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  • Oh I forgot to mention about the Russia series game. Groshev was in the lineup but barely played. Didn't have much effect on the game when he was on the ice. Big kid, gets to the front of the net and plants himself there.

    A couple other things I was gonna mention. Brayden Tracy is a really good junior player, but I haven't seen a lot of high end skills there. Looks like a good bet for a bottom six or seven forward in the NHL though.

    Ty Smith was obviously really good, but he had a stumble on a spin move at a crucial moment 6 on 4 down a goal late in the game. He didn't fall or anything but Russia was able to clear the zone. The most exciting thing about him is his breakouts. Much patience and shiftiness. Maybe even a little creativity.

    One other random thought. After I said Amirov would need to be 190 or 195 to play his style in the NHL, I thought about who are the best players in the world at that technique - Crosby, Duchene, Tavares are top three for me. Maybe MacKinnon, Seguin. I looked it up and they are listed at, respectively, 201, 194, 207, 201, 205.

    It seems to be a particularly North American skill. One can see how it wouldn't be as important in Europe since the corner areas aren't so cramped as to require that kind of dexterity to maneuver. Also how many of those guys trained with Daryl Belfry.

    Interesting that Amirov has deigned this a vital skill to his repertoire . I do remember reading that some Russian league teams use NA size ice. No idea if his pro or junior teams are among them.
    Last edited by matchesmalone; 11-15-2019, 09:54 PM.

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    • Ok some quick notes on things I've learned from prospectshifts,

      Jake Sanderson - son of Blue Jackets legend Geoff Sanderson - is fucking legit. The game they have is NTDP vs. Providence. It was his fourth career game against NCAA competition (they don't make U17s play NCAA), and Providence is a pretty good team. A good situation to see him in. And he delivers. Was badly outmuscled on more than two occasions, obviously. But he was usually able to use good body positioning and momentum to handle himself down low. He has a good frame at 6'1 and 185 but, you know, a lot of these guys are 21, 22 years old. Many NHL-drafted. His skating is upper echelon, I didn't see him in any full speed races, but noticed a couple times his first step is really quick. The only thing really missing was any high end offensive skill showcases. But I've seen flashes of it in the highlights, which tells me he's just respecting the elder competition and making all the safe plays.

      Mysak didn't look as elite as I hoped he would. He's playing bottom six and didn't effect the play much at even strength. He was a regular on the powerplay and looked good there though.

      I'm a Gunler fan now. He thinks the game so much like I do - gaining possession is secondary, disrupt first and foremost. Skate through the puck. Trust your teammates. Offensively he likes to shoot if he has a shot, otherwise he gives and goes to the front of the net. Didn't have any long touches on the puck, but that could still come, I'd imagine he controlled the play a lot in junior.

      Poirier was only ok defensively. Defensive IQ is still a question mark. Really knows how to create offense though. So good at drawing two opponents in with his stick work and then finding an open teammate. Good but not elite skater.

      I caught some of Beniers while watching Sanderson and Smilanic. I'm a little split on him. Showed some high end skills at times, and at others he was sloppy. But again, high school kid vs. college athletes.

      Luke Tuch caught my eye again. Really clever offensive player, but is lacking some offensive tools. The size and strength makes up for some of that though.

      Comment


      • 2023 looks like it'll be another very good year for Sweden.

        Otto Stenberg was the U15 player who has played seven games in HockeyTväan this year. He also led U15s at TV-Pucken in scoring this year, at WSI U13s a couple years ago he had the most points by a Swede since Alexander Holtz. Zeb Forsfjäll plays for top tier Skellefteå and leads U15s in scoring in both the U16 and U18 top tier leagues. He was one point behind Stenberg at TV-Pucken. Ludwig Andersson was the U15 who played a game in J20 Elit this year; he also had a huge WSI U13 offensively.

        2024 could have some even better prospects. Karl Sterner and Johannes Sidebäck are putting up pretty crazy numbers playing above their age group.
        Last edited by matchesmalone; 12-01-2019, 11:40 AM.

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        • Yaroslav Askarov, after an unincredible start in VHL, has been lights out for a while now, steadily improving his ratios. He played his first KHL game - only the 4th U18 goalie to do so - and had two goals against and a .920 SVP.

          Good news and bad news for Alexander Holtz. I think I mentioned that he was starting to see an increased role for Djurgården, playing 15+ minutes for a few consecutive games, but he went through a four game stretch where he was a minus seven. It seems he wasn't ready for the added responsibility, and he's now back down to 9-13 mins per game.

          The good news is, Djurgården had a break in the schedule and sent him down for a junior game, without missing any pro games. After scoring a hat trick in his only other junior game of the season last month, in his second game he scored four goals and six points -equaling Raymond's five game point total in one game, and giving him nine points in two games on the year.

          I know Raymond is more exciting and dynamic and maybe has higher offensive upside, but I'm really starting to think Holtz might be the better prospect.

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          • https://www.eprinkside.com/2018/11/2...undqvists-heir

            Neat article on Jesper Wallstedt from a couple years ago.

            He still hasn't played SHL yet. Likely won't unless there's an injury. Funny enough, now 34 year old David Rautio was the guy who Högberg backed up for a couple years. Now he's the backup keeping Wallstedt down.

            Comment


            • I've been meaning to update the draft lists soon. I'm going to be combing through your recent posts here, Kev, and doing some follow up research. Should have a lot of additions to list soon!

              Comment


              • ProspectShifts has new games up for Perfetti, Holloway, Holtz and Raymond. Some notes,

                I'll be shocked if Raymond isn't at least a good NHL player. He does a lot of things well, and goes about it the right way. So many NHL-translatable attributes. Speed, compete, IQ, hands. He defends really well for his age, backchecks and forechecks hard. As tough a go as Raymond is having this year, this experience of trying to earn ice time on such a good team is doing wonders for his development - he has to compete and check if he wants to play, and he's doing what it takes. Tough to imagine a player having as rough a year as he is in his draft year go top three in in a draft with so much high end talent. He could still come on later in the season, and a huge world juniors would do him well.

                Holtz sometimes tends to hold on to the puck too long looking for the perfect play, and can make things difficult for himself. He's at his best when he keeps it simple. He's almost another one of those players (I would count Rossi and Gunler among them) who is better away from the puck. Not really one for challenging defenders, at least not at the pro level so far - he did a bit more in junior, but the problem is he isn't the greatest skater in the draft. Not bad, but certainly not elite. Unlike Raymond, he made his pro team not as a fourth line depth/energy player but as a top nine offensive forward. He often plays second line, is a regular on the powerplay, and is even on the ice down a goal with the net empty late. But Djurgardens is a weaker team than Frolunda, and relies on him for offense, so they have to deal with his issues defensively. He sometimes looks lost in his own zone, chases the puck. I was pretty surprised how good he is in puck battles on the boards though, he was badly out-muscled but he's clever and shifty in there.

                Dylan Holloway has to be at least a top 15 pick. He's got some seriously high end tools. He's one of the best skaters in the draft. Like Holtz, he's a really clever offensive player. Makes some neat little reverse plays, bounces it off the boards or the back of the net and such. He likes to hold on to the puck and make plays, but unlike Holtz he has the speed to often maneuver himself out of difficult situations when he holds on too long. And while he likes to be the one driving play, he also uses his teammates well. He's everything you look for in a future top six NHL forward. The biggest question mark for me right now is defensive play. Not that he looked bad, but I didn't notice a lot of impressive plays defensively. He is really struggling in the faceoff circle, but again, it's a huge jump from second tier junior players in the AJHL to top tier college players. Notice almost all the kids who jump right into NCAA and dominate are the NTDP kids because they already spent half of last year playing college teams.

                On a philosophical aside, I've been thinking about ways to read and describe hockey IQ, because it gets repetitive saying about every top end prospect (at least the top 15 or 20) how great their hockey IQ is. Obviously: it might be the single most important factor in determining NHL success, so of course all of the top prospects have it in abundance. But it means a lot of different things. One thing Torts has me thinking about, is he always talks about how instinctive the best offensive players are. He talks about it with Panarin, Werenski, and other stars in the league, and on the other hand, he complains about how Wennberg thinks too much. So when I watch prospects now, one of the things I'm looking for, that I think separates elite hockey sense from just good or great, is how they react when suddenly placed in a difficult, time-sensitive situation, when they couldn't possibly have a play planned in advance and they have to act on impulse. For instance, there was a play where Holloway was gliding by the front of the opponent's net, and a puck was flipped and deflected, and happened to land a couple feet behind Holloway to his stick side - no way he could have anticipated it - and he immediately spins and bats it across crease on his backhand and creates a dangerous scoring chance.

                This is a different skillset than anticipation, which Holtz excels at. He's great at finding openings, but more importantly, at putting himself in multiple attack point positions. It's the same principle that I like to talk about with shootouts. The best players at shootouts are those who have one basic move, but with multiple finishes. This will be a bit of an aside but I thought it was pretty cool and illustrates my point- on the EA NHL games, I haven't played online in a while but I used to scorch people if it ever went to shootout. Remember back when you had to control your own goalie in the shootout? Oshie was the inspiration for my move - I would skate in on the strong side, toe drag as I'd start to cut across the net around the middle of the faceoff circle, and that's where the move splits into three, I could either pull it across to the backhand and tuck it far side, or I could fake to the backhand and then pull it back forehand and tuck it short side, or from a step further out, I'd pull it in tight from the toe drag and as I'm coming across to the far side and the goalie follows across, I flip it back up to the short side (which is now kinda far side) over the shoulder or blocker. It drove people nuts. There were times where I'd score on all three attempts, in three different ways, or I'd use the same move two or three times, and then suddenly switch it up.

                This is what Holtz does away from the puck so well, he'll skate routes that leave a bunch of different options open for him based on various potential outcomes he anticipates in the play. I'll probably go on more about this later - different types of hockey IQ and how I scout for them.
                Last edited by matchesmalone; 12-04-2019, 12:19 AM.

                Comment


                • Originally posted by matchesmalone View Post
                  ProspectShifts has new games up for Perfetti, Holloway, Holtz and Raymond. Some notes,

                  I'll be shocked if Raymond isn't at least a good NHL player. He does a lot of things well, and goes about it the right way. So many NHL-translatable attributes. Speed, compete, IQ, hands. He defends really well for his age, backchecks and forechecks hard. As tough a go as Raymond is having this year, this experience of trying to earn ice time on such a good team is doing wonders for his development - he has to compete and check if he wants to play, and he's doing what it takes. Tough to imagine a player having as rough a year as he is in his draft year go top three in in a draft with so much high end talent. He could still come on later in the season, and a huge world juniors would do him well.

                  Holtz sometimes tends to hold on to the puck too long looking for the perfect play, and can make things difficult for himself. He's at his best when he keeps it simple. He's almost another one of those players (I would count Rossi and Gunler among them) who is better away from the puck. Not really one for challenging defenders, at least not at the pro level so far - he did a bit more in junior, but the problem is he isn't the greatest skater in the draft. Not bad, but certainly not elite. Unlike Raymond, he made his pro team not as a fourth line depth/energy player but as a top nine offensive forward. He often plays second line, is a regular on the powerplay, and is even on the ice down a goal with the net empty late. But Djurgardens is a weaker team than Frolunda, and relies on him for offense, so they have to deal with his issues defensively. He sometimes looks lost in his own zone, chases the puck. I was pretty surprised how good he is in puck battles on the boards though, he was badly out-muscled but he's clever and shifty in there.

                  Dylan Holloway has to be at least a top 15 pick. He's got some seriously high end tools. He's one of the best skaters in the draft. Like Holtz, he's a really clever offensive player. Makes some neat little reverse plays, bounces it off the boards or the back of the net and such. He likes to hold on to the puck and make plays, but unlike Holtz he has the speed to often maneuver himself out of difficult situations when he holds on too long. And while he likes to be the one driving play, he also uses his teammates well. He's everything you look for in a future top six NHL forward. The biggest question mark for me right now is defensive play. Not that he looked bad, but I didn't notice a lot of impressive plays defensively. He is really struggling in the faceoff circle, but again, it's a huge jump from second tier junior players in the AJHL to top tier college players. Notice almost all the kids who jump right into NCAA and dominate are the NTDP kids because they already spent half of last year playing college teams.

                  On a philosophical aside, I've been thinking about ways to read and describe hockey IQ, because it gets repetitive saying about every top end prospect (at least the top 15 or 20) how great their hockey IQ is. Obviously: it might be the single most important factor in determining NHL success, so of course all of the top prospects have it in abundance. But it means a lot of different things. One thing Torts has me thinking about, is he always talks about how instinctive the best offensive players are. He talks about it with Panarin, Werenski, and other stars in the league, and on the other hand, he complains about how Wennberg thinks too much. So when I watch prospects now, one of the things I'm looking for, that I think separates elite hockey sense from just good or great, is how they react when suddenly placed in a difficult, time-sensitive situation, when they couldn't possibly have a play planned in advance and they have to act on impulse. For instance, there was a play where Holloway was gliding by the front of the opponent's net, and a puck was flipped and deflected, and happened to land a couple feet behind Holloway to his stick side - no way he could have anticipated it - and he immediately spins and bats it across crease on his backhand and creates a dangerous scoring chance.

                  This is a different skillset than anticipation, which Holtz excels at. He's great at finding openings, but more importantly, at putting himself in multiple attack point positions. It's the same principle that I like to talk about with shootouts. The best players at shootouts are those who have one basic move, but with multiple finishes. This will be a bit of an aside but I thought it was pretty cool and illustrates my point- on the EA NHL games, I haven't played online in a while but I used to scorch people if it ever went to shootout. Remember back when you had to control your own goalie in the shootout? Oshie was the inspiration for my move - I would skate in on the strong side, toe drag as I'd start to cut across the net around the middle of the faceoff circle, and that's where the move splits into three, I could either pull it across to the backhand and tuck it far side, or I could fake to the backhand and then pull it back forehand and tuck it short side, or from a step further out, I'd pull it in tight from the toe drag and as I'm coming across to the far side and the goalie follows across, I flip it back up to the short side (which is now kinda far side) over the shoulder or blocker. It drove people nuts. There were times where I'd score on all three attempts, in three different ways, or I'd use the same move two or three times, and then suddenly switch it up.

                  This is what Holtz does away from the puck so well, he'll skate routes that leave a bunch of different options open for him based on various potential outcomes he anticipates in the play. I'll probably go on more about this later - different types of hockey IQ and how I scout for them.
                  I think instinct vs thinking is a great way to describe it! Would you say anticipation and instinct are mostly synonymous from a hockey perspective?

                  Comment


                  • To me they're different. Anticipation is reading the play and predicting what might happen, and there is some instinct involved in that, but the way to isolate and detect instinct is to how a player reacts in the split second decision when there is no way they could have anticipated the situation they're in.

                    They can be easily confused because at times it might seem like an instinctual play but the player actually read and predicted the situation, but there are times when there's a weird bounce or a teammate makes a wild play or an opponent does something creative and anticipation would not have been possible.

                    There has to be a sort of anticipation involved in that too though, just in the sense of being on your toes and ready for anything.

                    Comment


                    • After watching the new Perfetti game on Prospect shifts, I got high and re-watched both Stranges games again. Another thing I noticed about Stranges is he is dominant in board battles at this level; he's not particularly strong, but his hand quickness and hand-eye coordination are unreal, and he's very clever/tricky.

                      I was trying to think about how to differentiate in hockey sense between Perfetti, Stranges, and Stützle, who I've said at various times have some of the best hockey sense in the draft. One thing I would distinguish based on what I've talked about already is Perfetti has incredible instincts, and seems to play largely off instinct. Same goes for Stranges to some extent, but they have very different types of instincts. Whereas I'm sure Stützle has excellent instincts as well, but he seems like a more calculated player.

                      The difference I thought of when comparing Perfetti and Stranges, is what for now I'm calling hockey sense vs. hockey sense. Hockey sense (as in understanding, vision, feel, Verstand) is simply understanding the game, being able to read the play and other players, knowing positioning, etc. Hockey sense (as in good sense, reason, sensibility, Vernunft) means being sensible, knowing when it is time to attack, when to use your teammates, when to dump it in, when to try to go one on four.

                      So a player can have really good hockey sense, understand the game well (Verstand) but just not be a smart player, or as a coach might put it, not play the game the right way (Vernunft). I'm sure Stranges could be a smarter player, but he's never really had to be. One similarity between Stranges and Perfetti is they both tend to overhandle the puck sometimes and get themselves in trouble, and they are both often able to skate their way out of trouble. But this is a good example of where their hockey sense differs, if Perfetti (or take Holloway) gets himself in a bad position, then to resolve the situation he is trying to use his skating, skills, and quickness to make an extra couple of plays to give teammates time to backcheck and get below the puck. Not Stranges, baby. I don't care what kind of trouble he gets himself into, he's still thinking offense, and he's convinced he can deke his way out if, and he often does at this level.

                      Stützle has some of the best hockey sense (Vernunft) in the draft class. Right there with Lucas Raymond, Jake Sanderson, Jamie Drysdale. It's especially important for the Ds, but those guys know when to go, know when to make the safe, simple play. Funny that for forwards I always say this about the pro players, Lundell, Stützle, Raymond (not as much Holtz or Gunler), and partly because they just have to play that way if they want to play. But there's a reason they're playing pro at 17.

                      On the other hand it also says something about how offensively gifted Holtz and Gunler are to be be playing in that league despite their flaws. Stützle just is always thinking about the good of the team. Not putting teammates in difficult positions unless they can handle it, and supports the puck really well, always seems to be available to give teammates and especially defensemen an out. He also has some of the best vision and passing skills in the draft.
                      Last edited by matchesmalone; 12-06-2019, 04:31 AM.

                      Comment


                      • I watched Foudy, Jaromir Pytlik and Seth Jarvis on ProspectShifts. Was my first time seeing the latter two, who are two more guys who could sneak into the first round, or should certainly at least go second round.

                        Pytlik played for Czechs at the U20 Four Nations Cup in August, and he hadn't turned 18 yet. More still, he played top minutes on the powerplay and penalty kill. Not as skilled as Novak or Mysak, but his 6'3 frame makes him a legit NHL top nine forward prospect with his skillset and 200 foot game. I was looking back at his Czech league stats, and if he had been ten days older, he would have been the highest Czech player drafted last year, maybe first round. Not sure he has the skillset to be a first rounder in this year's draft. But look at a guy like Nolan Foote, or even Shane Pinto for that matter last year, most people had a few more skilled players ahead of them in the rankings, but NHL teams love big kids who can play. It's an uphill battle for kids like Mäenpää, Nybeck, Andrae, Tullio, Gushchin, Bordeleau, Hirvonen, Simontaival, McClennon, Cormier. Tons of them in this draft - some really good ones. Of that group Andrae has the best chance to go first round.

                        Jarvis is another smaller guy at 5'10. I wanted to see him because he's a kid who has been playing for Canada internationally for many years. He had a monster U13 tournament playing with Connor McClennon, and even at as high levels as U17 and Hlinkas he continues to produce. The first thing you notice is his skating, he's very fast. After that you quickly notice he's a tenacious forechecker and dogged on the puck. He plays regularly on both the PP and PK for a top WHL team in Portland. His stick skills are really good but nothing special, and I don't find him particularly deceptive offensively. Two plays stood out from this game, one was him battling three opposing players on the boards in the offensive zone and holding it there for a good three to five seconds while his linemates changed. The other was he created a breakway with his speed and drew a penalty shot, and then scored with a pretty nifty move.

                        I see a ton of comparisons between Foudy and Stranges, starting with their situations - young players, immensely skilled, playing on good, deep CHL programs that are making them wait their turn and trying to cut back some of the silliness. Like Stranges, Foudy kinda thinks he's too good for the OHL, but he's not right about it as often as Stranges is. Stranges has a better shot, better stickhandling - although that's not to say Foudy isn't also a phenomenal stickhandler. In passing and skating it is close - they are both maybe top five in the draft in both categories. While Stranges has elite speed, Foudy is one of the very fastest skater in the draft (I've got the top tier as Zary, Holloway, Foudy, Smilanic). Foudy doesn't have Stranges' Bauer Magic,™ but he is a wonderfully shifty skater in his own right. They are both elite passers, but Stranges' vision is a level above - when you're that gifted a stickhandler you rarely have to look at the puck I guess, but whatever it is, Stranges just always seems to know where everyone is on the ice. Foudy does have elite vision and timing, a soft touch, and an exceptional saucer pass, but he's not as adept as Stranges at that crucial NHL skill of throwing pucks, not at the net, but around the net in areas for a teammate to deflect it in.

                        Will be fun to see U18s this year, some of the top CHLers will still be in playoffs, so some guys like Sourdif, O'Rourke, McClennon, Tullio, Bourke, Poirier will get a chance to showcase on the big stage for Canada. 2021-eligible Kent Johnson should be there for sure too. He looks like a top ten or maybe top five pick.

                        Comment


                        • I went through and collected stats against college teams for noteworthy players from USNTDP. They've played nine games against NCAA teams this year so far, and they're 2-7 with 16 GF and 27 GA.

                          Matthew Beniers: 9-3-1-4, -3, 16 SOG
                          Ty Smilanic: 8-1-3-4, -7, 9 SOG
                          Brett Berard: 9-3-0-3, -1, 24 SOG
                          Luke Tuch: 9-2-1-3, -4, 17 SOG
                          Thomas Bordeleau: 9-1-2-3, -3, 16 SOG
                          Dylan Peterson: 9-1-1-2, -8, 8 SOG
                          Jake Sanderson: 9-0-2-2, -3, 11 SOG
                          Tyler Kleven: 9-0-1-1, -3, 9 SOG

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                          • Tonight I watched ProspectShifts from three Finnish defensemen, Rubin Rafkin, Kasper Puutio and Topi Niemelä. It wouldn't be out of the realm of plausibility for any of these three to slip into the first round, and I'm fairly confident that all three will be off the board by the end of the third round. All have decent size at around 6', but they are all in completely different situations.

                            Puutio and Rafkin have been key players for Hockey Finland since U13s, and both had dominant U14s as the two top scoring Ds in the tournament and ranking second and third in team scoring behind Kasper Simontaival. After that Rafkin moved to North America where he played midget and then one year USHL before moving on to Windsor of the OHL. So he is a rookie in the OHL this year at 17, although he's already been playing North American hockey for a while now.

                            His departure left Niemelä and Puutio as the two top Finnish defensemen in their age group, but both were owned by Kärpät, and there wouldn't be room for two young defensemen, so Kasper Puutio decided to move to North America and was drafted first overall in the CHL import draft by the Swift Current Broncos. Puutio, by the way, led the Finnish team in scoring at the U17 challenge, not just defensemen, Swift Current is fucking abysmal, tied for last place in the WHL; their leading scorer has 14 points in 24 games, and 17 year old rookie Puutio, brand new to the North American game, is tied for second with ten points.

                            Niemelä stayed in Kärpät, where he is one of only two U18 players in SM Liiga this year. Only three points in 20 games, but he plays on the third pairing with no special teams time for the top team in the league. Hard to get a read on a player in that situation, with very little ice time, and he's not counted on for much when he is one the ice; mainly he just tries to get the puck to a veteran teammate to make a play. The one area he was noticeable was patrolling the blue line in the offensive zone, where he has a good awareness of how to keep the puck in and create offense without taking risks.

                            Rafkin was my favorite player of the three; so much to like about his game. The first thing that stood out was his transition game, where he has seemingly unlimited patience skating the puck back into his own zone, settling things down and running a set breakout. He might just be the best defenseman in the draft on the breakout outside of Drysdale. Like Niemelä, he is also excellent on the blue line in the offensive zone, but at the junior level he has a lot more opportunity to make plays there than Niemelä does. He is exceptionally deceptive offensively, with great head fakes and misdirection. His all around hockey sense (Verstand) is up there with anyone in the draft class outside of the top five or ten - this kid really understands positioning and what opposing players are thinking. My only concern is he actually plays it too safe sometimes; there were multiple occasions where he made the safest possible play even though it was clearly not the best available play. This might just be because he's a rookie trying to earn top minutes on a top team in the league (he played 24 mins this game), but it might be a lack of confidence in his skating and stick skills. If it is the former, then he is an easy first round pick for me. Tough to tell from this one game - playing for such a good team, he never had to showcase his stick skills because he always had good outlets and never had to force anything. And I honestly have no idea about his skating, he has a long stride and it doesn't look like he's moving quickly, but he does seem to traverse the ice efficiently. He's the furthest thing from a flashy offensive player - he's just interested in getting the puck into the zone and helping keep it there, and leave it to the forwards to create offense. Defensively, again he had a lot of help, but he seemed solid; no glaring mistakes and his one on ones and gap control were good.

                            Puutio, playing for such a horrendous team in Swift Current, had to showcase some very different skills than Rafkin. He didn't have such an easy time in transition and actually was a few times forced to showcase his stick skills, which are exceptional - among the best by defensemen in the draft class. He spent an awful lot of time in the defensive zone, where he was solid but not exceptional. He seems like more of a skilled offensive defenseman so it's hard to get a read on him in this situation, but I guess the upside is he's being forced to learn to play defense. As a rookie to the WHL in his first year in North American, he played over 26 minutes this game, and was relied on to lead both the PP and PK.
                            Last edited by matchesmalone; 12-08-2019, 05:04 AM.

                            Comment


                            • I came across the all-star game from the 2019 WSI U13s. Europe vs. North America. That is Kiviharju's age group, but he wasn't at that tournament; he played U14s instead that year.

                              The commentators mentioned that Dontsov was named tournament MVP, obviously. He didn't look quite as dominant at the all-star game against top level players, but was still clearly the best player on the ice. Stick skills, deceptivity, puck protection and shot are the things that stand out most from him.

                              The other players who stood out were basically what you'd expect looking at the stats. I'd rank Catton top of the class in stickhandling and creativity for forwards. He also has great vision and passing but his skating isn't overly impressive, at least in terms of straight line speed, but he is exceptionally shifty. Celebrini is a great skater with great hands, vision and awareness. Jordan Gavin is an elite skater all-round - fast, quick, agile, shifty; quick hands but he doesn't challenge defenders with his stickhandling like Catton does. Gavin is also tenacious on the puck. He's a fireball out there.

                              The one player who didn't stand out on the stats but did in-game was Elliot Sigrell. Not sure why, but Sweden only sends one National Team and doesn't send all their best players to this thing. So Sigrell didn't have as much help as others, but in the all-star game he was the best player for Europe besides Dontsov. Speed is the name of the game for Sigrell - he skates fast, thinks fast and makes plays fast.

                              Johannes Sidebäck and Karl Sterner are putting up drastically better numbers than Sigrell in league play and weren't at this thing. So yeah, no concern for Hockey Sweden, who doesn't fare well at these WSIs; they're still producing plenty of elite talent in the short and further term future.

                              Markus Loponen was the one other player for Europe who really stood out. I looked him up and turns out he played underaged at U12 and U13s. Looks like one to watch.

                              American Ryker Lee has a lot of high end skills but he's a tiny kid right now.

                              I think we already have them listed but James Hagens and Henry Mews looked really good at this thing.
                              Last edited by matchesmalone; 12-09-2019, 05:25 AM.

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