

“Bryson was the best defenseman for the Lancers in this contest, without question. He was effective on both the offensive and defensive side of the puck. Bryson’s stick work and ability to poke check was what stood out the most. He is an above average skater and displayed the ability to get back into correct position when he misplaying a puck at the offensive blue line.

“Bryson’s ability to join the rush was also present, but did not show on the score sheet. He showed that he has the ability to get pucks on net and challenge the goaltender, and was officially credited with one shot on net. It was very apparent that Bryson is an effective defenseman, as he was not on the ice for a goal against in a 6-4 loss. Bryson is a smaller framed defenseman who compensates his size with his mobility and stick play. He made it challenging for the Buccaneers to get around him on both blue lines, and forced multiple turnovers throughout the game.

“I would describe Bryson as a two-way defenseman, who has the ability to generate and create scoring chances, and is extremely solid and hard to beat on the back end. Bryson has the potential to help his future teams as a two-way defenseman and will likely be an immediate asset for teams in the near future. The only issues that I can see faulting his draft stock is his size, for that reasoning I see him getting his name called somewhere in the middle rounds.”

Jake VanBesien

Jan. 14, 2016 – Shawinigan @ Gatineau (QMJHL) – D Samuel Girard, Shawinigan, 5′-9″, 165

“Played on a pairing with fellow draft eligible defensemen Gabriel Sylvestre, whose reach and defensive zone presence complemented Girard’s up-tempo style. He is an excellent backwards skater who uses his edges to carve in on attacking forwards and close gaps off the rush to contain them. Nearly gave up a chance early in the game but boxed out his man in front of the net to allow the puck to be covered up. Protects the puck well with his feet in one-on-one battles to come away with it or kick it to a teammate.

“Quickly recognizes when the puck is loose and wins footraces to retrieve it. Was on for the first goal against of the game but Sylvestre lost track of his man on the play. Led one end-to-end give and go rush in the first period that was broken up as he circled the net and tried to find a teammate in front. Fluid skater, light on his feet on straightaways. Played on and off on the PK despite his size, trusted to play big minutes even after giving up an early goal. Uses his quickness to intercept passes that most players couldn’t get to — an aggressive defender with an active stick. Always has his head up, and exits the zone with a hard, accurate pass to find teammates in stride up ice.

“Not yet an excellent defender, but he controls the game and rarely gets exposed one-on-one. Doesn’t rush the play under pressure, allows him to make smart plays at the offensive zone blue line rather than putting it in deep for a 50/50 battle. Moves laterally on his inside edges to open himself up and find a shooting lane. Won a defensive zone battle that eventually led to the OT winner at the other end. Mature, cerebral player. Like him as a mid-to-late first round option.”

Scott Wheeler

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