From The Notebook: March 2016

Special To FC2016 Draft Center, From The Notebook

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.

February 27, 2016 – Saint John @ Halifax (QMJHL) – D Luke Green, Saint John, 6’-1”, 185 Lbs

“Luke showed flashes of brilliance. His skating is very strong and he has fast feet that get him up to top speed very quickly. However, his balance seems a bit off. Early in the first period, he took an opportunity to rush the puck up from the defensive blue line — unprovoked he stumbled forward while he was accelerating. He also fell from contact a number of times throughout the game. On the PK, he had a number of foibles consecutively. He followed a man behind the net and got stuck. He was still behind the net by the time the puck got back to the point and shot on goal. Later that shift, he and his defensive partner, both standing in front at the sides of the net, missed the man in front of the net after a point shot, and the Halifax forward pounced on the rebound for a goal. His best defensive play came in the first period, when his teammate made a brutal giveaway at the offensive blue line. Green was caught flatfooted, but still reached top speed and caught up to the rushing Halifax forward. He was able to tie up the forward and did not take a penalty in doing so. It was an impressive defensive effort, and he used his speed to do it.

“Unfortunately, however, on another play he failed to get his stick between the net and the puck when a nearby opposing forward had the puck lined up for a shot. Luke isn’t always looking for the best defensive play. He doesn’t have a great stick, as many lanes to the net remain open. But again, he has tremendous skill and speed, which can often counter defensive gaps. He, on numerous occasions, was able to catch a clearing attempt along the boards by winning a race to the puck before it leaves the offensive zone. He also has the ability to rush up and turn the rush into a 3 on 2. He did so late in the second period, layering the attack and panicking the Mooseheads defense into poor coverage. The play gave Luke’s teammate a clear shot and led to a goal. Finally, while he fell from contact a couple times throughout the game, Luke also landed a strong hit in the third period. At 6-foot-2, he has a large frame and the ability to put on more weight. While I expected more offensive production by the first-overall pick in a QMJHL draft, he plays behind a hell of a defensive core in Saint John and doesn’t get much power play time. He is playing behind Zboril and Chabot, partnered with overager Matt Murphy. On the power play, the Sea Dogs use Smallman, a forward, on the point. He has an excellent group of defense in front of him against whom he has to compete for ice time. Luke’s development stagnated to an extent this season, but understanding the context on his team, he could still be quite a player.”

Dillon Beaulne

March 2-6, 2016 – Minnesota High School State Tournament – D Tyler Jette, Farmington, 6’-4”, 191 Lbs

“With a pro frame, Jette was the most intriguing NHL draft eligible prospect at the state tournament. Playing on a lesser team, there was a lot asked of him this year. And to lead Farmington to a surprising state tournament appearance after 3 wins over a talented Lakeville North team is a heck of an accomplishment. Jette is a solid all-around defenseman who has pro upside, though will never be a game-breaking type of guy. He moves very well for his size. He stops and starts and changes directions effortlessly. The only concern I have in his mobility is with his backwards crossovers. He quarterbacks the power play and is able to find seams very well. He is, however, a bit too conservative and needs to shoot the puck more. When the score got out of hand and the game opened up late, he was able to show off his skill a bit more. For me, he is the second Minnesota high school defenseman for the draft, after Staum who has more upside. Jette has a higher floor than Staum does though. I’d slot Jette around the sixth round for me. He is uncommitted, though his USHL rights are owned by the Bloomington Thunder and his WHL rights are owned by the Tri-Cities Americans.”

George Ross

March 5, 2016 – MODO J20 @ AIK J20 (J20 SuperElit Top 10) – LW Tim Wahlgren, MODO J20, 6-0, 181 Lbs

“Wahlgren had lots of ice time and contributed a lot of success on the ice. With his great mobility that he often used with his skating to quickly change direction and get passed opponents, he was a player hard to stop. He had great puck control and used it with his vision to find his teammates on the ice. Wahlgren preferred passing the puck over shooting himself. He had the ability to see the upcoming plays and directed his power play formation from the blue line. He was very calm with the puck and did not make any poor decisions. He had no problems with short ranged passes nor long ranged passes and timed them so that the passes did not get blocked. His team struggled scoring the first period, but he set up his teammates with several chances. Wahlgren also proved that he can accept passes and has a good wrist shot. He came with his teammates in a 2 on 1 situation, where he received the puck and sniped the puck up top, leaving the opposing goaltender clueless. He shot rather quick after receiving the puck and shot from the faceoff circle. Wahlgren did not play rather physical, as he used his skating and puck skills to try and reach for the puck. Wahlgren has a good hockey sense. He had the ability to read the opposing team’s upcoming plays and intercepted the puck well, where he directly laid a saucer pass over the opponent’s stick to set up his teammate on a breakaway. He knew where he had his teammates on the ice and often took advantage of it. Although he plays more offensive hockey, he had no problem covering for his defensemen and helping them out in situations where they needed help. He would often help them in gritty areas in the defensive zone to try and reach for the puck and set up a counter attack. He handled his own defensive responsibility good and marked the opposing defender.”

Jonathan Luomala