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 game snapshots and some early impressions from actual game reports taken by our talented evaluators.
October 24, 2014 – Cedar Rapids @ Chicago – RW Tanner Laczynski, 6-0, 180
“I was very impressed the first time I saw Tanner play last week. He’s got the size and skill to be a good second or third line winger. In this game he played some center and was pretty good in the faceoff dot winning the majority of his draws. Along the boards he continued his strong play and using his frame to protect the puck from opposing players. In this game he showed tremendous patience with the puck, specifically on a 3 on 1 in the first period. He made a slick toe drag move around the defenseman and then made a sweet pass across the ice for a scoring chance. The play didn’t lead to a goal but it showed that Tanner was a guy who’s dangerous if you don’t check him tightly. He played the right point on the first power play unit in this game, which I don’t think he did in the first game I saw him. He picked up an assist on the Steel’s power play tally in the first. On the offensive side he’s got a lot of the tools to be successful – he displayed a quick release and a hard shot as well and he seems to be always sniffing out the puck when he’s on the ice. Always engaged in the play and looking to make things happen. He’s responsible defensively as well – I never seem him coast back up the ice – he’s always working hard at both ends.”
– Douglas Luken
October 24, 2014 – Erie @ Sault Ste. Marie – C Connor McDavid, 6-1, 190
“What a talent. McDavid is the best player I have seen at this level since John Tavares. His skating is superb, he has hands that could make Datsyuk jealous, and reads and reacts to the game like a 20 year NHL vet. McDavid can simply make anyone around him better. He has the ability to find players in position to score with his incredibly accurate passing ability. He can also be a finisher when the time arises. Over the course of most of the game, Darnell Nurse, one of the OHL’s best defenseman, was given the task to shut down McDavid, but even if you shut down his finishing ability, he can still set up his teammates with beautiful passes that have no business being made. On more than one occasion, McDavid out battled Nurse for loose pucks, and along the boards, and made the Oilers first round pick look ordinary. McDavid’s smart, elusive, creative, and is a bonafide game breaker. Everything you’d want in a hockey player. He takes his game just as seriously while pursuing a defender as he does when he has the puck on his stick. No question the cream of the OHL crop, the sky is the limit for McDavid.”
– Scott Palmer
October 10, 2014 – JYP @ HPK – D Sami Niku, 6-0, 170
“Good skater with strong acceleration too. Plays with an active stick on corners. Fearlessly against bigger guys. Disbanded JYPs zone entries and possession with active stick and smarts; had his head on a swivel. Calm and poised. Good outlet pass. Dangerous offensively from the point; Took a crisp cross zone pass and immediately delivered a sharp redirectable shot towards HPK goal for a scoring opportunity. Not overly big or physical but able to control HPK wingers along the boards and throws some good checks. Seriously crisp passing and decent vision, but sometimes tries to make the low percentage pass. Good hand/eye with pass interceptions on the neutral zone. Really confident under pressure. Was forechecked by two opponents, did old school spin-o-rama and gave a crisp pass to neutral zone which created 4on3 attack the other way. Constantly directs the puck on net with low, tip-able shots. Passing was crisp all day. Consistently tape-to-tape.”
– Juhana Ovaska