USHL/USDP Forward Prospects

 

Here are the top point producing forwards from the USHL / US national development program.

Player League PTS/G
Clayton Keller (C) USDP 1.68519
Rem Pitlick (C) USHL 1.58929
Kieffer Bellows (C/LW) USDP 1.33333
Cameron Morrison (C/LW) USHL 1.1
Collin Adams (LW) USHL 1.0339
Grant Jozefek (RW) USHL 0.94643
Hugh McGing (C) USHL 0.85
Wade Allison (RW) USHL 0.83929
Joey Anderson (RW) USDP 0.82143
Matt Filipe (C/LW) USHL 0.64286
Max Zimmer (LW) USHL 0.62963
Trent Frederic (C) USDP 0.62264
Walker Duehr (F) USHL 0.60526
David Keefer (RW) USHL 0.56897
William Knierim (RW) USHL 0.50943

I listed out my top

Clayton Keller (Projection Top 15 Pick)

  • POS: C / Shoots: Left / H: 5’10’’ / DOB: 1998-07-29
  • Last Word on Sports: Clayton Keller has the skill to be a top notch forward, if he can overcome his size issues. Those make him a bit of a risky pick, but with more and small players succeeding in the NHL, we don’t see this as a huge issue. He will need some time to gain the weight necessary to stand up to the rigors of the pro game though. Keller’s style is reminiscent of Doug Gilmour, though this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on talent.
  • Draft Site: Smaller with a high skill set. A high speed player who acquires pucks and can generate chances for linemates almost instantaneously. Has seen time of the PK besides the PP. he is agile and the high level at which he can control the puck at top speed is a joy to watch. On his carries, he can go from the perimeter to the greasy areas and see his options and make plays. Has an excellent release and shot. Both confident and patient with the biscuit.
    Fours S’s apply to this St. Louis area-Illinois born prospect: Speed, smarts, skill and small. There is no question that playing along side Kieffer Bellows (and Joey Anderson) has given him more room to improve as a player. Needs to get much stronger in his climb up the ladder rungs. Committed to Boston University. —Bill Placzek—
  • Clayton Keller is a high end offensive player with a late birthday. Keller’s closets comparision from the last 10 years are Milano (1.56), Roslovic (1.52) from the US National Development team & USHL offensive stars Jaden Schwartz (1.38) & Kyle Connor (1.42).

 

Kiefer Bellows (Projected Top 30)

  • POS: C/LW / Shoots: Left / H: 6’1’’ / W: 194 lbs /DOB: June, 10, 1998
  • Elite Prospects: Kieffer Bellows is a skilled power forward that can dominate games. Possesses high end puckhandling ability as well as a crisp, accurate release on his shot. Proficient forechecker and loves to win puck battles, which stands out as a consistent part of his game. Strong skater that can bull through the opposition or go around them. Drives the net hard and is a decisive finisher. All-in-all, a competitor that punishes the opposition physically, as well as on the scoreboard. (Curtis Joe, EP 2016)
  • Scouting Post: Fine skater with ability to separate in the open ice with rapid acceleration. Wicked shot and high-level hockey sense combine to make him a danger to score on every shift. He drifts into open seams in the offensive zone and puts himself into prime scoring areas.
  • The Hockey Writers: Bellows possesses a rocket of a shot, very powerful and accurate. His elite shot was the best of the (5 Nations) tournament, his net presence too. He had a nose for the net, was very hard to move away and defenders didn’t manage to prevent him from executing rebounds. He is a strong skater, showed good balance on the skates and played with drive to the net.

Cameron Morrison (2nd Round)

  • POS: LW / Shoots: Left / H: 6’2 / DOB: Aug, 27, 1998
  • Redline Report: Big winger Cameron Morrison first caught our attention in early August at Team Canada’s U-18 evaluation camp. We loved the way he moved so fluidly and his shot … move(d) to Youngstown in the United States Hockey League, and has been lighting up the scoresheet.
  • Youngstown Phantoms: Assistant General Manager Jason Koehler Says: “Morrison is the top goal scorer I saw this season while scouting. He has the ability to be a standout top-six scoring line winger, and has outstanding size, sense, and goal scoring ability. In my opinion, he has the chance to be a top-three round NHL Draft selection in the 2016 draft.”
  • Cameron Morrison is likely to be chosen in the middle of the second round pick. He’s one of the youngest players in the draft and has put up point per game totals similar too Brock Boesner (1.19), Zemgus Girgensons (1.12) & Jordan Greenway (.91).

Joey Anderson (2nd Round)

  • POS: RW / Shoots: Right / 5’11 / DOB: June, 19, 1998
  • Chris Dilks from SB Nation: The thing I love about Anderson though is that he plays with such a high motor. He competes really hard, and has some nice skill to back that up. He’s not a guy that drives possession, but is very good in the right role.
  • I worry about Anderson’s offense given that he’s not a big player and has spent time with Keller and. I think high-end he’s likely a 2nd line complementary player with a more realistic shot at being a 3rd line player. His scouting reports looks like a player in the mold of Ryan Callahan.

Trent Frederic (2nd – 3rd Round)

  • POS: C / Shoots: L / H: 6’2 / DOB: Feb, 11, 1998
  • Draft Site: Centre with good size who plays strong on the puck and good puckhandling skills. More of a North-South straight line skater with little lateral mobility. Displays a very good shot, with nice release. He might project as a future left wing, but he really needs to add to his offensive game and add more creativeness to his attacking skills.
  • Frederic is rated as a second round pick or early third round. He’s has good size with high upside and drawn comparison to James Van Riemsdyk.

Matt Filipe (3rd Round)

  • POS: C-LW / Shoots: L / H: 6’2 / DOB: Dec, 31, 1997
  • Filipe is rated as a 3rd round pick by NHL scouting. He has good size, but the offense is a little shy. He was compared to Erik Foley (drafted 2015), but Foley put up nearly a point per game in his draft year. Add to that that Filipe is a late birthday, I’d caution taking him inside the top 100 picks. If he was in the 4th – 5th round I would take a chance on him.   USHL.com: “He’s a good player,” one Western Conference scout said. “His game has started to come on. I like his skating and probably his whole skill set. He’s starting to put up some good numbers.”

Wade Allison  (5 – 6th round)

  • POS: RW / Shoots: Right / H: 6’2 / DOB: Oct, 14, 1997
  • Allison is rated as a 6th or 7th round pick right now. “Wade is a prototypical power forward that is big, physical and skates well,” said head coach Bill Muckalt. “Those are all important attributes.”

Max Zimmer (5 – 6th round)

  • POS: LW / H: 5’11 / DOB: Oct. 29, 1997
  • Zimmer is rated as a 3rd – 4th round pick. Zimmer had a strong World Junior A Challenge with 8 points in 5 games. In league play he was a little shy offensively but has been projected a little better. “I like how he projects,” one NHL Western Conference scout “He’s a smart player with a real good skill set. He can really skate.”

Walker Duehr

  • POS: RW / H: 6’2’’ / DOB:
  • Considering Duehr had knee surgery in July he’s had a fairly good impact this season. He looks like a strong buy low candidate with a good work ethic. Prior to his injury OTB on HFboards stated; His skating mechanics are strong and will only improve with added strength, Duehr plays with frenetic intensity at times and can be the definition of disruptive.

William Knierim (6th – 7th Round)

  • POS: RW / Shoots: Right / H: 6’3 / DOB: Jan, 22, 1998
  • com: Knierim is a big guy that has some real upside. “He possesses real good size,” an opposing GM said. “He gets up and down the ice well for a big man. He has a physical element to his game.” “Knierim isn’t afraid to play physical. “He plays hard and likes traffic,” one scout said.

Rem Pitlick (6th – 7th Round)

  • POS: Center / Shoots: Left / H: 5’9’’ / W: 190 lbs /DOB: Apr, 2, 1997
  • USA Hockey: “The returns he’s getting on his work ethic; he’s understanding that the harder he works, the more returns he’s going to get,” Todd Krygier (Head Coach) said. “Other guys will be gone, and an hour after practice he’s still shooting pucks at our shooting station. … He does a lot of extra work that people don’t see or know. … This stuff just doesn’t happen by mistake.”
  • Rem Pitlick, son of former NHLer Lance Pitlick, had bulked up putting on 20+ pounds of muscle and a move to center helped with his sudden spike in point production this past season., A point comparison would be Kevin Roy who was also drafted as an overager (like Pitlick) and scored 1.76 Pts/G. Roy, the former 4th round pick of Anahiem, just signed a two-year deal with the Ducks.

 

Matt Gosiewski (6th – 7th Round)

  • POS: C / Shoots: Left / H: 6’4 / DOB: May, 10, 1998.
  • Over the Boards: Gosiewski’s size and ability to make plays are impressive for a skater any age in prep school – it becomes unignorable once you note his age. Vision, puck patience and deceptive plays in the zone highlight his offensive faculties, but his stride is smooth, he gets to a nice speed and can be a force surging up the ice.
  • Gosiewski is likely a 7th round pick if he get selected at all.       Although he doesn’t deliver high end offense (.33 Pts/G) he has excellent size and the ablity to play center. He will spend next season in USHL and then is committed to Harvard. He would be a good draft and follow player with a late round pick.

US National Development

These are additional USND program forwards that are on the draft radar.

  1. William Lockwood – POS: RW / H: 5’10 / DOB: June, 20, 1998 / PTS/G: .5
  2. Keenan Suthers – POS: LW / H: 6’7 / DOB: Apr, 27, 1998 / PTS/G: .22
  3. Graham McPhee – POS: LW / H: 5’11 / DOB: July, 24, 1998 / PTS/G: .25
  4. Nick Pastujov – POS: LW / H: 6’ / DOB: Jan, 21, 1998 / PTS/G: .32
  5. James Sanchez – POS: LW / H: 6’2 / DOB: Feb, 25, 1998 / PTS/G: .28
  6. Zach Zalker – POS: F / H: 6’ / DOB: Aug, 2, 1998 / PTS: .16

Smaller Forwards

Players that are on the smaller side (6’ and under) with good but not great offensive production, are likely not worth a draft pick. This player type can most likely be signed as a free agent after four years of college than an NHL draft pick. You can sign players like these every March/April. So perhaps they are worth a 7th round pick but more often than note they go undrafted.

  1. Tanner Laczynski – POS: RW / Shoots: R / H: 6’ / DOB: June, 1, 1997: PTS: 1.21
  2. Collin Adams (POS: C / Shoots: L / H: 5’9 / DOB: Apr, 24, 1998): PTS/G 1.03
  3. Grant Jozefek (POS: RW / Shoots: L / H: 5’10 / DOB: Oct., 25, 1997): PTS/G .94
  4. Hugh McGing (POS: C Shoots: L / H: 5’8 DOB: July, 7, 1998): PTS/G – .85
  5. David Keefer (POS: RW / H: 5’9 / DOB: Oct, 21, 1997

 

Junior A Defenseman

Player (POS) League GP PTS pts/g
Dante Fabbro (D) BCHL 45 67 1.4889
Brinson Pasichnuk (D) AJHL 52 65 1.25
Dennis Cholowski (D) BCHL 50 40 0.8
Matthew Cairns (D) OJHL 46 33 0.71739
Derek Topatigh (D) OJHL 49 34 0.69388
Sam Dunn (D) OJHL 47 19 0.40426
Owen Grant (D) CCHL 57 23 0.40351

 

 

Dante Fabbro

  • POS: Defense / Shoots: R / H: 6’1 W: 185 / DOB June, 20, 1998
  • The Draft Analyst: Fabbro likes to play an up-tempo game, breaking out of his zone with either short bursts of speed or a hard, accurate head man. He can identify and exploit gaps, including ones with a closing window of opportunity. He has above-average balance and the type of coast-to-coast ability to thwart tight-checking schemes. Crossing the red line is rarely an adventure, as he will either slow down the pace or take the puck wide and into the opposing zone. He has very good hands and can handle a tough pass during the back-and-forth nature of a power play. Fabbro possesses a very good shot and an early-season issue with accuracy seems to have been rectified.
  • Elite Prospects: Dante Fabbro is a dependable two-way defenseman with high offensive upside. He plays with poise and makes mature, high-percentage decisions under pressure. In his own end, he is proactive with both his body and stick, and does everything right to interrupt passing lanes and win back possession. With the puck on his stick, he is mobile at an elite level and can direct plays like a quarterback. He possesses a hard and accurate release on his shot, that he gets off quickly and on-net. All-in-all, a complete defenseman that plays a refined game at both ends of the ice. (Curtis Joe, EP 2015) – See more at: http://www.eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=247041#sthash.jD8KTkiD.dpuf
  • Dobbers Prospects: March 2016 – Dante Fabbro is gifted offensive defenseman who has shown to be capable of dominating puck possession in his two seasons with the Penticton Vees of the BCHL. Fabbro combines agile skating, lateral mobility, and near elite speed when evading defenders as he rushes the puck up ice into the attacking zone. Deadly efficient on the powerplay, Dante is best when he has the puck on his stick as he can spot team mates with breakout passes and release a strong, accurate point shot from the blue line. Though tabbed as an offensive d-man, Fabbro is also effective in the defensive zone as he is extremely effective in puck retrieval, even under pressure, and is strong in transition. Fabbro is committed to attending Boston University in the NCAA next season. – Aynsley Scott

 

Brinson Pasichnuk

  • POS: Defense / Shoots: Left / H: 6’ / W: 190 lbs /DOB: Nov, 11, 1997
  • Bonnyville Nouvelle: “What people focus on with Brinson’s game is his offensive statistics, however it is important to recognize that he plays the game the right way and plays in all key defensive situations,” said Rick Swan, head coach and GM of the Bonnyville Pontiacs. “The honor is well deserved and we only expect him to be better as the season progresses.”

 

Dennis Cholowski

  • POS: Defense / Shoots: Left / H: 6’1 / W: 170 lbs /DOB: Feb. 15, 1998
  • com: Four way skating defender who has seemed to go from a tiny midget defenseman into a six foot elite skating offenseman. Calm, confident and aware from his end all the way up to the attack zone. Plays on both the PK and the PP where his vision and elusiveness already make him a strong competitor. He will continue to work on strengthening his shot and over all physicality in the weight room. He started at 5’ 8” and projects to be 6’ 3”.
    Committed to St. Cloud State University. –Bill Placzek—
  • The Hockey House: Dennis Cholowski, D (West):The lone NHL Central Scouting B-rated prospect from the CJHL, Chilliwack Chiefs defenseman Dennis Cholowski is quickly making a name for himself in his sophomore BCHL campaign. An early 1998-born blueliner, Cholowski is a great skater that isn’t afraid to pinch in offensively, something he does very effectively. A year ago, the then-16-year-old defender made the decision to commit to St. Cloud State University in the NCAA, a huge accomplishment for a defenseman still years away from actually making the transition. Cholowski already sees time on the powerplay, and after growing five inches since his first BCHL game back in 2013, size could become another asset of his once he learns to use it. With some strong defenseman gracing Canada’s West blue line at the WJAC, Cholowski will likely be one of the most dominant forces on a team that features potential top ten NHL draft pick Dante Fabbro.

Matthew Cairns

  • POS: Defense / Shoots: Left / H: 6’2 W: 190 / DOB: April, 27, 1998
  • Penalty Box Radio: A big-bodied, big-minute blue line cruncher, Cairns has the ability to quarter-back a power-play and put up solid offensive numbers, mostly in the assist column. However, he’s much more effective acting as a quiet, shutdown defenseman, so he isn’t the guy you’d rely on to score a big goal from the point in the final game of the Stanley Cup Finals. Instead, the reigning OJHL champion can move the puck around in any zone without losing focus and never seems to get rattled, despite being physical at times.

Derek Topatigh

 

  • POS: Defense / Shoots: Right / H: 5’11 W: 175 / March, 3, 1997
  • The Draft Analyst: Defenseman Derek Topatigh, a Princeton recruit, was excellent in generating offense from the blueline, displaying a quick first step, aggressive pinches and a patient outlook when controlling the play. He only had one assist in four games, but he nonetheless left a good impression on us.

Sam Dunn

  • POS: Defense / Shoots: Right / H: 6’2 W: 195 / March, 11, 1998
  • Draft Site: Big defender with great wheels and lateral mobility, who projects as top four player. –Bill Placzek

Owen Grant

  • POS: Defense / Shoots: Right / H: 5’11 W: 185 /       Jan, 22, 1998
  • The Draft Analyst: As far as first-year draft eligibles for 2016, offensive defenseman Owen Grant (Vermont) was impressive in all three zones.

 

10 Thoughts

  • Dante Fabbro’s 1.49 Pts/G is the highest a defenseman since 2005.       The previous highest in the past 10 years was Michael Prapavessis’s 1.15 Pts/G in the OJHL. The previous highest Pts/G by a BCHL defenseman was Josh Manson’s .8 Pts/G.
  • Fabbro’s scouting report has him listed as a two-way defender and has drawn comparison to Tyson Barrie and Ryan McDonagh. Fabbro or his teammate Jost will likely be the highest Canadian junior player drafted since Kyle Turris. Fabbro will likely be the highest defenseman drafted this century.
  • One player that was missing from this list is Dean Stewart.       A 6’2 defenseman from the MJHL that’s committed to the U of Nebraska-Omaha. Stewart is a late birthday (June, 12, 1998) and averaged .52 pts/g this past year. He then put up 12 points in 8 games in the playoffs. Stewart was ranked No. 125 among North American skaters on the NHL Central Scouting Service midterm ranking of the top prospects for 2016 NHL Draft.
  • Derek Topatigh is in his second draft class. The year before he had averaged .5 Pts/G.
  • There were 16 Players scored .70+ Pts/G during their draft year.       Five of the defenseman played in the NHL; Brendan Smith, Josh Manson, Colton Parayko, Ben Hutton & Justin Schultz. All 5 look to be on target to play 100+ games.   That’s a strong number and doesn’t include several prospects still developing most notably – Jake Walman.
  • There were 24 players drafted below .7 Pts/G. Four defenseman played in an NHL game; Julian Melchiori, Andrew MacWilliam , Mark Borowiecki, Dylan Olsen.   Two of the defenseman have played 100+ games.       Dylan Olsen is former first round pick that is a long shot to play more than 200 games. The chances of playing 100+ games drops by roughly 20%.
  • There were five defenseman who averaged .6 Pts/G over their NCAA career. Four of the five defenseman went onto play in the NHL – Justin Schultz, Brendan Smith, Jake Walman, Colton Parayko & Ben Hutton. Jake Walman has yet to sign in with his NHL team. All 5 scored above .7 Pts/60 in their Junior A draft year.
  • Brinson Pasichnuk is a defenseman that is intriguing. Outside of Fabbro he has the highest Pts/G total of any previously drafted Canadian Junior defenseman in the past 10 years. He’s also a good skating, physical defenseman. Brinson was in on roughly 30% of all goals the Bonnyville Pontiacs played in this past season. For comparison Fabbro was in on roughly 32% of his teams offensve for games that he played in.  My main concern is, I believe, he’s committed to Arizona State which is not a strong program.
  • Here are the top 5 players that I consider drafting;
    1. Dante Fabbro – Top 15 Pick
    2. Dennis Cholowski – Top 60 Pick – Good two-way defender.
    3. Brinson Pasichnuk – 5th Round or later
    4. Matt Cairns – 5th Round or later – Good size can move the puck.
    5. Dean Stewart – 5th Round or later – Good size right hand shot.
  • I would be concerned that Derek Topatigh, Sam Dunn & Owen Grant do not bring enough offense.  Although they are all Right-hand shot defenders.

NHL Prospects: Canadian Junior Forwards

The Canadian Junior-A level typically has between 5 – 10 players drafted in the entry draft. Here is a look at the forwards who may have their named called this June in Buffalo.

Player (POS) League GP PTS pts/g
Tyson Jost (C/LW) BCHL 48 104 2.1667
Colin Grannary (LW/RW) BCHL 55 76 1.3818
Jack Jeffers (F) OJHL 45 61 1.3556
Josh Dickinson (C) OJHL 47 53 1.1277
Christopher Berger (LW) OJHL 45 52 1.1556
Justin Young (C) AJHL 56 60 1.07143
Luke Keenan (C) OJHL 43 44 1.02326
Brett Murray (LW) CCHL 48 46 0.95833
Liam Finlay (RW) BCHL 51 49 0.96078
Kyle Betts (C) BCHL 47 43 0.91489

 

Tyson Jost

  • POS: Center / Shoots: Right / H: 6’ / W: 190 lbs /DOB: Mar, 17, 1998
  • Elite Prospects: Tyson Jost is a crafty goal-scorer that carries out plays as quickly as he envisions them. As someone who thinks and plays at a fast tempo, it comes as no surprise that he creates a lot of energy as an offensive catalyst. He sees the ice very well and has the willingness and determination to win battles in the tough areas. All-in-all, a dynamic offensive forward with top-6 potential at the next level. (Curtis Joe, EP 2016)
  • The Draft Analyst: Jost has an excellent shot to compliment his extraordinary passing acumen, using soft hands and a quick release to turn a bad pass in his skates into a well-placed attempt at the net. Jost’s shot accuracy is top notch, and he will beat you from the inside of the ice or outside from his arsenal of moves. He is a three-zone center with decent size who will not necessarily avoid physical play, and he’s shown to control the puck while taking a beating.
  • DraftSite.com: Shifty centre with impressive feet and stickhandling ability. Can stickhandle in a phone booth. A team leader who on the ice and in the room. Great vision and recognition in the offensive end, so he spreads away from teammates and then pinpoint passes to their sticks on the give and go. A terrific finisher with a great shot. Disciplined worker in his own zone. Wins puck battles and turns them into chances. He knows where to place himself so that the puck can find him. Makes his teammates better. Not the finished product and needs more, lower body strength and muscle. He has committed to the University of North Dakota. –Bill Placzek

Colin Grannary

  • POS: C-RW Shoots: Right H: 6’ / W: 170 / DOB: Sept, 24, 1997
  • USA Today: Colin Grannary (28 goals, 74 points) was the best forward on the ice all night for either team and was named Team West player of the game for his efforts. The Merritt Centennials’ center refused to quit on pucks all night and was relentless in the offensive zone. He showcased tremendous speed, stops/starts and pivots. Grannary also provided all the offense Team West could muster with their only goal, and skated around Team East’s defense with ease. Red Line’s man in attendance was impressed with his strong work ethic, and described a slippery player who was hard to catch and provided energy every shift. He was noticeable every shift and also terrific in the faceoff circle.
  • Zachary DeVine Grannary was a fine mix of skill, tenacity, speed, and desire. Noticed on the ice nearly every shift, created scoring chances offensively for himself and teammates. Needs some help defensively, but forechecking was smart and effective.

Jack Jeffers

  • POS: Center / Shoots: Left / H: 6’ / W: 175 / DOB: Sept, 21, 1997

InsideHalton “He’s an elite skater, an NHL-type skater,” Mark Jooris Burlington Cougars coach said. “He’s got very good poise and vision with the puck.” But Jooris wasn’t always thrilled with how those skills were being utilized. Too often, he saw Jeffers taking shortcuts in the defensive zone, looking to spring the next rush. So after a dismal 11-win season came to an end, he sat down with the 6-foot, 170-pound centre. “We had a very candid conversation,” Jooris said. “I said, ‘Do you want to help this team be successful or do you want to go play shinny?’ Some kids will say, ‘Yeah, I’ll do it,’ but he’s 100 per cent bought in. He’s playing the right way, both ways. It’s been great to see.”

Josh Dickinson

  • POS: C / Shoots: L / H: 6’2 / W: 185 / DOB Nov, 17, 1997
  • ProspectsHockey.wordpress.com: “Dickinson is a smooth skating, offensively skilled centre,” said Marr. “With strong offensive hockey sense, he is a very good playmaker and knows how to be in the right place at the right time. Dickinson’s quick to recognize opportunity and has shown a good scoring touch. His game has continued to grow and improve over the course of the season.”

Christopher Berger

  • POS: LW / Shoots: L / H: 5’10 / W: 170 / DOB: Apr, 14, 1998
  • The Draft Analyst: A feisty and physical yet undersized forward who can play in all situations at either the wing or up the middle, Berger is an explosive offensive talent who likes to use his powerful leg drive and tenacity to wreak havoc on opponents during the forecheck. Berger, who was drafted by Des Moines and committed to Brown University (ECAC), is the perfect player for the half-court game, so to speak, in that he can change the momentum of a relatively stagnant game either from relentless pressure or top-end skill. He’s a very good stickhandler who keeps the puck close to his body to limit poke checks and turnovers, so he’s a good option to man the wall on the power play.
  • SBN College Hockey: “– He’s not overly big, but he does a good job of maneuvering through traffic with a combination of speed and good puck skills. He did a nice job distributing the puck as well as finding the back of the net here this week.”

Justin Young

  • POS: C / Shoots: R / H: 6’ / W: 175 / DOB: Dec, 23, 1997
  • Alaska Nanooks: “Justin is a very coachable player that does all of the little things right. He is a complete player that can play in all situations. Justin has matured into a good leader and is very well respected by his teammates, staff and within the community. We are very proud of his commitment to the Nanooks and look forward to working with Justin on his preparation for college hockey,” Young’s head coach Joey Bouchard described of the forward.

Luke Keenan

  • POS: C / Shoots: L / H: 6’1 / W: 185 / DOB: July, 22, 1998
  • wordpress.comIn his own zone Keenan has shutdown forward capabilities, clogging shooting and passing lanes effectively, anticipating the play with effectiveness while displaying strong positional play. Tenacious in puck pursuit, Keenan takes direct routes to pucks, engages physically and shows an aggressiveness on the forecheck.

Brett Murray

Liam Finley

  • POS: RW / Shoots: R / H: 5’7 / 155 / DOB: Feb, 2, 1997
  • Hockey Now: Vipers head coach Mark Ferner said, Finlay has a good hockey IQ and succeeds despite his size, comparing him to skilled, undersized NHL forwards like Johnny Gaudreau and Tyler Johnson.

Kyle Betts

  • POS: C / Shoots: L / H: 6’ / W: 165 / DOB: Sept, 17, 1997
  • Kyle Betts commits to Cornell. A smart, offensive minded pivot with good feet/explosiveness. He’s had a heck of a past 18 months. — Sean Lafortune (@SeanLafortune)April 30, 2015

 

 

 

 

In 2006-07 Kyle Turris’s Burnaby Express scored 260 goals and Jost’s Penticton Vees scored 263. Which is close, however back in 06-07 the average team scored 3.77 Goals/Game versus 3.44 G/G this past season.

 

Season Player League GP PTS PTS/G
2006-07 Kyle Turris BCHL 53 121 2.2830189
2008-09 Brandon Pirri OJHL 44 94 2.1363636
2009-10 Beau Bennett BCHL 56 120 2.1428571
2006-07 Casey Pierro-Zabotel BCHL 55 116 2.1090909
2007-08 Sean Collins MJHL 60 115 1.9166667
2003-04 Travis Zajac BCHL 59 112 1.8983051
2007-08 Corey Trivino OPJHL 39 69 1.7692308
2007-08 Joe Colborne AJHL 55 90 1.6363636
2008-09 Reilly Smith OJHL 49 75 1.5306122
2006-07 Riley Nash BCHL 55 84 1.5272727
2006-07 Matt Frattin AJHL 58 83 1.4310345
2006-07 Jamie Benn BCHL 53 65 1.2264151
2008-09 Curtis McKenzie BCHL 53 64 1.2075472
2008-09 Corban Knight AJHL 61 72 1.1803279
2007-08 Derek Grant BCHL 57 63 1.1052632

 

10 Thoughts

 

 

  1. In 2006-07 the average BCHL team scored 3.77 Goals/Game versus 3.44 G/G this past season.
  2. If a 1st year draft eligible player averages above 1.5 Pts/G in Junior A there’s a good chance he will play 100+ games.
  3. I’d expect a player that has NHL potential would need to score close to or above 1 Pts/G.
  4. Projecting a power forward timeline is a little trickier. At the time of the draft statistically McKenzie, Benn averaged just over 1.2 Pts/G.
  5. Tyson Jost, is not only a great name but a legit prospect. Based on his skill-set (complete two-way player with top 6 offensive upside) he is the best junior draft prospect since Turris. His stats show that he is on par with Turris.
  6. Outside of Jost there is a lot of question marks with regards to the forward group; i. Dickinson, Grannary & Young are all late 97 birthdays ii. With the exception of Murray all the players are either average size or on the smaller size iii. The only power forward Murray is a little shy offensively.
  7. Murray will likely be the second forward taken. I’m not sure if the offense is there for him to be selected within the first three rounds, but if a team has multiple picks after the 4th round starts he seems like a he could be a solid pick. A player that’s 6’4 has good offensive instincts and will likely have another 3 – 4 years development time as he’s committed to Penn State for 2017-18 season.
  8. Outside of Jost & Murray, I think the rest are late picks, 6th or 7th I think you can take a flyer on one of Grannary, Jeffers, Dickinson or Berger in the later rounds. Basically, a draft and follow – in 5 years you might have a prospect.
  9. Another prospect of note is Kohen Olischefski, from the BCHL, (.84 Pts/G) who committed to University of Denver. He’s a speedy skater, good size (6’1 165) who is projected to have good upside when his body fills out.
  10. Other players on the radar but unlikely to be drafted are; i. Dylan Thiessen (C/LW) from MJHL with .84 pts/g, ii. Jacob Harris (LW) from OJHL with .77 pts/g, iii. Layton Parsons (LW) MJHL with .49 pts/g, iv. Donovan Rehill (LW) from MJHL with .29 pts/g, v. Taden Rattie (RW) from AJHL with .36 pts/g

NHL – Leaked Emails

Where are people reading the leaked emails?

I read the Bettman, Daley & Shannahan exchange and don’t really see anything out of place.  Bettman talked like a lawyer, because he is a lawyer.  Shannahan & Daley seemed to essentially get the ball rolling on improving the safety of the game. Hockey has actually done things to prevent concussions with regards to the blind-side hits and making the equipment safer.

I think that outside of the Berland-Meagher exchange there wasn’t too much that seemed crazy.  Personally, I don’t disagree with what he said but it comes across as arogant.

This is no way as bad as Colin Campbell’s email that was released late last year.  Campbell wrote: “Let’s face it Mike… we sell rivalries, we sell and promote hate…”

The game at a certain level is never going to be safe and there is too much love internally (from the players, coaches, owners) to simply ‘get rid of fighting’.

Bobby Smith penned an article earlier this month that was supporting fighting in hockey and how it prevents concussions.

There can/should be a way to limit fighting, and their has been.  But as Gary stated, and I believe him, the biggest roadblock is the players (PA) themselves.   Bettman stated in an email, “The current head of the union spent a decade in baseball protecting steroid users over what was best for the vast majority of his players and the game.”  I think that the PA has a huge responsibility in this and essentially getting a free pass.  Why aren’t the players going after their own PA?  When does the PA have safety as their first priority, any other union would.

The NHL has to determine how guilty they are in this lawsuit.  Look at Rypien, for example, he had nearly 50 fights prior to playing in the NHL and 36 while playing in the NHL.  How much damage was his brain subject too prior to the NHL?   How much damage was due to mental health?  How much damage was due to as Shannahan put it ‘pills’?

Remember, you are only looking at emails that are taken from the players POV and then essentially publicized by the media to get clicks on their articles.  IMHO, if this is the ‘worst’ that the NHL has said then I’m not sure what the uproar is about.

Oliver Kylington

There is mention that Kylington is dropping in the draft.  I did a quick look at the SEL 1st year draft eligible defensman that were drafted since 2003  and played 10+ games in the SEL.

Here’s the list;

Player Team Lge GP G A Pts PTs/G
Victor Hedman MODO Hockey Ornskoldsvik SEL 43 7 14 21 0.488372093
Oliver Kylington Farjestads BK Karlstad SweHL 18 2 3 5 0.277777778
Adam Larsson Skelleftea AIK SEL 37 1 8 9 0.243243243
David Runblad Skelleftea AIK SEL 45 0 10 10 0.222222222
Tim Erixon Skelleftea AIK SEL 45 2 5 7 0.155555556
Tobias Enstrom MODO Hockey Ornskoldsvik SEL 42 1 5 6 0.142857143
Oscar Hedman MODO Hockey Ornskoldsvik SEL 24 1 2 3 0.125
Jonas Brodin Farjestads BK Karlstad SEL 42 0 4 4 0.095238095
Oscar Klefbom Farjestads BK Karlstad SEL 23 1 1 2 0.086956522
Ludwig Bystrom MODO Hockey Ornskoldsvik SEL 20 0 1 1 0.05
Phil Larsen Frolunda HC SEL 16 0 0 0 0
Nik Hjalmarsson HV71 Jonkoping SEL 14 0 0 0 0

If his skating is what it is.  I think that he is a good player to draft.

If

Oiler’s Prospect: Evan Campbell

When the Oiler’s drafted Evan Campbell there was a segment of fans that had wondered whether the Oiler’s wasted a draft pick.  But I think almost two years after the selection Campbell might be turning out better than what we would have estimated.

Here is a list of NHL drafted (signed) players born in 93 – 94 in the Hockey East with their points / game.

Player DOB Draft GP PTS PTS/G
Kevin Roy 20-May-93 4th #97 2012 35 44 1.257143
Daniel O’Regan 30-Jan-94 5th #138 2012 37 45 1.216216
Devin Shore 19-Jul-94 2nd #61 2012 39 35 0.897436
Evan Campbell 1-Mar-93 5th #128 2013 34 27 0.794118
Frankie Vatrano 14-Mar-94 Undrafted Signed with Bruins 36 28 0.777778
Mario Lucia 25-Aug-93 2nd #60 2011 42 32 0.761905
Thomas DiPauli 29-Apr-94 2th #100 2012 41 29 0.707317
Adam Gilmour 29-Jan-94 4th #98 2012 37 26 0.702703
Mark Jankowski 13-Sep-94 1st #21 2012 33 23 0.69697
Ryan Fitzgerald 19-Oct-94 4th #120 2013 37 24 0.648649
Zach Sanford 9-Nov-94 2nd #61 2013 37 23 0.621622
Robbie Baillargeon 26-Nov-93 5th #136 2012 26 15 0.576923
Steven Fogarty 19-Apr-93 3rd #72 2011 39 21 0.538462

Campbell doesn’t seem so far off after comparing to similar players.  He is ahead of a couple of high picks, notably Jankowski & Lucia and is in the range with similar 5th round picks.  Kevin Roy and O’Regan are well ahead of the field.  Although, I believe, O’Regan was a linemate of Eichel and his scoring doubled from the previous year.  Still an interesting prospect nonetheless.

Here is a scouting report from Tyler Thomson (Dobber Sports) Campbell has adequate size and hockey sense to go along with a strong work ethic. While his scoring has never impressed over his young career, it appears Campbell’s value comes from a strong two-way game. He will continue to grind away with U-Mass until he is pro-ready.

Jeff Cox from SBNation had the following scouting report after taking in a UMass game.  “This was my first viewing of the River Hawks this season and it comes as no surprise that the Port Moody, British Columbia native has significantly picked up his production this season compared to his rookie campaign. He was held scoreless on the night, but he made several strong, powerful moves to the net. He uses his speed and size to leverage defenders from the puck. He was phenomenal at the faceoff dot, going 17-6. Overall, it seems as if Campbell has really elevated his game to start his sophomore year.”

Hockey’s Future has this too say about Campbell; “He is a big powerhouse center with a gritty playing style. Campbell is the first player drafted directly from the BCHL’s Langley Rivermen. His technical skills and skating ability are considered average but his package of size, determination and work ethic attracted the attention of Edmonton scouts.

When I looked to see how Campbell was tracking versus a player like Riley Nash (Nash was well ahead of Campbell by the way) I noticed a teammate on Nash’s collegate team that had a similar route too Campbell.  The player was drafted in his +2 draft year in the BCHL and had moderate success in NCAA.

Season Team Lge GP G A Pts
2005-06 Nanaimo Clippers BCHL 56 27 35 62
2006-07 Cornell University ECAC 31 11 8 19
2007-08 Cornell University ECAC 36 14 19 33
2008-09 Cornell University ECAC 36 15 16 31
2009-10 Cornell University ECAC 34 15 20 35

The player in question – Colin Greening.

If you want to look at the downside here they are;

  • Campbell, although tracking fine, is still a long shot to play in the NHL.
  • He likely doesn’t have much in the way of offensive upside
  • He’s likely a bottom six player at best.
  • Acquiring these types of players is easier than acquiring the top end players.

If you want to look at the positives here they are;

  • When he was drafted the Oiler fans did not like the selection.  He is on par with similar players drafted by other organizations.
  • Offense will likely not be his calling card but he has proven that he can chip in a bit with that regard.
  • Campbell is playing in a good division and is playing top line minutes.
  • Although acquiring ‘bottom six’ players are easier than acquiring top 6 players.  Developing your own players prevents potentially overpaying for this type of player on the open market.  The H-G-K line next year will make over 5 million.
  • Campbell plays in all situations; he’s gritty, good defensively and a good faceoff man.
  • He sounds a little bit like a former NCAA currently with the Oiler’s Matt Hendricks.

So a couple of years after the draft Campbell is drafting on par with his peers and has two more development years left.  I think he’s doing alright.

 

Weekly Thoughts

Eric Lindros Files Defamation Lawsuit Against Former NHL Ref

  • Eric Lindros has filed a defamation against former NHL referee Paul Stewart for an article he wrote on the Huffington Post.
  • The article is about his time as a ref and relationships with the players, coaches and even fans.
  • He mentioned an interaction he had with a fan (who had an attractive wife) in which; Stewart replied with “Hey, lady, is THAT the only way you can get to a Leafs game? You know, I could get you better seats.”  (I hope when he said ‘hey lady’ that he did an impression of Jerry Lewis.)
  • I don’t know Stewart but the article depicts him as a petty guy taking shots at; Chris Gratton, Ray Ferraro and of course Eric Lindros.
  • Here’s the details from the Lindros story.
    • Based on the comments I assume it was after a back-back (Feb. 13/14 in 1993) with the New Jersey Devils
    • He said Lindros was in a bad mood because the team was playing poorly and dealing with legal issues.
    • Stewart asked Lindros, ‘Hey, Eric. How are things going? How’s your dad?’  Now we know Lindros has well documented concerns with his parents involvement in his hockey career.  So Lindros’s alleged response is, ‘[Bleep] you. Just drop the [bleeping] puck already.’  He’s a 19-year old pissed off kid, who cares what he said?
    • Anyways Lindros & Reechi are suppose to sign posters for a charity Stewart is involved with but, according to Stewart, ‘when Eric found out they were for you, he tore every one of them up.”
    • And then a grudge was born!
  • Lindros doesn’t like the things written about him and I can understand.  He doesn’t come out of this looking like a great person.
  • So Lindros files a lawsuit for defamation of character and Eric Macramella from TSN breaks it down

Congrats to Joey Moss going into the Edmonton sports Hall of Fame.  

Jays Outfielders

  • Michael Saunders was reported to be out til the All-Star game earlier in the week.  Surgery went well so it’s possible he’ll be back in early April.
  • The depth chart Bautista, Pompey and Pillar is paper thin, so AA brought in 25-year-old Cuban Dayan Viciedo.
  • The weird thing is in a line-up that is right hitter heavy, Viciedo is a right-handed hitter.  He is also not a defensively strong player.
  • Viciedo
    • His numbers went down from 260 BA /360 OBP /436 SLG/97 OPS+ (On average of his two first full seasons)
    • Too 231 BA / 281 OBP / 405 SLG / 92 OPS+ & DWAR -2.4
    • But he killed pitching at the Skydome – .381 BA / .422 OBP / .738 SLG / 4 HR – in 45 Plate Appearances

Russell Wilson talks about the Call on The Players Tribune

Must Read:

Thursday Thoughts … (On Friday)

The Call

  • A couple of thoughts on the call.
  • The call took away what people should have been talking about.  The Left Shark …
  • I feel bad for left shark.  This was probably his/her big moment as a dancer.  They were probably told hey your going to be dancing in Katy Perry’s half-time show,  *Cool, that’s awesome*  and your going to be doing it in a shark suit.  *Um, that’s a lot less cooler and awesome*
  • Now back to the call.  It wasn’t a good call, everyone knows that Lynch should have had a chance.  But I think more importantly it was horribly executed.  If the plan was to use up a play, it needs to be safe.
  • I am not in the category that the coach is an idiot.  Carroll was the best coach the past two seasons.  The Seahawks are a young team and have a good foundation.  Would he like to have that play back?  Hell yeah.  But would he like to have the touchdown play at the end of the half back.  It was gutsy call too except that time it worked.
  • Would it not have made more sense to throw a fade and if it’s not there to throw it outside the end-zone?  Maybe to Carpenter who was having a good game.  I dunno.
  • Regardless of that, the ball should have been thrown to a more secure spot.  Wilson doesn’t get enough of the flack for this.  It was an irresponsible throw. Maybe he could have thrown to the left shoulder, or made the throw to the ground. As bad as the call was it was an equally horrible decision by Russell Wilson.  Who doesn’t seem to get enough of the blame.  What if that were Manning or Romo …
  • Maybe it was just me but it didn’t seem like the receiver really fought for the ball.
  • Let’s also give some credit to Malcolm Butler.  He made a hell of a play.  Butler made an excellent read and had a good break on the route.  Essentially, he was guessing there the ball was going to be thrown.  That should have been a touchdown.  Just a great play!
  • Last, the call took away what is really important … balls!

Deflate That

  • Speaking of Super Bowl and deflated balls.  ‘Deflate That’ was Warren Sapp’s last tweet on Feb 1st.
  • Warren Sapp was arrested on groundhog day for soliciting a prostitute.
  • Sapp seems to have a tough time keeping things on the down low.  I believe he has 6 children with 5 different women.  Most seem to have had to battle Sapp for child support payments (Chantel Adkins, Angela Saunders)
  • Some children were conceived when Sapp was married to his now ex-wife Jamiko Vaughn
  • He’s had financial issues obviously child support, he filed for bankruptcy back in 2012, he stiffed a waitress. for calling his party ‘boys’ and he had to lose some of his 240 Air Jordan’s.
  • Warren was arrested and charged with domestic battery but the charges were dropped.
  • So it should come as no surprise that when officers saw the shadow of Warren Sapp on Feb 1st that it involved him allegedly assaulting a prostitute in a depute over money
  • Three years ago, after the San Diego Chargers gave Safety Eric Weddle a four year contract, Sapp tweeted that the Chargers overpaid and that they paid “8 Million for a safety who you couldn’t pick out of a line up.”  Here’s Weddle’s response.

weddle

Speaking of Pricks

  • Everyone in the Oilogosphere has written about Eakins analytics call with TSN listen here.
  • One of the first phrases out of Eakins mouth was ‘he was sold a bill of goods’ with regards to taking the Oiler’s job.  I assume that’s gonna be some pissed off people within Rexall Place.
  • The main focal point of the story, by the Oiler faithful, was when the former Oiler’s head coach talked about the decision to hire internet analytic expert Tyler Dellows.
  • From the Interview; “Bringing in [analytics consultant] Tyler [Dellow] was an interesting process on a number of fronts. Something that caught me off guard, and the first thing that came up in hiring Tyler, was – we pushed hard for it, got it through – was the local reaction from the media. It was interesting, because we announced the hire and immediately we had an email from a journalist to our PR department asking the question ‘Is anyone from the organization going to talk about the hiring of this prick?’”
  • The ‘hiring of this prick’ comment should never have been brought to light.  That should remain internal.  If I have an option of hiring this Eakins prick, I would have to think twice because does he keep things internal.
  • Tyler Dellow can sometimes come across as a prick when he rips apart a writers opinion.  Really, that’s what journalists are opinion based writers.  Dellow could easily do it in a more respectful way.
  • Now, that doesn’t excuse people in the media.  One who constantly gets pointed out is Spector, but he isn’t alone in his thoughts; either other journalists or MSM wrote about him Oilersnation, Edmonton Journal & Edmonton Sun
  • The Analytic crowd have been quick to support him upon his hiring Edmonton Journal, or after the prick comment Oiler’s Nation
  • Who care’s if somebody call Dellow a prick?   If this makes Dellow cry at home then perhaps he should also be kinder on his retorts.  I personally have no problem with him and think that his statistical analysis is/was great.  I think there’s more important things to worry about.
  • Both sides seem a little over sensitive on this topic.  Kinda like Marsha.  Relax have a Snickers.
  • One thing that happened when listening to the interview is Eakins came across as a prick.  The Oiler’s needed to move on from this.

Moving On

  • Kane appears to be heading out of Winnipeg.  After an altercation with Big Buff, missing a team meeting and then getting healthy scratched
  • The Jet’s just placed him on the IR yesterday with an undisclosed injury.  Report breaks that he is having shoulder surgery.
  • Garrett Hohl from Jet’s Nation wrote an excellent article regarding whether Evander Kane is a top six forward
  • Since the 2009-10 season only 61 players have played 200+ games, had .3 Goals / Game and .6 Points / Game.  Evander Kane is one of those players, now granted there are some players (Heatley, Chris Stewart & Mike Fisher) that are either no longer top 6 forwards.  But for the most part these are legit top line players.  Evander Kane is a really good second line player.  Some team could pick him up on the cheap.
  • Kane is a guy that plays 19 – 20 minutes a night.  He plays PP (2 minutes / game) and SH (1:45 minutes / game).  If he’s up for sale on the cheap I think you gotta make a phone call.
  • What would it take to acquire Kane?

Thursday Thoughts

NHL All-Star Game

  • I think I’m tired of the NHL All-Star ‘Draft’, it was a good idea but I think the time has come.  Unless they added fans to the experience.  Here’s some ideas;
    • Why not have two guys WIN the chance to draft for their team.  What ‘if two of their sponsors gave two fans the chance to draft the All-Star team.  Like Team Gatorade versus Team Reebok being picked by two random fans of the NHL.
  • Instead of drafting the whole team, you draft the starting lineup.  Then you do the old school,  “Throw the sticks” to fill out the rest of the roster.  Let the fan’s throw the sticks and present him a signed jersey.
  • Another idea the All-Star game should do is have the game outdoors.  I think there should be less outdoor games, but the NHL All-Star game played outside makes sense … at least to me.
  • I’d like the idea, as I believe Friedman mentioned, of a Ryder Cup idea before the season as a replacement for the All-Star game.  North America vs. World in a 3 game mini-tournie in September.  Splitting games between Europe & North America.

MacTavish versus Tambellini

  • I think the main difference between Tambellini and MacTavish.  Tambellini never said a word and MacT doesn’t know how to shut up.

Tyler Myer’s to Oilers

  • I have been wondering if the Oiler’s are tired of the Schultz experiment.Would it make sense to talk to Buffalo about a Schultz-Myers swap?
  • Garrioch said earlier in the year, ” As for defenceman Tyler Myers, the Wings and Ducks have both shown genuine interest along with Edmonton. ”
  • When Schultz was being courted as a free agent one of the teams that was interested was the Ottawa Senators.  Tim Murray was the assistant GM for the Senators during that time.  He was one of the main people the Sens drafting Karlsson.

CHL Top Prospects

  • Travis Konecny had a heck of a game at the top prospects.  He’s just a hockey player, I have no idea how to write up a report on him.  He’s not big, but he has good speed, nice shot, thinks the game well, is a leader (captain of the 67’s) and not afraid to play physical.  I’ve heard reports that he’s like, Curtis Lazar, Pat Verbeek, Brendan Gallagher – I see him more like Mike Richards.  I think he will be an NHL player, maybe not a first liner but a guy that can play in your middle six.  Other players I liked were, Ivan Provorov & Bittner.

MLB Hall of Fame

  • I liked this year’s class of Hall of Fame inductees; Martinez, Randy Johnson, Craig Biggio & John Smoltz.  Personally, I think that Clemens and Bonds should be in the HoF, there shouldn’t be any question, and I think because they aren’t in the Hall of Fame players like Delgado & Lofton are off the ballot before they should be.  I hope to write up why I think Raines should be in the Hall of Fame shortly, but I don’t think that any of the players inducted this year shouldn’t have gotten in.

Deflate-Gate

  • It’s the Super Bowl, and all we are reading about it deflated balls.
  • I haven’t read any deflate-gate articles.  The only thing I now know is that apparently Brady likes soft balls.  Who knew?  My life is better for having now known this.  I can die a happy man.  Me I prefer firm balls, so to each their own.
  • I hate talking about balls.  I’m more of a breast man myself.

Super Bowl

  • I think, this is the first time, since the early 80’s that in back-to-back seasons the top team from both conferences faced off in the Super Bowl.
  • Regarding, Belichick and Brady I don’t want to hear anything about ‘if they win’ … Win or lose they already have their legacy cemented
  • Also, I don’t want to hear the same, ‘If they win’ about Wilson & Carroll – they have a long way to go before they are in the B&B category.
  • I think the Seahawks win the game, I like their defense better and defense wins championships.