From the Notebook: October Edition

Dan Stewart2015 Draft Center, 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.

October 9, 2014 – Tri-City @ Saskatoon (WHL) – D Brandon Carlo, Tri-City, 6-5, 205

“He’s an absolute monster out on the ice and skates extremely well for his size.  His footwork is not perfect but definitely at a higher level than you would expect for someone who is 6’5 and over 200 pounds.  He’s got a good powerful skating stride and displayed solid lateral mobility on a number of occasions including during some 1 on 1 defensive plays. 

The other big thing I noticed about his game aside from skating is just how mean he is.  Was constantly in player’s faces; chirping and talking trash.  He also was a big fan of using his stick behind the play.  Constantly poking player’s legs; slashing them.  A borderline dirty player who has a very mean edge to his game. 

His game is not limited to being a defensive player only.  He was very involved in the play – especially early – looking to jump up into the rush and push the pace.  He passed the puck well all night and showed off a very hard shot on a couple of occasions.  With that hard shot he did a good job getting himself into shooting position while also showing the ability to handle the puck in such a way to give himself space to shoot it.  He’s got good offensive instincts to go with his skating and snarl. 

He did have some miscues in the game though.  I noticed one bad play with the puck and it came as he blindly threw it up the middle, resulting in a scoring chance against.  There was also a play in the second period where he tried to dangle across the offensive blueline with his head down and got absolutely lit up. 

He played roughly 22-24 minutes, I would guess, seeing time on the second PP unit while also killing penalties.  Wore an “A” as an alternate Captain.  Overall, I love his upside.  While he does rely a lot on his size and strength at this level, I think he has the tools to still “play the game” at the next level.  His size and skating combo is rare and coveted by NHL teams.  Not only that, but I think that combination will allow him to play at the NHL level sooner than most players drafted in his same range. 

I would fully expect some teams have him rated as a top 20 player in this draft and I would say he’s an easy top 40 selection for me at this point in time.” – Cody Nickolet

October 3, 2014 – Chicoutimi @ Gatineau (QMJHL) – C Nicolas Roy, Chicoutimi, 6-4, 205

“Nicolas had an okay game but he left me wanting more. He had one goal & one assist. His goal was on a 2 vs 1 where he shot in an almost open cage on a perfect pass from his teammate. His assist was when he didn’t stop pushing for a loose puck in front of the net and the puck ended up on his teammate stick.

He looked good on the draw; winning a lot of faceoffs in this game. Roy is a pretty good skater for his size with solid top speed but could certainly benefit by adding another gear. He could also work on his first few steps. His overall mobility is fine for a 6’4 kid but it could be improved over the next couple seasons.

His pucks skills are good but for a big guy he could protect his puck a bit better. He was normally not the guy entering the zone with the puck. His passing is okay, short passes are tape-to-tape; did not see any long-range passes in this viewing. He hesitated a lot and passing lanes were closing when he did, showing a lack of confidence in his play right now.

His shot is pretty impressive with good velocity when he puts his weight on it. He has a solid release for one-timers as well. He goes to the net off the rush looking for rebounds.

His physical play was okay, would have liked to seen more from him in this department because of his size advantage. He was hustling a lot, going into gritty areas but he was not always finishing his checks. He lost too many board battles for my liking against smaller players. Needs to add more strength and use it.

 He should also be better at protecting and handling the puck in tight spaces. He was vocal at every faceoff, placing his players; he was calling for passes when he was open. Looked hesitant, he was not always supporting his player well as a center. He had good intensity, looked like he was trying to work hard but was not overly effective. His defensive play needs work; his positioning was not always on point.

 Roy has pretty good potential if he can put it all together. Right now he doesn’t look like a top prospect to me. He reminds me of Fred Gauthier but without a skill that makes him standout. Gauthier was a very smart defensive player and was a point per game in his draft year. Right now I don’t see Roy as a top round player.” – Guillaume Gervais

September 28, 2014 –JYP U20 @ HIFK U20 – G Veini Vehvilainen, 6-1, 185

 “Vehviläinen had a tremendous game, pitching a shutout with 38 saves, including many excellent saves. The defensemen in front of him were not very strong and they were often beaten by attackers in the defensive zone, but Vehviläinen really stole the game for JYP.

His team also took some penalties, especially in the first period, but Vehviläinen kept the game tight. Vehviläinen has good size at 6-1 and the first two things I noticed while watching him were his calm presence in net and really solid positioning in his crease.

He didn’t make anything unnecessary moves and really made everything look so easy, however, he really had to show his best in this game. He has a really good and quick glove hand as well so it’s not easy to score on him.

 Vehviläinen showed excellent technique for such a young goalie and surprisingly he didn’t give many rebounds. Mobility was just as strong. Vehviläinen showed great quickness, footwork and balance. There were very few noticeable flaws in his game. His technique, mobility and consistency were remarkably strong.

Vehviläinen is definitely a goaltender to watch for the 2015 NHL Draft. He’s also the number one goalie in the national team, so he’ll very likely play a lot against other top countries as well. I really look forward to seeing and reporting on how Vehviläinen will develop over the course of the season.” – Marco Bambino