March Notebook: Froese

Special To FC2019 Draft Center, From The Notebook, WHL

Photo by Robert Murray | WHL

Every season, scouts from Future Considerations spend countless hours gathering information on the next wave of NHL talent coming down the pipe. Future Considerations Western head scout Justin Froese is no different.

Here is Froese’s notebook for February.

Brayden Tracey, RW, Moose Jaw, 6-0, 174, 5-28-2001
The dream season continues for the upstart 17-year-old rookie. Tracey is a noticeable player offensively from the drop of the puck and is prevalent on the ice. The best way to sum up Tracey is that he is a raw slate of a player who has cerebral aspects to his game and a ton of room to grow. His skating is a slight concern at this point as overall he needs to be really picky with how he advances on the defense as his speed, footwork and power is not yet a prevalent asset. He has a bit of a wobble in his stride as he extends in his stride and even though he can make some quick breaks, he often seems to blend into play but has elusive aspects that allow him to be slippery and avoid contact consistently. He is excellent with his stick and great at reading plays and sensing when he needs to put play into motion and uses strong control and quickness to weave around coverage. His passing game and his ability to make a play without dusting the puck or holding and drawing coverage away from his man before laying the puck on thick is worth noting. His shot also benefits from being deceptive and quick, and he is excellent at changing shooting angles quickly to pick corners or impede sight. The back side of his game needs some work. He’s a thinker and an opportunist. He lacks physical elements and is seldom the first guy in on pucks but possesses a good stick and makes heady plays should he get the puck.

Alex Newhook, C, Victoria (BCHL), 5-11, 190, 1-28-2001
Newhook just wrapped up the BCHL’s scoring title with a cool 102-point campaign, but seemed to just be heads and shoulders above talent-wise for this tier and looked disinterested and unmotivated most of the year. The last month or so and in the first two games of this series, Newhook has really started to blow the doors off and showed a pace and level of commitment compatible with all levels. His skating ability aids his 200-foot game and it was on full display as he was pacing play all night and has a gear that is unparalleled. Not only that, but his edge work and ability to balance and generate high end speed while pivoting and moving laterally to elude and dance around opponents was among the best in the class. His IQ is sky high and not only was he dominant with how creative and proactive he was offensively, but he is on opponents when he wasn’t carrying the puck, and was a wolf in sheep’s clothes with his ability to mask intentions and then go for the jugular in any position. He doesn’t often overanalyze plays and get caught with the puck on his stick as he knows what he is going to do well in advance and just needs a teammate to be ready and able to field his passes, which in this game were pristine and delivered with eye-popping consistency. He never seemingly got caught trying to do much in this game or run himself out of space as his puck management and skill showcased with just on another level and he was an absolute maniac with how dangerous he was consistently on the rush and around the net. His stick is active and his head is on a swivel and he is able to force plenty of turnovers, and used his speed to quickly counterattack and slip past defenders as they reeled back. He’s got a bit of jam to his physical game but not a ton besides the routine hits he doles out and muscular endurance and grittiness displayed in battles. It will be interesting to see if he can keep up this pace.

Kaeden Korczak, D, Kelowna, 6-3, 188, 1-29-2001
Korczak is not a game-changing type player, but his presence breeds confidence from his coach and he makes consistently strong plays and manages the game with a lot of ice to work with. He skates with power and speed for a big frame and works well laterally and provides an impressive level of quickness that allows him to accelerate and spin off of pressure and skate pucks up ice if he’s got some daylight. He thinks the game very well and is a strong puck mover who manages the puck well to a point and can deceive oncomers with a quick move and then a quick distribution. Was fairly consistent at finding men in stride and was also effective playing in the offensive zone, finding stronger options for his teammates and keeping mobile at the point to open up lanes. He’s a pure volume shooter who looks for rebounds and likes to flood the net with low quick wrist shots and is good at setting up lanes and getting pucks of his stick upon reception. Not a really captivating presence with the puck but has a large range, smooth in his approach and controlled in his approach. Really like what he can do in his own zone and brings a big body and active stick to the forefront, but it’s his IQ that allows him to be as effective as he is. Needs to keep on the balls of his feet to be effective but does well in gaps, and is an opportunistic hunter if he sees an option to separate a body from a puck. Workhorse at the net and below the line. Korczak is not going to wow anyone as a pro but has a mid pairing upside and potential to be a secondary contributor.