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  • Holy crap! I just read that the U18 World Junior Hockey Championships haven't been cancelled yet. All cancelled except the top division. Usually I am only moderately excited for U18s, but this year it could be the only chance to get a good look at a lot of the prospects for 2021 draft.

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    • I watched some recent MHL games on Youtube this morning. One from Omskie Yastreby (Miroshnichenko, Vsevolod Gaidamak, Gleb Trikozov), one from Stalnye Lisy (Danila Yurov), and one from SKA-1946 (Matvei Michkov, Daniil Lazutin, Arseni Koromyslov). Some notes on each player:

      Miroshnichenko - I'd previously seen him at YOG in his own age group, and 5NU17s at 15 playing against 16 year olds. Here he's 16 playing against 18 and 19 year olds. His most obvious attributes are the shot, skating power, strength on the puck and ferocity in pursuit of it, but the more I watch him, the more impressed I am with his offensive hockey sense - particularly his vision and anticipation. Skating agility and stickhandling are good, but not elite. He's not very active in the defensive zone, which is good in the sense that at least he's not chasing the puck, but he needs to be better at finding opportunities to jump in and disrupt. He did separate puck from bodies wonderfully on a couple occasions when it entered his immediate vicinity, but he needs to be more engaged in the defensive zone. When I'd seen him previously the one thing I was most impressed with was his ability to win every puck battle down low, but he wasn't as dominant in that area here against older competition. He's already 185 lbs, and strength isn't much of an issue for him at this level, but he needs to be a little quicker. Very intrigued to see if he gets into KHL games this year, which hasn't been done by a non-LB 16 year old since Kirill Kabanov in 2008, which was the first year the KHL was founded.

      Vsevolod Gaidamak - Nothing new. Just confirmation of what I'd already seen. Good skill level but nothing high end. Biggest strengths are his hockey sense and playmaking ability. Very smart on the forecheck. Creates offense both with and away from the puck.

      Gleb Trikozov - Wow. Lost amidst the hype of the two prodigies on Russia's top line at YOG was that Trikozov is really, really good. I did notice that even when the big line (centered by Ilya Kvochko) wasn't on the ice, Russia was pretty evenly matched with an excellent USA team, so I knew they must have some more good players, but all my attention was on Michkov and Miro. Trikozov looks elite in his own right. He held the puck on the string a couple times here, and is not afraid to handle in tight spaces through traffic. He scored a goal on the powerplay, where he walked in off the left half wall as a right shot and just sniped. Forced a couple turnovers on the forecheck. Showed an incredibly deft passing touch in tight spaces. Good size at 6'1 and 185. Kid just looks like a future star in the NHL. He's a better prospect than any of the Russians for the 2021 class, and looks like easily a top ten or fifteen in an ordinary draft year.

      Danila Yurov - Not much new, but I did see some impressive vision and passing ability, on one play in particular when he had the puck and was facing the end boards coming behind the net, and made a behind the back pass to the front of the net for a goal. Also, his team was down 4-1 midway through the third period when he did that, and then just a couple minutes later he set up another goal to make it 4-3, which tells me he's got some clutch to his game, he wants to be the guy to step up and make a difference.

      Matvei Michkov - Again, not much new. His skating agility is his greatest strength. He's simply unbelievable with the way he breaks ankles twirling around in the corners. He also has elite hands and loves trying to split the D on the rush. Excellent vision and passing ability, can thread needles through seams on the PP. His game away from the puck needs work; both offensively and defensively he doesn't move his feet enough - as a result he looks elite when he has the puck, but he doesn't get into positions to have the puck as much as he would like to have it. Spends a lot of time hanging out in his office just to the right of the net, around the bottom of the faceoff circle, waiting for one-timers or rebounds. Not to say that he's not a prodigy and won't be an NHL superstar; just that he just turned 16 and still needs a lot of work. Curious how much he'll be able to get into KHL games next year. Late birthday D-1s like Tarasenko and Yurov have done it, but they were also bigger kids with more pro-style games. Michkov will likely already be too good for MHL by next season, but given his size and deficiencies away from the puck, KHL might not be realistic yet, so perhaps VHL will be his best bet.

      Daniil Lazutin - Not really sure what to make of him. Good size, does a lot of things well, but nothing very high end at this level. He's a regular PKer at 17 on a very good team, and offensively he makes good plays with limited time and space around the front of the net. He's a good NHL prospect, but I'm not sure just how much upside.

      Arseni Koromyslov -This was my first time watching him closely, and he didn't disappoint, but didn't wow either. Which was what I expected from a two-way type defenseman. Good skater, seems pretty good with the puck, breaks up plays defensively, plays on both the PK and PP. Was one of the guys out for a successful 3 on 5 kill. Should be a first rounder for 2022.
      Last edited by matchesmalone; 01-19-2021, 02:17 AM.

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      • OK so I thought I might have got a bit carried away after my first viewing of Trikozov, so I decided to watch another Omskie game, from Jan 19. It was Miroshnichenko's most minutes yet with 21:14, but it was also Trikozov's third most, with 17:37. Miro had a strong game, and is starting to show more of the power forward game I expect from him, protecting the puck, taking it hard to the net. But largely what I wanted to figure out was, if Trikozov is as good as he looked that first game I watched, why is he only averaging 14:23 on the season, and although he's been starting to play 16+ most games lately, he still only played 12:09 Jan 20. We already know size and strength isn't a major issue, as he's 6'1, 185. I confirmed in this game that defensive play is certainly not an issue, as he actually showed some hints that he might be a two-way force, skating through pucks, and hustling to break up at least one very dangerous scoring chance. Turns out the problem is cockiness. But I think this could be a relatively easy fix; when I see a player "doing too much" that can sometimes be cause for some actual concern, as it can be a sign of not understanding how to use your teammates and play within a team concept. This does not seem to be the case with Trikozov, as he simply made a handful of plays that were downright ridiculous; he just plain thought he was far superior to his (much older) opponents and that he could do whatever the hell he wanted. He just needs to learn to "respect the league" as Torts likes to say. Anyway, with that said, I absolutely did not exaggerate with my initial reaction. This kid is a fucking phenom:

        https://youtu.be/xwaRiU6f7wM?t=8271

        Keep watching after the rush, as he steals the puck back and draws a penalty.

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        • I was able to catch most of the Michigan game today. I was quite a bit more impressed with Power this game. I still didn't see a dominant defensive force, but he did some good things in his own zone. Got beat once pretty cleanly and another time partially by forwards with speed to the outside. But he controls the game very well with the puck on his stick coming up ice. Despite some of the loose comparisons being thrown around, I don't see a Hedman or a Pronger, but he's somewhere in the range of prospects like Redden, Jovanovski, Erik Johnson, Pietrangelo, Seth Jones. The first question is, where exactly on that scale does he fit? I don't pretend to have an answer to that yet; maybe if I see him a few more games this year. The second question is where does that put him compared to this year's class? Guys like Pietrangelo and Jones are studs, but guys that went ahead of them are superstars, so they are justified going where they did.

          Compared to last year's or next year's class, Power wouldn't be in the top three, based on what I know so far. But in the 2021 draft, I'm not sure. I look at the top ten or so, and see guys on the one hand like Johnson, Lambos, Edvinsson, Eklund, Lysell with tremendous upside, but also serious question marks, and on the other hand there's guys like Clarke, Beniers, Räty, Guenther, Sillinger who are excellent prospects, but with questions about high end upside. I still need a few more viewings, but at this point I'd say he's still not my number one, but I can definitely see why many considered him the favorite.

          Comment


          • My latest 2022 list. First one with the full first round.

            1. Shane Wright - As is often the case for me with these clear-cut first overall favorites, I don't go out of my way to watch them. You know they'll be at U18s, Hlinkas, maybe U20s, and it's not like there's much to figure out; everything you need to know is pretty obvious from a handful of viewings.
            2. Ivan Miroschnichenko - Hard to believe I already have upward of ten viewings on this kid. After seeing him look so dominant at his own age group and even a year underage, I was a little disenchanted when I first saw him in MHL. But I have to remind myself this is a 16 year-old in a league of 18 and 19 year-olds. And his game is built around being powerful down low and down the wing, so even though he's already reasonably strong at this level, he's not yet able to impose his will like he was against kids his own age.
            3. Matthew Savoie - I was honestly kind of disappointed with him at YOG; he did show flashes of the player I expected, but they were far too inconsistent. Not sure what to make of that, but the upside is still as high as anyone in the draft.
            4. Brad Lambert - I thought size might be a concern, but he's up to 6'0 now. Looked like a future superstar at WJHC. I'd still like to see him drive the net more, but hes improving in that regard.
            5. Simon Nemec - Has all the tools to be a special player. Both the eye test and the stats say this kid is a phenom. According to my league rating translations, if he was in the CHL he'd be having the 2nd best offensive season by a U17 defenseman of the past 30 years, only behind Ryan Ellis. And his defensive game is just as impressive. In most years I would say he's a favorite for first overall.
            6. Rutger McGroarty - The stats at this level are solid, but not terribly impressive. The eye test shows flashes of exceptional ability. With his size and strength, if he can bring that next level more consistently, this could be a special player.
            7. Danila Yurov - What a beast. Strong in the corners, protects the puck well, gets to the net, exceptional playmaking ability. So close to already being a KHL regular, but he still needs to add weight to be effective at that level.
            8. Tristan Luneau - I have a feeling he's going to move up the rankings next year, but for now my highest level viewings of him are U16; hard to get a good read. Biggest question mark is offensive upside. His defensive and transition play are elite.
            9. Frank Nazar - Fantastic two-way forward with elite skill, tenacity and hockey sense. Size is the only real issue I can see; he's not tiny by any means, but with the quality of players in this draft, every little thing matters.
            10. Gleb Trikozov - NHL frame. Skating, passing, hockey sense, vision, defensive play, stickhandling, shot are all elite or in the vicinity. Needs to clean up the intangibles, but there's nothing that says he couldn't go in the top three.
            11. Seamus Casey - Another dynamic-skating defenseman a la Quinn Hughes, Makar, Drysdale, etc. Excellent defensively as well, at least at the U16 YOG level.
            12. Elias Salomonsson - the first player on this list I haven't watched play. But the stats look pretty special, the few clips I've seen are very impressive, and there's some hype that he could be considered among the top three or so.
            13. Juraj Slafkovsky - Played 17-19 minutes per game for Slovakia at WJHC. Is playing in the same range in SM Sarja and putting up impressive numbers.
            14. Elmeri Laakso - Extremely dynamic and confident offensively at the YOG. Loves to lead the rush, to control the blue line in the offensive zone, and to shoot the puck.
            15. Rieger Lorenz - We know there's gonna end up being some Canadians sprinkled into the first round, but they're not playing this year so I took my best guesses. Lorenz is a big kid committed to Denver. Had a couple good WSIs and scorched the CSSHL-U18, being named freshman of the year and finishing 23 points ahead of his closest teammate.
            16. Ryan Chesley
            17. Isaac Howard
            18. Nathan Gaucher - 6'3 late birthday had 7 points in 7 games while the Q was going this year.
            19. David Jiricek - Late birthday 2003 defenseman was in the top four on Czech WJC team and plays top four on his Czech Extraliga team.
            20. Noah Östlund - The numbers this year are pretty special, but it's a small sample size and he's only 5'9.
            21. Filip Mesar - 5'10 but highly skilled forward already playing in the top nine on his Extraliga team in Slovakia.
            22. Jack Devine - Hasn't been as dominant with the U18s as he was last year. Still big upside, but other prospects are passing him by.
            23. Nicholas Moldenhauer - He was not the 20th best player in the OHL draft. We know very well that it is often already decided under the table where top players will go prior to the draft ("there are plenty of NCAA teams calling, but if I'm drafted by the 67s...").
            24. Devin Kaplan - Big winger doing big numbers with the NTDP U17s this year.
            25. Jack Hughes
            26. Joakim Kemell
            26. Liam Arnsby
            28. Arseni Koromyslov
            29. Julian Lutz
            30. Tomas Hamara
            31. Danny Zhilkin - I remember liking his game at U17s back in 2019.
            32. Filip Bystedt - The 6'3 2020 TV-Pucken MVP.
            Last edited by matchesmalone; 01-28-2021, 03:07 AM.

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            • I've been doing a deep dive into distant future drafts.

              2023
              1. Connor Bedard - Looks generational to me in 2 or 3 viewings.
              2. Matvei Michkov - These top two are two of the most fun to watch prospects I've ever seen. Absolutely electric.
              3. Dalibor Dvorsky - Second only to Holtz in p/g by a U16 in U18 Elit. The only U16 besides Gaborik and Nemec to score a point in Slovakian Extraliga.
              4. Mikhail Gulyayev - Smooth-skating offensive defenseman played underage in U16 league and national championships last season and put up big numbers. Was also the only underage on the Soviet YOG team.
              5. Emil Jarventie - Josh called this one long before I was convinced. Now he's doing almost a p/g in Sarja U20 as a U16. Up there with the likes of Mikhail Granlund and Patrik Laine.
              6. Kalan Lind - He's been linemates with Heidt and Yaeger since the Brick, where he was the top scorer. A bit of a late bloomer physically, he was stuck in bantam last year while they were tearing up midget, but he's back leading the line this year.
              7. Theo Lindstein Another smooth-skating offensive defenseman, with remarkable puck control.
              8. Brayden Yaeger ​- Another member of this powerhouse Saskatoon line. Yaeger has the most NHL-translatable frame at this point.
              9. Jesse Nurmi - He was the primary triggerman on one of the most dominant offensive powerhouse teams the WSIs has yet seen. Having some difficulty adapting to older competition, but the potential is there.
              10. Kasper Halttunin - Big kid at already 6'3 and has suddenly emerged as a force in the Finnish youth leagues.
              11. Alex Weiermair
              12. Gracyn Sawchyn
              13. Ben Lalkin - Dynamic offensive forward whose highlights have already shown up on TSN.
              14. Dominik Petr
              15. Maxim Strbak - Big Slovakian defenseman has put up some numbers at WSIs and now in Finnish U18 league.

              2024
              1. Aron Kiviharju - Another possible generational prodigy.
              2. Alexei Dontsov - An electric offensive weapon. Both times I watched him against powerhouse Canadian teams in WestCan and ProHockey, Dontsov steals the show. Uses his teammates well but takes over games where appropriate.
              3. Berkly Catton - Incredibly impressive stats at every level. North-south offensive player and he can burn.
              4. Adam Jecho - Already 6'3, the Czech forward had a monster WSI U13s, and now is putting up all-time numbers in the Finnish U16 league.
              5. Ivan Demidov - Had a couple big WSIs with limited supporting cast and as the youngest player on his team.
              6. Alfons Freij - Swedish defenseman had a big WSI U13s, and now is doing all-time numbers in Swedish U16 league.
              7. Cole Eiserman - Just puts up staggering numbers everywhere he goes.
              8. Macklin Celebrini - He's a bit of a power forward. Throws some big hits. Some very impressive numbers too. Was linemates with Catton at WSIs and now with Eiserman at Shattuck St. Mary's.
              9. Henry Mews - Had a massive WSI U13s, running point on another offensive juggernaut team. Last season he led his league in scoring, as a defenseman.
              10. Michael Hage - Another kid with huge numbers everywhere he goes.
              Last edited by matchesmalone; 01-28-2021, 03:09 AM.

              Comment


              • Just a few quick notes. Miroshnichenko had his first big MHL game today with 3 points. He's now up to 7 in 7, which puts him on pace with any of the 2003 class. Trikozov had no points but 9 shots that game.

                Michkov had a hat trick today, which makes 3 straight 3 point games. He's now the highest p/g ever by a U17 in the 12 year history of MHL, just ahead of Nikita Kucherov, and he's less than a month shy of being a U16. I'm starting to wonder if he could actually challenge Bedard for 2023.

                Matthew Savoie had 2 goals the other night, bringing him up to 6 points in his first 3 USHL games. That's some pretty absurd numbers for a 16 year old in that league. I'm planning to try to catch a Dubuque game this weekend.

                Some more 2021-eligibles are finding homes. Carson Lambos is almost a p/g and averaging just over 20 mins a game in SM Sarja. Brennan Othmann has 15 points in 20 games in the Swiss 2nd league, which translates to about a flat p/g in junior. Cole Sillinger recently started in the USHL and Dylan Guenther in the AJHL. I'm still having a ton of trouble just figuring out my first overall for 2021, let alone the rest of the list. I'm currently leaning toward Brandt Clarke or Matthew Beniers for first overall.

                Comment


                • My 2021 first round. Unfortunately, my viewings are still pretty limited on most players, but I have at least one decent viewing on everyone listed except Xavier Bourgault. Still, compared to last year by the draft I had 15+ viewings on Holtz and Raymond, around 10 on Mukhamadullin and Amirov, and upwards of 5+ on almost every player in the first round. This year the only players I have 5+ viewing on are Beniers, Clarke, Lambos, Svechkov and Chibrikov. Due to this, and thus my lack of confidence in my rankings, I decided to include approximate number of viewings in parentheses for each player.

                  1. Matthew Beniers (10) - Not the most elite numbers, but he plays such a pro style game that essentially everything he does will translate to higher levels. Highly dynamic skater; tenacity and hustle are off the charts; exceptional defensively; IQ and vision are extraordinary. Hints of Dylan Larkin and Jonathan Toews.
                  2. Carson Lambos (5) - There are still some question marks, but his upside is as high as anyone in the draft. Absolutely dominant defensively in SM Sarja. At both the U17 Challenge and SM Sarja he goes end to end like it's a stroll in the park. Maybe not an elite skater but still quite fast and very smooth. Not afraid to make moves and attack defenders in the offensive zone. Only real concern is with some of his decision making with the puck. I can't help but see shades of P.K. Subban.
                  3. Brandt Clarke (5) - Elite all-around defenseman. Physical, good gap, good stick, high hockey IQ, great breakout pass under pressure - not as likely as Lambos or Hughes or Power to skate it up ice himself. Not sure just how high the offensive ceiling is. His best offensive tools are his vision and dynamic/deceptive skating. I see a little bit of Drysdale there with the quick, shifty pivots in the offensive zone, but not the same explosiveness to generate speed through those movements. I still like my original comparisons to Doughty and Josh Morrisson.
                  4. Luke Hughes (4) - Elite skater, very good defensively. Pretty pro-style game. Better offensive upside than Clarke and safer than Lambos. I seriously considered ranking him above either of them. He doesn't force the issue offensively like Lambos, but he creates more offense than Clarke, just by supporting and staying above the puck and letting things come to him. His skating doesn't hurt, either. Upside would be something like Keith or Josi, as they weren't expected to be superstars, but elite skating and just doing every little thing the right way goes a long way.
                  5. Kent Johnson (3) - Creativity is the name of the game. His skill level is immense and he's always trying things, never boring or predictable. Loves to curl back entering the offensive zone, but he'll also gladly spin off a forcheck in the defensive zone. Certainly not a north-south player. Sometimes he's more north-south-north. I don't mean to overplay how not-coach-friendly he is though, this isn't Antonio Stranges; he's more in the Cole Perfetti category of players who are going to drive pro coaches crazy. I made no qualms about not being a great Perfetti fan last year, but Johnson uses his teammates better, he's a better skater, and although he's about 15 lbs lighter, he's 3 inches taller. Upside ranges from Turris to Nylander or Giroux.
                  6. Owen Power (2) - Size, skill, hockey sense are all exceptional. He's very mobile for his size, but his skating is most impressive straight ahead. His quickness and agility are slightly worrisome. Also needs to be more aggressive and physical. Dougie Hamilton seems like an apt comparison.
                  7. Cole Sillinger (3) - A goal-scoring two-way center most known for his speed and shot. Very high hockey IQ, and dogged on the backcheck and forecheck. Not sure quite how high is the upside, but I'll be pretty shocked if he's not at least a good top nine forward. I'm sure there's an obvious comparison I'm missing but closest thing I can think of is Sebastian Aho.
                  8. William Eklund (2) - Maybe the most dynamic player in the draft. Constantly darting and shifting around - a bit like Rossi in last year's draft, but a more explosive skater. It looks like his skates are spring-loaded. Also like Rossi, he loves battling it out in front of the net despite his small stature. He sometimes reminds me of Johnny Gaudreau.
                  9. Dylan Guenther (2) - North-south winger with good size, good speed, high compete, and a well-rounded arsenal of skills. Loosely speaking, Pacioretty and Taylor Hall would be decent comparables.
                  10. Chaz Lucius (3) - Wonderful hockey sense and creativity. High end skills but no one thing that stands out as elite aside from his vision and awareness, which might be the best in the class. He scores a lot of goals partly because he has a great shot and likes to get to the net, but mainly because he is brilliant at reading and anticipating the play, hiding in coverage and slipping into openings with perfect timing. Same thing when he has the puck, he knows how to lay it perfectly into open areas for teammates to retrieve it. Excellent hands in tight too. Brayden Point would be a reasonable comparison.
                  11. Simon Edvinsson (5) - He's a huge defenseman who skates like the wind and has remarkable stick skills. But at both U17C and 5N-U17, he was simply awful defensively. He's already able to be something of an impact player offensively in the SHL, but his defensive play is severely limiting his opportunities. It's improved some over the past year, but he still makes some brutal reads.
                  12. Aatu Räty (2) - Good size and good skills, but he's been wildly inconsistent. Even at his best I don't see a future superstar. But he plays a pro style game, skates, battles and defends well. Should almost certainly be at least a top nine forward in the NHL, and likely top six.
                  13. Fabian Lysell (2) - Dynamic and ridiculously skilled. One of the most dangerous one-on-one threats in the draft, and he loves to try to make things happen offensively. Only real concerns are he's a little on the small side, and he sometimes wants to do too much by himself.
                  14. Fyodor Svechkov (7) - Highly skilled, remarkably clever offensive player. It is tempting to go along with popular opinion and rank Chibrikov ahead of him given the VHL stats, but it is more difficult to adapt to the pro game as a center. He's a good two-way player and strong on the puck as well. Only real concern is with his skating.
                  15. Zach Bolduc (3) - Good skater with good size. He's a power center at the junior level. Protects the puck well, wins battles, drives the net, good passer and shooter.
                  16. Jesper Wallstedt (2) - Could be the third straight year with a goalie in the top 15. Some think he's better than Knight or Askarov, but he is a year older than the other two were when drafted. Simply unreal numbers in SHL; in fact, he has put up pretty incredible numbers everywhere he goes.
                  17. Nikita Chibrikov (7) - Up there with Lysell, Eklund and Johnson as the most dynamic and purely skilled players in the draft, but he's also on the smaller side at 5'10. Able to create offense out of nothing, and he's more proven at higher levels, but I'm still not sold on his NHL-translatability.
                  18. Oskar Olausson (2)
                  19. Xavier Bourgault
                  20. Corson Ceulemans (1)
                  21. Mason McTavish (2) - Big bodied goal scorer. He was a tank at the U17 Challenge, not that he was throwing big hits, but he was able to physically impose his will to move around the ice and retrieve or protect the puck.
                  22. Stanislav Svozil (1)
                  23. Simon Robertsson (3) - Pro translatable winger with good size and good skills at the junior level, but I'm not sure how high is the upside.
                  24. Sasha Pastujov (2) - Highly skilled offensive player, seemed to make things happen every time he was on the ice at U17s. Some question marks with hockey sense and pro-translatability.
                  25. Daniil Chayka (4) - I've always found his game kinda boring, but I guess that's not a bad thing. Makes good, safe plays under pressure. Not gonna lead the rush or make stretch passes very often, but he makes short breakout plays and uses the boards when he needs to. The difference between him and some other bland, solid, safe two-way defensemen, as far as NHL potential is concerned, is that he is 6'3 and skates very well.
                  26. Brennan Othmann (2)
                  27. Kirill Kirsanov (2)
                  28. Zach L'Heureux (2)
                  29. Samu Salminen (1)
                  30. Anton Olsson (2) - Excellent two-way defenseman who has averaged almost 10 minutes per game over 24 SHL games this year. He also had some really impressive numbers at lower levels when he was younger, so you know there's some offensive upside there.
                  31. Aiden Hreschuk (2)
                  32. Daniil Lazutin (4)
                  Last edited by matchesmalone; 01-31-2021, 07:02 PM.

                  Comment


                  • Some corrections:

                    - Gleb Trikozov didn't actually play on the YOG team. But Ruslan Gazizov was the leader of the second line, and another potential 2022 first rounder.

                    - Kalan Lind hasn't played with Yaeger and Heidt "since the Brick". They did play together at the Brick as Team Saskatchewan, but primarily Heidt and Yaeger played for Martensdale while Lind played for Swift Current. Also I came across a blog claiming that Yaeger is supposed to be something of a phenom and should be in the top few of 2023. Just a fan, but seemed to broadly know what he was talking about. Also the fact that EP has him listed as a "top prospect".

                    - I realized that it may be a mistake to list Laakso as high as I did for 2022. As much as I like him based on tbe eye test, Sarja U18 would be (very roughly) equivalent to midget in North America. Any top 16 year old would be playing junior. That said, I say "very roughly" because there are so many different places for a 16 year old Canadian to go, for a Finn there is only the one U20 and the one U18 league. I mean, there are divisions, but there's no draft and you generally play for your hometown, and I'm not sure if the second u20 league would be much better than the top u18.

                    - I accidentally left Ludwig Persson off my 2022 list.

                    And some notes:

                    - Fyodor Svechkov had 3 points yesterday in VHL. I've been a whisper in the wind touting this guy as a top prospect, so good to finally see some evidence.

                    - Carson Lambos finally got into his first Liiga game, but only played seven mins. Problem is, this means i can no longer watch him, as Sarja games are available to stream for free, but Liiga is only on Telia.

                    - A poster on HF who I hold in very high regard - in fact probably my most trusted prospect source over there, and the guy who first alerted me to Stützle as a potential top five pick - has ranked William Eklund first overall for 2021. I found this very intriguing because I have such very limited viewings of Eklund, but as I said from what I've seen, he's probably the most dynamic offensive player in the draft, and I besides size I have no reason to argue against him at first, but without seeing more of his hockey sense, work habits, defensive play, etc., I can't really get behind it either. I'm definitely open to it though, as nobody has really cemented the top spot yet, and there's clearly tremendous upside there.

                    Comment


                    • I noticed, as I kind of expected, that McGroarty is starting to close the gap on Isaac Howard in the second half as they're playing mostly USHL teams now. Early on Howard was racking up numbers against mostly NAHL teams. Thier p/g against USHL teams are almost identical. Actually Nazar has the best USHL numbers of any of them, and Logan Cooley and Devin Kaplan are right up there too. Meanwhile, Maddox Flemming and Cutter Gauthier, who were considered among the top players coming into the season, have struggled.

                      On the subject of USHL, Cole Sillinger is up to 9 goals in 9 games. Kid is for real.

                      And since I've been gushing about Miroshnichenko's vision and passing ability lately, here's a few clips. He's #53 with Yastreby (red).

                      https://youtu.be/ProxChGz9sk?t=1928

                      https://youtu.be/ProxChGz9sk?t=5990

                      https://youtu.be/4QwtokNArug?t=4188

                      Note also in the first clip how he bounces off the defenseman into his curlback. That's the shit I love to see from Miro. I'd recommend watching the replay to see just how perfectly placed was that pass. And then the third clip, the way he protects the puck down low, and then to spin and nail that pass perfectly through a sea of skates and sticks. If that doesn't look like a future NHL superstar power forward, I dunno what would. I'm drafting this kid first round in fantasy 2022.
                      Last edited by matchesmalone; 02-09-2021, 12:55 AM.

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                      • Well, I couldn't sleep tonight, and then I remembered Omskie was playing (early tomorrow morning game over there) so I got up and watched. I know I keep saying Miro is gradually working up to playing his style at this level - well he's there. Back to the rabid dog I'd come to expect; it's not just that he's strong and quick, he's just so goddamn ferocious after the puck. Had a solid reverse hit, which I always love. And I was watching live so couldn't take highlights yet, but I took notes, and there's one shift I can't wait to show people - he stickhandles through a traffic jam in front of the net, and then a few seconds later he's in a battle on the boards and he falls down but still ends up coming away with the puck.

                        Trikozov has a bit of a power game to him too. Nothing like Miro, but he protects the puck well, wins some battles, and occasionally he'll get cut off along the boards but manages to squeeze through with puck possession. I also mentioned that he might be a good defensive player, and I saw some more flashes of that tonight. Only flashes, but that means something for a 16 year old at this level. Also hardly any stupid plays tonight. Actually I'm not sure I noticed any - which is something, because they were coming fast and furious the first couple games I watched. I wouldn't call his skating dynamic, but he seems very fast at times, although more often he's somewhat lackadaisical and just kinda glides, so it's hard to get a good read. I'm becoming more and more confident this is at least a top ten pick. But of course that's easy to say when I'm not watching much of the other players for that draft.

                        By the way, the U17 NTDPs played a two game series against Utica, a DIII college, and Seamus Casey scored in both games. Kid could be special.

                        Since I'm on the 2022 draft, I still keep seeing fans over on HF talking about Wright, Savoie and Lambert as a big three. Ugh. Pure stat-watchers I would imagine. I really thought now that Miro is playing in the MHL people would start to see what I've been seeing for a year now, but I guess they need an authority figure to tell them what to think first. Even just from the stats, despite missing the first half and coming in rusty while the rest of the league is in mid-season form, he has the 5th best p/g all-time from a U17 (min 10 games). And this is the type of player who is so much more than the stats will show. I was wondering when he'll get a look in the KHL, but Omsk is currently third place in the league, so that's gonna be a tough lineup to crack.

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                        • Man, those Miro clips.. guy has vision for days. You can't teach that. 2022 is such a strong class.

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                          • I watched a couple more games from Michigan. I'm gradually liking Owen Power more and more. Noticing a bit more physicality from him. Still not what you'd like to see from a guy his size, but I guess to be fair he's 18 in a league of 21 and 22 year old men. Still a little worried about the quickness and skating agility, but I guess that's pretty normal for a guy this size. He's not the skater that Byfield is, but I like Power's quickness in reaction time better. Power's stick skills are kinda meh, but he really knows how to use his body to protect the puck, and once he gains steam coming through the neutral zone it is really tough to knock him off the puck. Shows some pretty impressive vision at times. I'm becoming more impressed with his defending, but still not blown away; has a good stick and uses his reach well.

                            A couple of pretty silly plays with the puck by Kent Johnson. I still like him better than Perfetti, but then he's also a year older than Perfetti was so it's tough to say. But even assuming they're about even, Johnson should go a bit earlier since it's a bit weaker a draft class.

                            Beniers just still doing Beniers. I remember noticing in one of my first viewing on him last season that he tried to spin back on a guy in the corner and blew a tire. It happened again one of these last games. Might be something to keep an eye on, but most of the time his edges look pretty slick.

                            I also caught another game from Brandt Clarke, and the stream was perfect for once. Man oh man, he's been starting to put up numbers, and you can really see his confidence coming along and he's starting to make some plays. I also went back and watched another Canada Black game from U17s (mainly wanted to look at Wright, but I kinda forgot just how good Clarke had looked there). As I kept raving about Raymond last year, the most impressive thing with Clarke is that based on his U17s we know he has really high end skill, but then you see him play pro and he's just such a smart, safe, responsible player. But whereas Raymond was in a much better league, and only showed the occasional flash of his immense skill at the pro level, it looks like Clarke is able to start bringing it with some consistency at this level. And he's picking his spots wonderfully, still the safe, responsible D first, but makes plays where available.

                            I'm thinking Clarke may supplant Beniers at the top of my list; and Beniers and Clarke are sitting somewhat safely as my top two for right now, but Power would probably be number three, especially after Lambos struggled to get minutes in his first couple Liiga games. It would be nice to start seeing just a little more creativity and/or stick skills from Beniers.

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                            • Chaz Lucius played his first game of the season last night. Two goals.

                              So, I was way outside the consensus when I ranked Sillinger 4-7 in my last couple rankings. Now I've noticed two of the most well-informed prospect people on HFSens have been saying how underrated Sillinger is. Yawn. People who follow HOH Prospect Watch have known this literally for years. Well over a year anyway.

                              Got me thinking about how much my scouting as improved over the past few years. I loved scouting back in the day, but I wasn't all that good at it. Daryl Belfry was so crucial in my renaissance as a scout. After reading him and hear him talk so intelligently about skills - as if there is cutting edge research and development going on behind it - and talk about how most scouting reports and media outlets embarrassingly underestimate the intelligence of their fans, providing such lame, half-ass, generic evaluation and analysis. So rather than just saying a player's skating, passing or whatever is good, bad, ok, etc., I've been working towards finding ways to break these down into more specific components and trying to provide actual insight that says something about the player as an individual. And what you start to notice is, every player is completely unique, and you can find interesting things to say about every one.

                              I stopped focusing so much on prospects for a few years while the Sens were competitive, and it was during that time that I made enormous strides in my understanding of the game, devouring every single media availability from Guy Boucher and John Tortorella - in my opinion two of the geniuses of the game today - as well as Belfry and a handful of other sources. I would then take what I learned from them, and watch how it was applied in games, and then I would try to implement it into my own game on chel, and that was where the biggest growth occurred. It is one thing to watch how decisions play out in a game, but another thing entirely to go through it yourself and understand how it works, why it works, what can stop it from working, and how to adjust accordingly.

                              Probably the biggest thing I learned from listening to Torts was about deception. I mean, obviously great offensive players are deceptive, but it really hit me when he talked about young players needing to learn to respect the league, because they can do all kinds of things at lower levels, but elite defensive players in the NHL will bait them into thinking they have a play, only to take it away. And so I came to understand and try to pay attention to the little chess matches that are going on all over the ice.

                              The big thing I'm thinking about this year is positional defense versus making plays defensively. It was something I'd already been kinda thinking about because of Carson Lambos, but Torts got me thinking about it more systematically. He was talking about how the Jackets this year are playing well defensively as far as controlling the middle of the ice, but at the cost of giving teams time on the outside, and letting good players make plays out of the corners. So they need to be better at stepping up and making plays defensively. Lambos is a great case study for this, because he's phenomenal at the junior levels at jumping up to break up plays, but it leaves you to wonder how well that will translate to the NHL level if he's taking himself out of position to do it, and going back to the point about deceptiveness - if elite offensive players will lead you to believe you can step up to make a defensive play only to burn you.

                              It's also really interesting to watch the difference between Miro and Trikozov in this regard, as I've raved about Trikozov making defensive plays, and complained about wishing Miro was a little more active defensively, and yet Miro is the one who is already a regular PKer for their team. This is because Miro is so good positionally; he makes good defensive plays when the puck is in his vicinity, but doesn't go chasing after it. Trikozov is not so sound positionally, but he makes some defensive plays that look remarkably impressive because he hustles and covers a lot of distance to break up plays just in time before they develop into dangerous scoring chances.
                              Last edited by matchesmalone; 02-20-2021, 10:23 PM.

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                              • Just wanna mention a few players who I've seen a decent amount of now but haven't said much about here yet. Mats Lindgren looks excellent for Canada at YOGs. He's a more dynamic and offensively talented defenseman than Luneau, although obviously not the same all-around ability. He's listed at 5'10, so perhaps he could be a legit NHL prospect. 2022-eligible. Nate Danielson was also very impressive. He's a bit of a power winger with some good skills. Late birthday so not draft eligible until 2023. And Ilya Kvochko, I've now seen a handful of times between YOG and Stalnye (when I'm watching Yurov) - he's a two-way center with impressive skills, but only 5'9. 2022-eligible. And then Matvei Petrov for 2021 - he's a highly dynamic skater with NHL size at 6'2. Should go in the first three rounds or so for sure.

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