From The Notebook: February Edition

Special To FC2015 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 subscribers with a few single game snapshots and some early impressions from actual game reports taken by our talented evaluators.

February 11, 2015 – HIFK @ Blues (Jr. A SM-Liiga) – LW Kasper Bjorkqvist, 6.1, 185
“Björkqvist is one player who I have liked since the start of the year. He may not be the most talented or creative forward, but he does many things quite well. He was very active in the game, but needs to be stronger on the puck going forward. He didn’t always see the best option in situations and that seemed to hurt his games effectiveness at times. I thought he also suffered from having tunnel vision in certain situations where he just tried to get through the wing himself. When he managed to get the puck to the net, he was very dangerous. He shoots the puck dangerously with good accuracy and can also put the puck to the net from small angles. Björkqvist is a pretty solid skater with decent speed, but more agility would go a long way. I didn’t like the fact that he was constantly whining to referees after whistles. He is physical and works hard in every game, but I’m not sure how much high-end potential there is. I’m thinking that he might have a better chance to be drafted next year, though there are a lot of games left, including U20 playoffs.“

– Marco Bombino

February 13, 2015 – Victoria @ Kelowna (WHL) – RW Nick Merkley, 5.10, 187
“Just another strong game from Merkley. He looked engaged every shift and he did something noticeable every time he stepped on the ice. Had a quiet offensive first period, but he did throw a couple hard checks. Doesn’t show a ton of respect for guys out there, he just buzzes around and gets in peoples grill’s. Ended the night with two assists. Had no trouble circling the offensive zone with the puck and feathering passes around when an open lane presented itself. Good momentum generating footwork from a standstill; seems to have very powerful steps and gets up to a high speed quickly. Hard shot seems to be developing, more confident in throwing the puck on net and can beat goalies from distance. Might want to move him up our draft board a few spots, looked very good today and strikes me as the type of player that every team wants; hustle, heart, and skill.“

– Zenon Herasymiuk

February 9, 2015 – Philadelphia Junior Flyers @ New Jersey Rockets (EHL) – D Nick Fiorentino, 6.3, 185
“Fiorentino playing defense threw me for a bit of a loop because that last time I saw him, he played forward. He is a physical, offensive-minded defenseman. Watching him play, you can just tell that he is a converted forward though. He skates well, powerful in all directions. He is able to match oncoming forwards stride for stride, pivoting and turning backwards relatively easily. He is always looking to jump up in the rush, even if it means leaving the defensive zone earlier than he is supposed to. He loves to shoot the puck. It seemed like every time the puck was on his stick in the offensive zone, he was throwing the puck on net. With that said, he has the bad habit of burying his head when shooting the puck and strictly relying on the power of his shot. The part of his game that he really struggles with is the defensive play. Not a great thing for a defenseman to call a weakness. He really does not think the game well in the defensive zone. He leaves guys open by over-committing to other players. Watching him just made me think that he values defense secondary to the offensive side of the puck. He also needs to tone it down a bit physically. I love that he plays with sandpaper, but he makes it the focal point of his game too often, running around a bit too much looking to hit people. He needs to learn to control himself a little and be smarter physically. There is a fine line and he can cross over into being a detriment to his team pretty quickly. I think the tools are there to be a NHL prospect, but I am not sure if Fiorentino has shown me enough to convince me to draft him. I could see a team taking him late due to his raw potential, but I am not sure I would want to be the scout that recommends him.“

– Colin Mayberry