FC’s scouting director Dan Stewart tackles the Swedish battle between Sebastian Collberg and Pontus Aberg, the Mathew Dumba vs. PK Subban comparisons, Subway Super Series reviews and the impact of the World Junior A Challenge in the latest ‘Five For Stewart’.
On to the November Questions:
1. Why is Swede Collberg rated higher than countryman Aberg?
It all comes down to perceived upside at the next level.
Both Sebastian Collberg and Pontus Aberg have outstanding offensive skills, smarts and speed to burn. Both are not huge in physical stature and this is where one difference can be seen as Collberg seems willing to use whatever size and strength he has to dig and battle more so than Aberg.
Now, with Aberg getting off to the hot start and putting up good production it would be easy to push him up the draft board ahead of Collberg, but you need to remember that not all opportunities are created equal. Aberg has been given a great opportunity to play a large role in the Elite league while Colberg has not.
Collberg has seen little playing time on a deep Frolunda club and we at FC still believe his potential projects higher than Aberg at this point in time.
2. Can we compare Dumba to Subban? If not, why?
That is a comparison that has been thrown around quite a bit and it does have some merit as well as some faults.
Understand that there are or have been very few prospects who are direct carbon copies to current or past NHLers in all aspects and Mathew Dumba falls under that category when compared to Subban.
Dumba shares some of the impressive puck rushing skills and riverboat gambling tendencies that Subban has displayed in Montreal as well as similar on-ice exuberance. However, Dumba is a much more physical player regularly delivering devastating checks and has the ability to be a stronger shutdown defender than Subban shows.
3. Who gets your vote for top draft eligible in the Subway Super Series?
The way Mikhail Grigorenko was dominating in the Quebec contest really made me see again that he really could push Nail Yakupov for the top spot in the draft.
It is too bad that the type of effort he showed in that game is not always shown by the big playmaking Russian in every QMJHL game this season. That said though, he still gets my vote as top performance as he controlled the game and made some outstanding plays showing great reads, offensive sense and chemistry on his old CSKA Kucherov/Grigorenko/Gusev Line.
His ability to make those around him better really made a statement to scouts in attendance.
Yakupov was also dominant at times in his game, which was played in Ottawa but he did not share the same chemistry that Grigorenko enjoyed with his linemates. Yakupov showed off skilled passes, deft hands when carrying the puck and multiple one-timer opportunities really helped display his offensive wizardry and pro-potential.
The real stud of the Ottawa game in my eyes though was Cody Ceci, who showed that he is not just big defensive a one-trick pony as he used his vision and heady passes to set-up a couple goals and create chances on a few other plays. He also used his size to separate some Russians and closed off the front of the net effectively despite the crazy 10-7 score.
Mathew Dumba was good as he made some big plays but did look like he was trying to force it a little, over committing on some plays and trying to make some passes when there was nothing there. I loved how he used his physical play to separate the puck from the Russian forwards.
Honourable mention to Andrey Makarov, who appears to have stamped his ticket to Calgary for the World Juniors as he played very well in his opportunity for Russia. Also, Charles Hudon, who was a key offensive spark to the Quebec squad, Slater Koekkoek who played a very good defensive game incorporating physical play where he could for the OHL and Colton Sissons in the WHL who showed a nice physical-skill blend as he contributed in multiple ways.
4. Who were some of the best draft eligible performers at the World Junior A Challenge in Langley, BC?
Lest take this with a position-by-position breakdown.
There were a couple goaltenders that were just great at this event as both Sweden’s Oskar Dansk and Russian stopper Andrei Vasilevski both stole the show at certain points with the ability to carry their teams, completely shutting the door on the opposition and intrigue those watching with their very high end pro-potential.
Both Dansk and Vasilevski possess nice size, strong technical play and quick reflexes along with the ability to make all the saves expected as well as a few that they shouldn’t have made. Their impressive games really generated a buzz among the scouts in attendance. We may have witnessed the emergence of the top net minders in the 2012 draft at this event.
On defense, Sweden’s Ludvig Bystrom played a strong two-way game despite not putting up much on the score sheet. He consistently made the smart play and moved the puck up the ice quickly, far the top Swedish skater. He was named to the tournament all-star team.
I was really looking forward to seeing Rhett Holland at this event as he displays the tools to be a solid shutdown NHL defenseman and he played well in helping Canada West to the title but I must say I came away wishing he did more.
American Jordan Schmaltz was the biggest disappointment for me as he sure did not have the look of a first round pick while playing in Langley BC. Most were expecting Schmaltz to come in and produce some offensive punch from the backend for the Americans but he disappointed and left many wondering if they had originally overrated the Green Bay Gambler.
Lastly, big Russian Egor Malenkikh, who was supposed to play in the OHL this season with the Greyhounds but backed out because of a serious illness to his father, played a decent stay at home game although he made some costly mistakes at times but did nothing to really hurt his late round draft status.
Canada West forward Alex Kerfoot was clutch for the eventual winners when he needed to be putting up two points in the gold medal game and showed some nice offensive skill as he really turned his game on after two first lackluster games of the tournament.
Fellow Canadian, although representing the East, Devin Shore, also made a name for himself and might become one of those prospects who gets drafted earlier than he would have based on this tournament. He co-led the tournament in scoring and really was a force in the game against the Americans. Shore was named to the all-star team as well as the tournament MVP.
American two-way threat Vince Hinostroza was in my opinion the top draft eligible skater in the tournament as he was a bulldog on the penalty kill and put up some solid secondary scoring for the pre-tournament favorites. These kind of hard working role-playing guys never get the recognition that they deserve.
5. How much stock does the performances at a tournament like the World Junior A Challenge bring to a prospects draft status in the eyes of NHL scouts?
These types of tournaments definitely do add to both the plus or negative side when evaluating a draft eligible prospect. Short tournaments are a great way to see if a prospect can elevate his game under pressure and stick out in the crowd amongst his peers but it also must be remembered that these guys are still kids and some still are miles away from the finished product that they could become. The evaluation must be done on a prospect-by-prospect basis.
As a talent evaluator, it is always nice to see a prospect put in a dominating performance but ultimately the performance and ones development curve over the whole season gets more weight than one solid performance when ranking a prospect.
Dan Stewart is the scouting director of Future Considerations and can be found on Twitter. For all the latest Future Considerations news and posts, follow FC’s Official Twitter Feed, on YouTube and on Facebook!
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