Every season, scouts from Future Considerations spend countless hours gathering information on the next wave of NHL talent coming down the pipe. Future Considerations’ scout Joseph Aelong is no different.
Here is Aleong’s notebook from the 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup.
Ryan Suzuki, C, Canada, 6-0, 171, 5.28.2001
Suzuki is a smooth skater, with short strides and a low posture that gives him good lateral agility and strong acceleration. Shows great vision with the puck, possessing it well under pressure and displaying patience in looking for the best passing outlet. Has a good shot, but defers to the pass too often and passes up decent shooting lanes to make the extra pass. One of the smartest players in his age group in terms of positioning in the offensive zone and knows how to find open teammates through traffic that many teammates wouldn’t be able to see. Heady defensive player who shows good awareness and hustle through the neutral zone, picking up trailing players and applying pressure to create turnovers. Supports his defenders well down low in the defensive zone and moves the puck quickly on the breakout. Elite vision and offensive tools tease a breakout year for the younger Suzuki brother.
Michael Vukojevic, D, Canada, 6-3, 212, 6.8.2001
Vukojevic is a deceptively fast skater who has long, powerful strides and a quick, compact first step to gain speed quickly. Jumps into the rush regularly, showing aggressive offensive instincts and driving the play out of his own end with ease. Decent puckhandler, making an accurate first pass and showing the confidence to carry it through the neutral zone to gain the offensive zone. Bomb of a shot from the point, but his slap shot can be wild at times. Quick windup and uncanny ability to find open lanes to get the puck to the front of the net. Extremely smart defensive player who exhibits top-notch gap control and a strong active stick to prevent shots from opposing players off the rush. Very strong for his age and is nasty in the corners, breaking up cycle plays with good timing and punishing opposing players who try to drive wide on him. Vukojevic shows very few holes in his game, and his offensive potential is very high if given the opportunity.
Arthur Kaliyev, LW, Team USA, 6-2, 190, 6-26-2001
Kaliyev has a good first step and decent straight-line speed, although his straight-up stance limits his top speed and agility in tight spaces. Great stickhandler for his size and uses his size well in corners to keep offensive plays alive and make defenders miss. A shoot-first player who shows great offensive awareness in finding open space to create a scoring chance. Tremendous shot for his age and uses a lightning-quick release to fool goaltenders and get quick shots off from anywhere in the offensive zone. Sometimes shoots when best option would be to pass, but his shot is heavy enough to create nice rebounds and loose pucks in the slot area. Isn’t overly physical, but can make a difference on the forecheck when he’s finishing checks. Defensively average, makes plays with his body and will step in front of point shots but isn’t a huge difference-maker in transition. Goal scoring threat from anywhere in the offensive end and finds ways to create chances on his own.