Scouting Report: Liam Dower Nilsson

Photo Credit: Frölunda HC

Scouting Report written bAlex Appleyard

Players develop at different rates. The mature 18 year old who goes 1st round, then never develops more? The undersized late birthday who is undrafted, and five years down the line is an NHL All-Star? Two sides of the same coin. Development is never linear. It is tied intrinsically to physical growth. But a draft is, by nature, a snapshot in time. If that snapshot had been two years ago Liam Dower Nilsson would be in contention with Fabian Lysell to be the first Swede off the board.

At 16 years old Dower Nilsson and Fabian Lysell had been virtually attached at the hip on the Frölunda junior teams, as well as the junior national team. Lysell? The electric winger with speed to burn. Dower Nilsson? The heady pivot who controlled play. And many considered that Dower-Nilsson was “the straw that stirred the drink”.

Player Profile

D.O.B – April 14, 2003
Nationality – Sweden
Draft Eligibility – 2021
Height – 6’0
Weight –176 lbs
Position – Center/Right Wing
Handedness – Left

Dower Nilsson’s Style Of Play

Make no mistake, the Göteborg native won’t be taken in the top 32 this draft. He probably won’t go inside the second round. But despite that he is still a player who runs play, even while on a line with Lysell and Robertsson, both of whom will go top 20 in this draft.

Dower Nilsson is a player who wins with what is between his ears. He is not the biggest. Not the fastest. He is not the most skilled. But he dictates play when on ice. He is a fantastic facilitator for more talented line-mates. A player who makes line-mates better… even if they are better than him.

His hockey IQ is evident in all three zones. It is the mortar that his game is built around. He is a player who, as a result, is virtually never out of position. The kind of player who seems to appear from no-where to intercept a pass for a trailer, the kind of player who finds himself alone on the edge of the crease. This, combined with the intensity he plays with, mean that despite not being the best skater he often appears ahead of the play.

Speaking of intensity, with Dower Nilsson this can sometimes boil over into ill-discipline. It can be surprising for a player who is so smart with his decisions, he will make zero mistakes all game and then take a bad penalty when there was no need to engage. This will need to improve as he gets to a higher level, or he will fall foul of his coaches.

That being said, he has a motor that never stops, and helps him be a disruptive forechecker as well as a more than capable back-checker. His stick-work especially can cause trouble for opponents, and he often forces defensemen to circle back behind their net or peel off on a neutral zone rush.

On the cycle his movement is impressive. He often sets up picks for team-mates in advance, and rarely stops moving when off the puck, drifting into the slot or crease before rotating to the half-boards to run play again. But it might be in the neutral zone with the puck on his stick where he excels most. Despite not being the best skater he can eviscerate even a neutral zone trap with regularity. If a player even slightly over-commits, he passes and draws a man. If a player sits off, he finds the point he is on his heels and finds a gap with his feet or his passing.

You will have noticed that, so far, this report has talked about how he plays and thinks the game, but not about his specific technical skills. And that is the reason why Dower Nilsson won’t be a high pick.

He is not bereft of technical talent. His passing can be a thing of beauty both fore-hand and back-hand, and he is capable of picking out a line-mate through traffic, and seeing passes that no-one else sees, sometimes without seemingly looking. Dower Nilsson also has a solid shot that can beat goalies clean. However, both these attributes are forged more with his mind than his hands. On the power-play he is a great quarter-back, who is also not scared of getting in closer from his right half-board position and cleaning up in the slot and around the net.

When it comes to the down-sides of his game? Well… for an 18 year old there are not too many. His skating needs to improve, that is for sure. It is not that he is a bad skater, but just gets a bit knock-kneed at times and will never burn past opponents. But apart from that? He needs to be more disciplined? He only loses battles when he is physically outmatched. And that? That’s about it.

The young pivot has also played wing at times, mainly on the right, but when at wing he has never looked the same player. His lack of technical and physical gifts are exposed more when he is not the one dictating and dissecting play. He prefers to act than react, and the nature of the position seems to leave him frustrated and isolated.

It is unlikely that the man from the coast of the Kattegat will ever be a top six NHL forward. However, his mind is at that kind of level, and with simply growth and maturation Dower Nilsson could turn into a third liner that every NHL team would want in their line-up. Once the third round rolls round? He could be good value.

Comparison

Calle Järnkrok, C/RW, Seattle Kraken

Both Swedes stand-out ability is their high IQ. Järnkrok might be more physically gifted, but neither have the best hands or great skating. Their passing is crisp, and both share an intense brand of hockey, despite not being overly physical or the biggest players. They also score in a similar way, getting near the net, finding gaps in coverage, as opposed to firing wristers from 20ft. Like Järnkrok, Dower Nilsson is strong defensively, and can also contribute on a power-play.


stats from InStat and EliteProspects

Prospect report written by Alexander Appleyard. If you would like to follow Alex on Twitter, his handle is @alexappleyard.

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Scouting Report: Lorenzo Canonica

Photo Credit: Cataractes de Shawinigan / Olivier Croteau

Scouting Report written by Jordan Malette

Lorenzo Canonica is a 2021 NHL Draft eligible prospect from Lugano, Switzerland. In 2019-20, Lorenzo tallied 43 points in 42 games with Lugano in the Swiss U20-Elit. It can be challenging to put those numbers into context as most Swiss-born players on the NHL radar play in the Swiss pro ranks or have departed to superior junior leagues by the time they are approaching their draft year. To help add some perspective, two notable players to recently play in the Swiss U20-Elit were Marco Rossi and Nico Hischier. In Hischier’s D-1 season, he totaled 28 points in 18 games, and in Rossi’s D-2 season, he totaled 51 points in 34 games. Lorenzo’s D-1 season was impressive as a 16-year-old playing in a U20 league but was not entirely on par with top-end draft picks we have seen come through the Swiss junior system.

He began this season playing with Lugano in the Swiss U20 and continued on his point per game pace that he was on in 2019-20. He was one of two 2003 born players to be selected for the Swiss World Junior team. Unfortunately, his performance was slightly underwhelming, tallying only one assist in 4 games. However, the tournament is historically challenging for players in their draft years, especially for a player under two weeks away from being a 2022 NHL Draft eligible. After the World Juniors, he joined the Shawinigan Cataractes alongside fellow 2021 draft-eligible Xavier Bourgault and top 2020 draftee Mavrik Bourque. With Shawinigan, he scored 16 points in 24 regular-season games and 4 points in a best of 5 playoff series loss against the Rimouski Océanic.

Player Profile

D.O.B – September 3, 2003
Nationality – Switzerland
Draft Eligibility 
– 2021
Height 
–5’11
Weight 
–179 lbs
Position 
– Center/Left Wing
Handedness 
Left

Canonica’s Style Of Play

Lorenzo Canonica is the type of player that any coach would love to have on their team. He never takes a shift off, is constantly engaged in all areas of the ice, and is incredibly responsible defensively. Canonica’s game leans on a consistently high effort level and solid positional play, especially in the defensive zone, to drive positive results for his team. So when you hear the phrase “plays the right way,” a player like Canonica should be who comes to mind.

It is common to see a draft-eligible prospect labeled as “great with the puck, but…” Lorenzo Canonica is a bit of the opposite. It’s not that his play with the puck is flawed; it’s just not the main element of his game that stands out when you watch him play. He is a conscious puck manager as he is never overhandling the puck and is always looking for a simple pass to an open teammate to avoid any risk of a turnover. His play away from the puck is the key to Lorenzo’s game. He offers a combination of attention to detail, high effort, and sound positioning that contribute to suppressing dangerous changes againt, pushing play out of his team’s end and maintaining it in the attacking third of the ice. All in all, Lorenzo displays a high level of maturity in his style of play that is impressive to see in such a young player.

Strong defensive play is the main area of his game where Lorenzo provides positive value to his team. He traditionally played the center position but spent most of his time in Shawinigan playing on the wing. His history of playing center shines through in how he approaches the defensive zone as a winger. At all times, Canonica is scanning his surroundings to ensure all potential threats are covered. He is constantly checking over his shoulder to ensure no opponents are sneaking in behind him. If he sees an unmarked opponent in a dangerous area, Canonica frequently provides supplementary coverage down low around the net to prevent dangerous scoring opportunities from developing. When the puck is at the point, he provides pressure to the puck carrier and contains them to limit their ability to find an open shooting lane. In addition, he pays specific attention to regularly having his stick in the passing lane taking away options from the opposition. Canonica’s defensive efforts are a primary contributor to the minimal high danger chances the opposition generates while he is on the ice.

A reoccurring theme with Canonica is back-pressure. Back-pressure is a crucial component of team defense as it helps neutralize odd-man rush opportunities from developing into premium scoring chances. The more time and space a team on the counter-attack has, the more likely they will score. As such, a solid back-checking presence is mandatory from a team’s forwards. Upon his team losing possession of the puck, Lorenzo has little to no hesitation to move his feet and begin his pursuit to retrieve the puck back for his team. His relentless back-pressure puts him in a favourable position to take away time and space from the opposition and help regain possession for his team. Not only is the effort level high, but he is back-checking optimally as he is scanning for the most dangerous threat to mark. Back-pressure isn’t typically an exceptionally significant component of a player’s game, but the level of consistency and attention to detail Lorenzo applies to his back-pressure made it stand out as an element worth mentioning.

Up until this point, everything has been overwhelmingly positive about what Canonica offers to his team. The challenge is that the offensive sample was limited in his season with Shawinigan, as he usually wasn’t the line-mate directly creating the scoring chances. When attacking off the rush, he frequently enters the zone and takes a low danger shot as he lacks the lethal combination of change of pace and deception to beat a defender one on one and create space for himself. He could use more patience with the puck upon entering to look for a better option rather than a shot from the perimeter. With the puck, Lorenzo usually can find the simple pass to a teammate in a better position. But, his lack of deception hinders his ability to open up passing lanes by pulling defenders out of position, which is essential to excel as a playmaker. There were definitively flashes of offensive moments from Lorenzo, but they were simply not frequent enough.

However, his strong play in the defensive and neutral zone are integral components of a successful line as he routinely drives play into the offensive zone where his more offensively minded line-mates can thrive. Canonica’s offensive contributions mainly come from his relentless efforts to apply pressure to defenders on the forecheck and force turnovers to regain possession for his teammates. Lorenzo frequently pounces on loose pucks to secure control in the offensive zone. He can operate well off the cycle, protecting the puck down low and rotating into space in front of the net to become a passing option. Like in the defensive zone, Lorenzo plays a positionally sound game, resulting in him being in prime positions to receive a high danger pass around the net where he is more than capable of finding the back of the net.

There is an intriguing set of tools that are visible in Canonica’s game today. At a minimum, a team would be happy to find a defensive-leaning play driving forward in the middle to later stages of the draft. However, it’s reasonable to believe the offensive ceiling may be higher as he is one of the youngest in the 2021 class and has lots of time to continue developing. Lorenzo would benefit from an extended stay in the Junior ranks to maximize puck touches and explore the untapped offensive potential he may have. He has been playing up multiple age groups for his entire hockey career, so taking things slow and not rushing to the professional ranks would allow him to dominate against his peers for a couple of seasons. In Shawinigan this past season, he was fortunate to play with offensively gifted linemates, which may have limited his offensive opportunities. It is possible that in future years and was the “go-to guy,” he could flourish offensively.

Projection

Middle or bottom-six winger with the flexibility to play center and handle defensive matchups and penalty kill assignments


stats from InStat and EliteProspects

Prospect report written by Jordan Malette. If you would like to follow Jordan on Twitter, his handle is @jordanmalette.

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Scouting Report: Ty Voit

Photo Credit: Terry Wilson / OHL Images

Scouting Report written by Josh Tessler

Ty Voit is a 2021 NHL Draft eligible prospect, who hails from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

In his youth hockey days, he played for the Pittsburgh Aviators (an organization in the Pittsburgh Amateur Hockey League). Following his time with the Aviators, he played for the Florida Alliance 13U AAA club, the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite 14U club and the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite 15U club. During his time with the Penguins, he played alongside fellow 2021 NHL Draft eligible prospect Colby Saganiuk.

Once the 2018-2019 season concluded, Voit was selected in both the 2019 USHL Futures Draft and the 2019 OHL Priority Selection Draft. The Cedar Rapids RoughRiders selected Voit with their ninth overall pick in the USHL Futures Draft and the Sarnia Sting selected him with their 89th pick in the 2019 OHL Priority Selection Draft. Voit decided to go play in the OHL instead of the USHL and joined the Sting for their 2019-2020 season.

His 2019-2020 OHL season was a shortened one due to COVID-19, but Voit still appeared in 49 games and recorded eight goals and 20 assists. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic and the lack of loan options overseas, Voit didn’t play in any league games for his 2020-2021 campaign. But, he did enter into the PBHH Invitational Tournament that was held in Erie, Pennsylvania. In 10 games at the tournament, Voit recorded three goals, four primary assists and two secondary assists.

Voit is represented by the Orr Hockey Group alongside two other 2021 NHL Draft eligible prospects in Simon Motew of the Kitchener Rangers and Olivier Nadeau of the Shawinigan Cataractes.

Player Profile

D.O.B – June 10, 2003
Nationality – USA
Draft Eligibility – 2021
Height –5’10
Weight –161 lbs
Position – Center/Left Wing
Handedness – Right

Voit’s Style Of Play

Offense

Voit can be a pest for goaltenders down low. He loves going net-front, drawing the goaltender to one side, wrapping around him and finding a gap to exploit for a goal. The Pittsburgh native generates a lot of tip-in goals. Voit will constantly look for rebounds to capitalize on. At net-front, he will find defensive gaps for his teammates to exploit with a well-timed pass. He will look to tip the puck into the back of the net immediately after grabbing a hold of the pass. 

If you are looking for a flashy passer, Voit is your guy. He is lot of fun with his passing ability. Voit will execute saucer passes off the face-off draw. He has great aim with his saucer passing and can generate sufficient height with his saucer to avoid turnovers and interceptions. Not only will he execute saucer pass in off the draw situations, but he will skate to one side of the offensive zone, draw multiple attackers with him and float a cross-ice saucer pass to his teammate in medium danger for a primary assist. 

As mentioned in the last paragraph, he does an excellent job of drawing in attackers with his puck manipulation. He’ll pull a 180 degree turn with the puck, face the neutral zone instead of the goaltender, lures defenders to him, his teammate cuts left and Voit throws a pass through his legs to the teammate. Voit will manipulate defenders by playing the puck out in front of him, draws the defender in and then he will swing the puck around the right to dance around attack

If he’s facing pressure along the perimeter and a teammate is bursting into the zone, he will complete a well-timed lateral pass to his teammate. His pass has a quick release and he can fire on a dime. When facing pressure in the slot and he is skating in line with a teammate, he can complete a backhand pass with the toe of his stick-blade. That allows Voit to play the puck as far out as possible to avoid the attacker who is skating up on his side. 

When on the forecheck, he will go down low to fight for the puck and battle, but he doesn’t have the true necessary upper body strength to throw his body and grab a hold of the puck. If he’s still at a distance but on the forecheck, he will extend his stick towards the puck carrier’s back instead of the puck. Ultimately, he will do an excellent job aligning himself to the puck carrier on the forecheck, but he will struggle to grab possession of the puck. 

When his team doesn’t have possession of the puck and he’s not actively forechecking, he will skate towards the puck, stop on a dime and backwards skate with the puck in view.

Voit possesses excellent speed when hunting for loose pucks in the offensive zone. If the loose puck is at the blue-line and he’s drawn attackers, he will skate out of the offensive zone and neutral zone to the defensive zone to find an open defender.

From a stick-handling perspective, he will struggle with puck security and will bobble pucks a decent amount when extending his stick out. Voit needs to be cautious about playing the puck towards the toe of his stick-blade.

Defense

In the defensive zone, Voit will drop to the face-off hashmarks when there are puck battles in the defensive zone corner and offers passing lanes for his defenders to utilize once they grab a hold of the puck. In general, he will hover along the boards in the defensive zone from the point to the perimeter as he looks to keep the attack in low danger.

While he will struggle with puck security in the offensive zone, he does possess good reach to grab a hold onto breakout passes. that went slightly too far to his right.

When Voit wasn’t expecting a defensive zone breakout pass and turned at the moment when the puck was coming to him, he placed his skates horizontally parallel to each other to stop the puck with his skates instead of his stick-blade. That allows him to net possession of the puck without having a his stick-blade trap the puck.

At the point, he’ll skate up to the puck carrying defender, put his stick blade in front of the attacker and force rash decision making.

Skating 

Voit plays a very high tempo game. Uses lateral crossovers to skate along the boards with the attack facing him and garner necessary acceleration to drive towards the net. Voit will also use lateral crossovers for acceleration when seeing an opponent lose possession of the puck and the puck becomes rather loose in the corner. That allows Voit to get to loose pucks with ease. He has very mobile, quality edges and crossovers. He deploys good pivots and edges both inside and outside edges to stay toe-to-toe on the forecheck. Voit can complete tight turns with ease as he deploying crisp outside edges. 

When you look at his skate extensions, his knee is over the toes of his skates and that allows him to generate explosive speed and synchronized skate extensions. But, you will see Voit struggle with his skate extensions if he tries to extend his stick further out to grab a pass that went slightly wide.

Transitional Play

In transition, Voit likes to carry the puck in, use lateral crossovers to enter the zone as a F1 and play the puck along his left side facing the attacker instead of playing the puck along the boards. He loves to power his transitional play with crossovers after crossovers and has excellent puck security (when he doesn’t extend the puck too far out) while coming into the offensive zone as a F1.

When he does extend the puck further out, you will see Voit place the puck at the toe of his stick-blade and that means that he is more vulnerable to turnovers.

While he does have some issues with stick-handling, in general, he is a deceptive stick-handler in the neutral zone. Voit will play the puck towards the half-wall, draw the attacker in, when the attack gets close to him, he swings around the attacker.

Voit will draw attackers in while in transition, when he gets to centered ice and he’s drawn multiple attackers, he will look to make a lateral pass to his teammate and his teammate will carry the puck in. This allows Voit to draw the attack away from his teammate and allow this teammate to skate into the offensive zone cleanly.

Like in the defensive zone, Voit has excellent reach to catch pucks that are going slightly wide of him and then carrying the puck into the offensive zone as a F1.

If he doesn’t have possession of the puck in the neutral zone, Voit loves finding open space along the offensive blue-line, giving his teammates a cross-ice passing lane, motoring into the offensive zone as a F1, wind-milling at net-front, drawing the goaltender off and scoring.

From a defensive perspective, when there are two attackers playing the puck in the neutral zone and they are close to each other, Voit will look to trap them and box them in with his defenders.

Projection

Top 9 Forward (NHL).


stats from InStat and EliteProspects

Prospect report written by Josh Tessler. If you would like to follow Josh on Twitter, his handle is @JoshTessler_.

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Need a scouting report on a particular prospect, contact us today!

Scouting Report: Trevor Wong

Photo Credit: Marissa Baecker / Kelowna Rockets

Scouting Report written by Josh Tessler

Trevor Wong is a 2021 NHL Draft eligible prospect, who hails from Vancouver, British Columbia.

Wong played youth hockey for the Burnaby Winter Club and played alongside Florida Panthers prospect Justin Sourdif, Vincent Iorio (2021 eligible prospect) and Caedan Bankier (2021 eligible prospect) during his time with Burnaby.

Following his time with the Burnaby Winter Club, he played varsity hockey for St. George’s School U15 club (a prep school in the Vancouver area) and the Greater Vancouver Canadians U18 AAA club. Prior to his season with Greater Vancouver Canadians U18 AAA club, he was selected 18th overall in the 2018 Western Hockey League (WHL) Bantam Draft by the Kelowna Rockets. Once the 2018-2019 Greater Vancouver Canadians U18 AAA season ended, he made his WHL debut and joined Kelowna for four games.

This past season, Wong played in 16 games with the Rockets. It was a shortened season due to COVID-19, but Wong still managed to make the best out of it. He was a point-per-game player and tallied six goals and ten assists.

During his time with Kelowna, he has been coached by a few former NHLers. Former Colorado Avalanche defenseman Adam Foote (who previously served as head coach) and former Dallas Stars forward Vernon Fiddler (currently an assistant coach for Kelowna) have been part of the coaching staff during Wong’s time with the Rockets.

Player Profile

D.O.B – May 4, 2003
Nationality – Canada
Draft Eligibility – 2021
Height –5’8
Weight –154 lbs
Position – Center
Handedness – Left

Wong’s Style Of Play

Offense

Almost every shift, Wong skates hard to the slot to provide a passing lane to his teammates in high danger. If he brings a defender with him, he’ll extend his shoulder out towards the defender to try to push him off. When in the slot, he reacts extremely well to puck movement and constantly looks to give his teammates an open man in the slot. Yet, he won’t just look to create passing opportunities in the slot. If his teammate is tied up in a puck battle behind the red line, he will come towards the teammate and offer a passing option down low. 

Wong will face difficulty with shooting off the rush. His snap shot won’t have enough weight transfer and he will miss the net wide. In general, Wong struggles with accuracy from long-range and tends to be stronger at putting pucks in the back of the net when down low at net-front. 

But, he prefers to pass versus shoot from further out. So, he will instead look to complete excellent lateral cross-ice feeds from half-wall to half-wall. Wong does an excellent job of firing crisp and accurate cross-ice seam passes. 

Wong struggles with acceleration on the forecheck. He slows down on the forecheck and that allows the puck carrier to identify a way to beat him before Wong reaches him. Wong will looks to go in for a bodycheck along the boards to gain possession, but is too slow and misses connecting with the attacker completely. For the most part when on the forecheck, he typically will look to use an active stick on the forecheck, especially when he doesn’t have the acceleration needed to get to the puck in time. He also will do the same when looking to net a loose puck. 

Speaking of loose pucks, I’d like to see him add to his upper body strength to allow to him to be more of a pest in loose puck battles. When he goes in for a loose puck, he struggles to assert enough pressure to gain possession of the puck. 

When stuck in traffic in the offensive zone, he will complete behind the back light tap passes from the perimeter to his defenseman at the point. Yet, there are moments, in which he needs to be more cautious when looking to fend off the back-check and completing a pass behind his back with the puck extended further out. Should look to improve his stick-handling or use pivots instead as passing behind the back with the attack glued to you can be extremely dangerous. 

If he bobbles a puck upon picking it up in the offensive zone and he’s along the half-wall, he’ll skate to the corner, bring the attacker with him and then pass to the point, clearing the attackers from playing his defensemen at the point.

Defense

In the defensive zone, he will drop back for his pinching defenseman who is out of position. Wong will utilize an active stick to shut down the rush. If his opponent tries to position the puck left, Wong will use his stick-blade to put pressure on the opponents stick-blade and that allows Wong to create a turnover in possession. At the point, he does an excellent job of using his active stick and causing turnovers on defenders, who tend to be slightly weaker with their puck security.

In terms of positioning, Wong will defend the slot and try to keep the attack away from high danger by standing at the face-off hash marks. Wong patrols the slot and looks to take away passing lanes. That has led to interceptions and breakouts.

Speaking of breakouts, Wong will look to complete bounce passes off the boards to a teammate when there is an attacker in between Wong and his teammate and not other clear passing option.

He won’t often go into puck battles along the defensive half-walls. Instead, he opts to stand outside for insurance and offer a passing lane. While he won’t go into puck battles along the half-wall, he will engage in loose puck battles down low behind his goaltender. But, if there are already quite a few teammates down low, he will drop low in the slot and provide a breakout pass lane.

Occasionally, he will struggle with spacial awareness. Wong will hold his stick out in front of him and try to force his attackers play in low danger along the boards, but he gives them a lot of time and space. But, then there are situations in which he will position himself in front of the puck carrier in low danger and takes away space to keep the attacker in low danger.

Skating 

Wong deploys quality ankle flexion. When looking to garner appropriate speed especially in transition, he will complete two lengthier skate extensions and then he shortens up his extensions when he’s garnered enough speed. In addition, he will deploy quality crossovers to help facilitate the necessary acceleration. His crossovers allows him to generate speed when he uses multiple crossovers before using lengthier skate extensions. Wong will also deploy quality lateral crossovers when shifting from backwards skating to forwards skating when reacting to changes in puck possession in the neutral zone. While he does possess the ability to garner quality speed when skating up and down the ice, he will struggle at generating necessary speed to react to puck movement on the forecheck. 

While he has a quality stride and crossovers, he will face challenges with his edges and ability to stop. When he looks to complete a hockey stop, he will widens his skates too far out as if he was making a split. That often occurs when trying to grab a hold of a pass that went too far wide. In situations where he deploys inside edges, he will struggle with balance and opts to put his left glove on the ice while completing the turn to keep himself stable. While trying to fend off the back-check in low danger, he will have stability issues when deploying inside edges. Ultimately, he needs to work on hockey stops and improving his mobility.

Transitional Play

Similar to his play in the defensive zone, he will covers for his defenseman, who is in the middle of a line change, drops back for him at the defensive blue-line.

Wong will look to use an active stick in transition when looking to stop the rush from driving into his zone, but it often doesn’t lead to a turnover and enough pressure as he doesn’t have a ton of speed when countering puck movement.

When there are puck battles along the boards, he doesn’t tend to draw in and assert pressure. Instead, he will hang back and offer a passing lane.

When moving up the ice, he thrives in transition when going zone to zone. Wong will use a lot of upper body strength to extend the puck out and cut in front of his opponent who is asserting pressure on him in the neutral zone, manages to cut through pressure and drive from zone to zone. He will sometimes look to use the boards when driving through the neutral zone zone-to-zone and looking to avoid a confrontation with an attacker. Instead of a confrontation, he will pass the puck off the boards to himself.

Projection

Third Line Center (NHL).


stats from InStat and EliteProspects

Prospect report written by Josh Tessler. If you would like to follow Josh on Twitter, his handle is @JoshTessler_.

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Scouting Report: Shai Buium

Photo Credit: Shattuck-St. Mary’s School

Scouting Report written by Paul Zuk

One of the more interesting draft profiles for the 2021 NHL Draft class comes in the form of Sioux City Musketeers defenseman Shai Buium. Buium was born in San Diego, California, but his parents were both born in Israel. Shai was introduced to the game of hockey by his cousin, and it didn’t take long for him to fall in love.

Buium played his youth hockey with the Los Angeles Kings AAA 13U squad in the Tier 1 Elite Hockey League, where he just missed out on being a point-per-game player (35pts in 47 games in 2016/17). The following season, Buium began to attend USHS Prep School, Shattuck St. Mary’s, alongside fellow Draft eligible Liam Gilmartin. Buium enjoyed a successful rookie season with Shattuck, recording four goals and 11 assists for 15 points in 29 games. From 2018 to 2020, Buium suited up for Shattuck’s 16U AAA team, where he had two very impressive seasons, notching a combined 21 goals, 67 assists for 88 points in 100 total games.

In 2020/21, Buium split time between Shattuck’s USHS-Prep team and the Sioux City Musketeers in the USHL, where he saw his draft stock rise with some excellent two-way play. He recorded two goals and 11 assists for 13 points in 17 games playing with Scott Morrow at Shattuck’s to start the campaign, and finished with an impressive four goals and 22 assists for 26 points in 50 games with the Musketeers.

For the 2022/23 season, Buium has committed to the University of Denver, where he’ll join a Pioneer squad which could boast names like Sean Behrens and 2022 NHL Draft Eligible prospect Jack Devine. Under the tutelage of Head Coach David Carle, Buium and co. will look to take Denver back to their 2017 form, where the Pioneer squad captured the National Championship. Look for Shai Buium to play a pivotal role in getting back to the Frozen Four in the seasons ahead.

Player Profile

D.O.B – March 26, 2003
Nationality 
– USA
Draft Eligibility 
– 2021
Height 
–6’3
Weight 
–214 lbs
Position 
– Defense
Handedness 
– Left

Buium’s Style Of Play

Shai Buium is an extremely talented two-way defenseman who rarely spares a chance to make something happen offensively. Whether it’s by pinching in down low to dish the puck off to a teammate in proximity, or by completing a zone entry and driving on net, Buium always seems to have his fingerprints on offensive opportunities.

In transition, there aren’t many defenders who are as capable as Buium when it comes to flipping the play from defense to offense. He is the catalyst for orchestrating Sioux City’s breakouts, and he can make plays via his feet and by passing. Consistency is a strong trait of Buium’s, as he can be relied upon to lead the offensive charge without issue virtually every time.

Defensively, Buium is efficient at disrupting attackers’ chances and is successful at putting his body in the way to break up passing lanes and block shots. He’s also capable of using his 6’3, 214lbs frame to play physical and knock opponents off the puck.

Let’s take a deeper look into the most important aspects of Shai Buium’s game:

Skating

The most unrefined aspect of his overall game, Buium’s skating did make strides in 2020/21, when comparing his footage from the season before. It seemed as if he added a little more speed, which he generated from working on elongating his stride.

Buium is agile enough to navigate the neutral and offensive zones, as he has shown in his footage with Sioux City this past season. Several times per game, it was evident he could open his hips and skate the width of the blueline at will, looking to create offense.

An impressive trait of Buium’s skating is his overall strength on his skates. In watching his game film, he was not knocked off the puck easily, and tended to get a relatively low center of gravity, which helped him fend off attackers and protect the puck.

In preparation for the next level, Buium’s edgework and acceleration could use a little bit of added skill, as there have been times where he’s been caught up ice after a failed pinch attempt, and struggled to get back in time to defend properly. It’s a very minor tweak, but one that could pay dividends at the next level if Buium continues to play the game the way he does.

Offense

Buium loves to flex his offensive skill muscle pretty much any time he comes across a sliver of space. He’s exceptional at using his soft and smooth hands to make a simple deke around a defender and then cut in on net, resulting in a strong scoring chance pretty much every time.

Buium loves to throw pucks on net as early and as often as he can. Whether it be from his slapshot which is a bit of a work in progress, or his strong and accurate wrist shot, Buium can put himself in a position to score almost every time the puck touches his stick in the offensive zone.

Passing is another extremely positive element to Buium’s offensive game. He can hit a teammate with a crisp, clean pass to start the breakout, and he can also deliver the puck in a timely matter with accuracy in the offensive zone.

Perhaps my favorite aspect of Buium’s game is his vision on the ice and his overall hockey IQ. He thinks the game so well, especially when it comes to creating breakouts and with the puck on his stick in the offensive zone. Buium seems to think one step ahead pretty much all of the time and can be lethal when given too much time and space to operate within.

Defense

Buium is able to keep good gap control when defending the opponent’s rush up ice, and tends to force play to the boards rather than allowing them to cut up the middle of the ice. Then, he’s efficient at winning puck battles along the boards, and getting the puck away from attackers. Not only is Buium skilled enough to strip opponents of the puck, he’s quick to make a decision on how to flip the play and head up ice as fast and effective as possible.
In terms of positioning, Buium is well above average. He’s rarely caught out of position, and can defend the net front as well as down low along the boards with a high level of success.

Buium does a great job sacrificing his body to shut down passing lanes and to block shots. He’s able to utilize his active stick to disrupt any sort of set-ups attackers throw his way, and clear the zone with a high level of effectiveness.

As Buium is still developing as a prospect, there’s a little room for his overall defensive game to grow. As it stands now, he’s a solid defender who will only continue to progress as he transitions to the next level.

Let’s look at a couple of areas in which Buium can improve upon to reach his maximum potential:

Improvements

As mentioned above, Shai Buium is a very solid prospect who’s game projects very well at the next level. That being said, like any prospect, there’s always room for improvement. For Buium, the biggest area of improvement would be to develop his skating a little bit more.

Buium is a decent skater, but his edgework and acceleration could use some added skill. He may look to integrate some off-ice training to build up his explosiveness out of the gate, and with a lesser game schedule in College Hockey, it will allow Buium more time in the gym to add muscle.

Second, Buium may look to work on getting into more high-danger shooting areas in the offensive zone. Over half of his shots on goal this past season came from the right-center area around the blueline. For a player who thrives on creating offense and pinching down as frequent as Buium, he may look to be a little more patient with getting pucks on net, in order to cause more high-danger chances.

Lastly, Buium may look to improve the speed and accuracy of his slapshot. In watching his film, it was noticeable that Buium sometimes struggled to get his shot on net, which runs the risk of exiting the zone depending on where the puck hits the boards/opponents/etc. He may look to spend some of the offseason working on his shot power and accuracy, as it will be a pivotal part of his game in the near future.

Overall Outlook

Looking at the more in-depth aspects of Shai Buium’s game, it’s evident with a little work on his skating, Buium has the skillset and abilities to be a menace at the NHL level. His two-way game certainly translates quite well at the next level, and for someone his size to be so smooth and effective in every zone of the ice is impressive.

Buium has been all over the map when it comes to draft rankings, as his sample size is a little smaller than other two-way, offensively gifted defensemen in the class. However, it would come as no surprise to see a team take a swing for the fences and select Buium somewhere in the second round.

As Buium heads to the University of Denver to begin the 2022/23 season, he’ll look to work on the little things which will elevate his level of play that much more. Whichever team that ends up selecting Buium in the 2021 NHL Draft may have to wait a few seasons to see a return on their investment, but if he continues on his development path, that wait will be more than worth it.


stats from InStat and EliteProspects

Prospect report written by Paul Zuk. If you would like to follow Paul on Twitter, his handle is @paulzuk_81.

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Scouting Report: Kirill Kirsanov

Photo Credit: SKA.ru

Scouting Report written by Josh Tessler

Kirill Kirsanov is a 2021 NHL Draft eligible prospect, who hails from Tver, Russia. He is from the same town that former New Jersey Devils and Atlanta Thrashers forward Ilya Kovalchuk and Nashville Predators prospect Yegor Afanasyev are from. Tver is roughly an hour drive northwest of Moscow, Russia.

Kirsanov is one of the oldest 2021 NHL Draft eligible prospects as he was born four days after the 2020 NHL Draft cut-off date.

In his youth hockey days, Kirsanov played for Tverskiye Tigry Tver and ended up joining the Vityaz Podolsk organization in 2017. He played U16, U17 and U18 hockey for Vityaz Podolsk before being dealt to SKA St. Petersburg alongside Minnesota Wild prospect Marat Khusnutdinov.

This past season was Kirsanov’s second season in the SKA St. Petersburg organization. He split his time between the MHL, VHL and KHL. For those unfamiliar with Russian hockey, MHL is juniors, VHL is minors and KHL is the highest professional level. He spent the majority of his time at the KHL level. In 29 games played in the KHL, Kirsanov tallied three assists. During his VHL stint, he played in four games and recorded two points (one goal and one assists). In his eight games in the MHL, he tallied four assists.

In May of 2021, Kirsanov signed a contract extension with SKA St. Petersburg that will keep him with the organization through the 2022-2023 season.

In addition to his league play, Kirsanov was part of the Russian 2021 World Juniors roster. He had played in seven games at the World Juniors in Edmonton, Alberta and recorded two points (one goal and one assist).

Player Profile

D.O.B – September 19, 2002
Nationality – Russia
Draft Eligibility – 2021
Height –6’1
Weight –198 lbs
Position – Defense
Handedness – Left

Kirsanov’s Style Of Play

Offense

Kirsanov isn’t a point producer, but he is still rather effective in the offensive zone. For instance, he likes to pinch up after netting possession in the neutral zone, completing a controlled zone entry, driving up the boards and attempting a low danger shot. While his shot isn’t a booming one and not too flashy, his goal is to get pucks on net and hope that one of his forwards down low can grab a hold of the rebound. But, he did find the back of the net three times during his 2020-2021 campaign. Two of his goals came on the power play and the other while playing 5v5 hockey. He favored his snap shot with solid weight transfer. 

While he did have some success with his shot, he also struggled at times as well. Questionable shot selection with no open lane in front of him. 

From a passing perspective, Kirsanov only recorded one primary assist all year long. It was a regular tape to tape feed and it was when the MHL season just began. Even though he hasn’t found much playmaking success, I haven’t seen any flaws with his passing. But, you won’t see him attempt that many dangerous passes. That’s just not his game.

The area that Kirsanov really stands out is his ability to keep pucks in the offensive zone and eliminate opportunities to breakout. He will pinch up to play a loose puck down low past the face-off hashmarks at the half-wall. But, he also looks to catch forwards trying to break out off-guard. Looks to catch forwards at the point who have their back turned to the neutral zone by surprise when they are about to collect a breakout pass. Kirsanov drives right to them to shut down the zone exit attempt.

Defense 

When he’s defending the rush, he tends to be a little laid back until the forward decides to look to pass or shoot and then he closes in and puts quality pressure on the forward.

When the attack drifts into medium danger, Kirsanov will close up on attack and put his stick-blade out in front of them to force rash shot decision making. While does assert pressure in medium danger, I would like to see more pressure on the shot taker from low danger. He tends to give the puck carrier a lot of space in low danger situations. He will bend down and try to generate shot blocks, but does so from slightly further out than he should. 

Kirsanov will lend a hand down low in a 1-on-1 puck battle behind his own net. At net-front, he will push into attackers (without the puck) who look to grab space in high danger. In the corners, he will fight hard in puck battles for the puck.

While he has shown success in the corners, Kirsanov needs to be cautious about jumping into a loose puck battle with another teammate. He needs to pick his battles so to speak. When he jumps into a battle with another teammate, he is drawn out of position and that can key up scoring chances for the other team should the attacker managed to play the puck along the boards to his teammate down low.

He will shift over to a centered defensive role in the slot when puck battles are on the other side of the boards. You will also see him go into the corner on the right side to put pressure on a puck carrier when his defensive partner has jumped up along the half-wall and isn’t in position to drop back to the corner.

You will see Kirsanov struggle at defending 2-on-1 situations. He will prone on 2-on-1s. Kirsanov needs to be more centered, widen his stance and ultimately take up more room. But, proning won’t pay dividends if the attacker sees it coming and stick-handles around him. 

I’d like to see puck security improve when in the defensive zone. Sometimes when he drops back to re-group before a breakout attempt, Kirsanov will cough up possession down low at net-front to his opponent when he extends his reach. He will also face the same challenge when extending his stick out with the puck when facing pressure along the boards. Once the attacker puts pressure on him, Kirsanov struggles to hold onto the puck.

From a breakout passing perspective, he generally prefers to complete lateral passes to his defensive partner. He will complete a lateral pass in the face-off circle to his defensive partner in the other face-off circle. Afterwards, you will see his defensive partner try a stretch pass or carry the puck into the neutral zone. If he collects the pass off the face-off and the forecheck draws in, he will look to complete a backhand pass along the boards behind the net to his defensive partner. Kirsanov will also rattle the puck around the boards to a winger at the blue-line to try to force a zone exit when down low.

The only type of pass that I’d love to see more refinement is on his stretch passes. He puts a little too much power behind a stretch pass and the intended target will fail at capturing possession of the puck.

Skating 

Kirsanov look to use quite a bit of crossovers when going zone to zone with the puck to accelerate. He relies mostly on crossovers when in transition and controlling the puck himself from zone to zone. There aren’t a lot of skate extensions involved when cutting through the neutral zone. In addition, he does an excellent job of utilizing lateral crossovers. He will deploy good lateral crossovers in the neutral zone to pull attackers towards him and open up ice for his defensive partner. That allows Kirsanov to pass to his defensive partner without much pressure on his partner. He also likes to complete lateral crossovers when he is vacating the defensive zone and skating into the neutral zone on the rush. That allows him to garner much needed acceleration. 

While there are attributes to like about his crossovers, there is still improvement that is needed. From time to time, Kirsanov can be inconsistent on lateral crossover length, which makes him a tad slower at times, especially when behind his own net and an attacker is in front of his goaltender. When shifting out from behind the net, he was a bit slow and that had all to do with his crossover placement.

From a forward skate extension perspective, his skate extensions are well synchronized when going from zone to zone. His ankle flexion is solid. Kneecaps above the toes of his skates. He has a lengthy extension and that allows him to drop back to the defensive at a quick rate to pick up loose pucks or stay aligned with the attacker.

His edges are quite sound. Kirsanov has a good tight turn radius and can power his turns with equal success no matter if he’s using inside or outside edges.

Transitional Play

Similar to his struggles in the defensive zone, when defending against a 2-on-1 in the neutral zone, he needs to be more centered between the two attackers in case of puck movement. 

Usually when he is defending in the neutral zone, he plays further out, but does look to close in on F1 when they get to the defensive blue-line.

If he sees a loose puck in the neutral zone, he will do his best to be the first one on the puck and recover possession. He doesn’t carry the puck into the offensive zone too much, so he will look to complete a cross-ice diagonal feed to the winger closer to the offensive blue-line once he’s gained possession and completes a tight turn.

When he doesn’t have the clear advantage in speed, he will dart out of the offensive zone and stay stride for stride with the opponent to cut him off when they reach the puck.

Kirsanov will drop back with the puck to the defensive blue-line to control the tempo. Sometimes that allows SKA to catch their opponents off guard and force a line change. Even if its one attacker coming off the ice that can allow SKA to key up a 5-on-4 situation for a brief window until the replacement can catch up.

He is not an elusive stick-handler when skating through the neutral zone and need to work on puck security more. Kirsanov will control the puck with the toe of his stick-blade and thus will cause turnovers. With that being said, he prefers to pass the puck instead of carrying the puck into the offensive zone. Instead, he will complete clean tape-to-tape zone exit passes to key up the rush.

Projection

Second Pairing Defenseman (NHL).


stats from InStat and EliteProspects

Prospect report written by Josh Tessler. If you would like to follow Josh on Twitter, his handle is @JoshTessler_.

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Scouting Report: Hugo Gabrielsson

Photo Credit: Frölunda HC

Scouting Report written by Josh Tessler

Hugo Gabrielsson is a 2021 NHL Draft eligible prospect, who plays in the Frölunda organization.

In his youth hockey days, Gabrielsson played for Hovås HC. Hovås is the same organization that Detroit Red Wings prospect Elmer Söderblom and his brother Arvid Söderblom played for. Once the 2016-2017 season concluded, Gabrielsson, who had been playing U16, J18 and J20 hockey for Hovås, had transferred to Frölunda.

While he has yet to suit up for Frölunda at the SHL level, he has played at the U16, J18 and J20 levels for the club. Next season, he is set to play for Västerviks IK of the HockeyAllsvenskan. Gabrielsson will likely need at least one season in HockeyAllsvenskan before making the jump to the SHL level.

This past season, Gabrielsson split his time between Frölunda HC J20 and the Halmstad Hammers HC (HockeyEttan). Once the J20 Nationell season was cancelled due to COVID-19, Gabrielsson was then loaned out to Halmstad. Prior to the loan, he had recorded four goals and nine assists in 17 games for Frölunda HC J20. Gabrielsson had stronger production in J20 Nationell play, but still managed to record seven points in 24 games for Halmstad.

While he wasn’t able to play a full season for Frölunda this past season, he did play alongside a talented group of prospects including Theodor Niederbach (Detroit Red Wings), Daniel Torgersson (Winnipeg Jets), Liam Dower Nilsson (2021 eligible), Philip Granath (2021 eligible), Fabian Lysell (2021 eligible), Simon Edvinsson (2021 eligible) and Ludwig Persson (2022 eligible).

Gabrielsson is represented by the Swedish hockey agency, Playmaker Agency. The agency has four agents who played professional hockey in Michael Rosell, Antero Niittymäki, Calle Johansson and Michael Nylander.

The agency represents quite a bit of Swedish talent including William Nylander (Toronto Maple Leafs), Alexander Nylander (Chicago Blackhawks), Zion Nybeck (Carolina Hurricanes prospect), Jonathan Berggren (Detroit Red Wings prospect), Emil Andrae (Philadelphia Flyers prospect), Hugo Alnefelt (Tampa Bay Lightning prospect), Linus Sandin (Philadelphia Flyers prospect) and Rasmus Sandin (Toronto Maple Leafs).

Player Profile

D.O.B – October 24, 2002
Nationality – Sweden
Draft Eligibility – 2021
Height –6’1
Weight –172 lbs
Position – Defense
Handedness – Left

Gabrielsson’s Style Of Play

Gabrielsson is a versatile defender. When he was playing with Frölunda HC J20 in the beginning of the season, prior to the J20 Nationell shutdown, head coach of the J20 team, Tobias Johansson was shifting Gabrielsson on a regular basis from left defense to right defense. When he played alongside Simon Edvinsson, they’d change positioning on a shift-to-shift basis. Same situation when he was paired with Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Eric Hjorth. 

When Gabrielsson joined Halmstad, he was shifting from left to right as well. 

With his flexibility to play on both sides and his offensive driven playing style, he will give you Jake Gardiner vibes when you watch him closely. 

Offense

Gabrielsson loves to get involved in the slot, the corners and down low in the offensive zone. He will pinch up with the puck, if he brings the defender with him and can’t get an open lane to the slot, he will pass back to the point since he’ll likely have a man a bit more open. In addition, he will pinch up to retrieve loose pucks in the corner. When pinching up to claim possession of a loose puck in the slot, you can expect Gabrielsson to quickly try a snap shot immediately after grabbing a hold of the puck. He uses excellent weight transfer and leans forward to gather the necessary momentum for his shot attempt.

Occasionally, you will see Gabrielsson look to capture loose pucks in the corners. But, he will get beat as there are moments where his skating acceleration and explosiveness are a tad inconsistent. In those situations, in which Gabrielsson is late to the puck, he’s now out of position as the attackers have grabbed the puck and now are looking to rush up the ice. That leaves his defensive partner in a vulnerable spot.

Similar to his affinity for jumping in the slot to grab loose pucks, he will also jump in the slot and identify open ice for his teammates to pass to. His aggressiveness to find open ice has led to plenty of one-timer scoring chances. That doesn’t just mean that looks for open ice solely in the offensive zone. He will also look for open ice throughout the zone and score one-timers from the perimeter.

From a positioning perspective, Gabrielsson for the most part is quite sound. If his defensive partner pinches in and no one drops back to cover for his defensive partner, Gabrielsson will shift over to a more centered spot along the blue line. Gabrielsson has proven that he will react quickly in those encounters especially when there are loose pucks on their way to the blue line. He will continue to cover his defensive partner, shift over and pass the puck along the boards to keep the puck in the offensive zone.

Sometimes, his stick-handling can be a tad off in the offensive zone. When he looks to extend the puck a bit further out and drive to the net, he will bobble pucks at times. Gabrielsson needs to garner the necessary upper-body strength to garner the necessary reach.

His passing can be a tad inconsistent in the offensive zone. But, most of the inconsistency has to do with looking to keep the puck in the offensive zone when the puck drifts to the point. If he’s looking to keep the puck in the offensive zone, sometimes Gabrielsson will act kind of rash and pass the puck without identifying the best teammate to pass towards. That has led to turnovers in possession. 

While he can be slightly inconsistent when passing, he’s also shown that he can be quite dominant as well. He will deliver crisp one-touch cross ice passes on the power play. In situations, where he has lured the attack towards him, he’ll show off his athleticism and deception by completing a 180 degree turn to throw the attack off and grab open ice for himself before completing a pass to a winger in medium or high danger. 

Defense

While his offense is his calling card, his defensive game is still under development and needs continued refinement. Gap control is an issue for Gabrielsson. He doesn’t assert much man-to-man pressure. He doesn’t get in the face of the attacker when they are rushing up the boards. In general, he prefers to let his forward group handle the first encounter and he will take over down low in the corners. The earliest that he starts to assert pressure is in medium danger on the rush. But, when he is alone in the defensive zone as his defensive partner pinched up and is late to defend the rush, he will shift over to the other side to try to combat the rush along the boards. 

If his defensive partner is covering the rush along the boards, you can expect Gabrielsson to defend the slot and look to take away passing lanes. 

When he goes in for the back check, he’s usually slightly late and his attacker has already moved the puck out. Gabrielsson will struggle with consistent acceleration and that allows the attacker to avoid pressure and move the puck with ease. In addition, when Gabrielsson drops to his knees, he usually will drop to his knees a bit further out from the shooter. That allows the shooter to identify the best shooting lane and avoid a shot block.

When looking to complete a breakout pass, his classic move is a lateral pass to his defensive partner just outside of the defensive blue-line. But, when he’s facing pressure from an attacker and his back is turned to the attacker, he will look to complete a behind the back and through the legs breakout pass. If he’s dealing with an aggressive forecheck, he will pivot out and fire a lateral pass or look to complete a deceptive drop pass to his defensive partner. The only time that he struggles with breakout passes is when he looks to complete a pass along the boards. 

If an opponent tries to catch Gabrielsson off-guard and attempts to go past the red line to grab possession of a loose puck when they are both in front of the net, Gabrielsson will try to play tight man-to-man defense. Although, sometimes when doing so, he looses control over his skate extension length and since he has a bit of a knocked knee, he will struggle to stay on his toes and assert pressure. 

Generally, Gabrielsson prefers to sit at net-front. When there are puck battles on the other side of the ice along the boards, Gabrielsson will shift over next to the net in an insurance capacity. Sometimes, when at net-front, he will struggle with his peripheral vision and reaction timing. There are situations where Gabrielsson is covering one attacker at net-front and there is another with the puck looking to wrap around the net. Instead of identifying the puck carrying attacker and looking to put pressure on him, he will concentrate on the other attacker and that will lead to vulnerable situations for his goaltender.

Skating 

His skating can be a tad inconsistent, especially with his edge work. You will notice instances in which he will try to complete a hockey stop to dump the puck into the offensive zone as the defender was approaching him in the neutral zone, but he will struggle with his inside edge balance and fall over. It’s not just when deploying hockey stops. There are moments where Gabrielsson looks to be more mobile and deploy inside edges in transition. But, you see him struggle to keep balance.

While his inside edges need further development, he seems to be stronger with his outside edges. When switching from backwards skating to skating forwards, he will rely on his outside edges to follow through on the turn.

When you look at Gabrielsson’s crossovers, you will notice that he will deploy lengthy crossovers before he uses skate extensions to garner necessary speed to chase loose pucks. Yet, sometimes, his crossovers aren’t lengthy enough, so he struggles to get the necessary push to drive acceleration. 

If he’s looking to complete power skate extensions, there are moments where his knocked knee impacts his acceleration and he looses balance. With a knocked knee coming into play, it doesn’t just impact acceleration, but it also means that Gabrielsson will face mobility challenges as well. In addition, when I watch Gabrielsson pivot out, he seems to utilize a lot of lower body strength to facilitate the pivot and I would like him to pivot out a bit smoother to avoid potentially knee issues over the long haul.

While he does have a bit of a knocked knee, he does have quality ankle flexion and that does benefit him from a speed perspective when in full stride.

Transitional Play

When defending the rush, Gabrielsson isn’t the strongest defender. He doesn’t bend his knees and lower his body to take up space along the blue line. I’d like to see Gabrielsson work on taking up open ice and be stronger at blue line. If he can do so, he will be able to cut down on rush attempts and force dump-ins. 

In the neutral zone, he doesn’t have strongest active stick. He will extend his stick out, but instead of the stick-blade aligning to the puck, Gabrielsson will often extend his stick out towards the opponent’s pants. Even though he has challenges with his active stick, he does stay well aligned to puck carrier.

If his defensive partner pinches up and the puck vacates the offensive zone, Gabrielsson will shift back at centered ice until his defensive partner drops back. This allows Gabrielsson to work the middle and have eyes on the entire neutral zone.

When in possession of the puck and looking to create zone entries, he tends to prefer to find an open teammate versus carrying the puck in himself. If he identifies a winger on the other side at the offensive blue-line, he will fire a diagonal cross-ice pass to key up a zone entry. Additionally, similar to his passing style in the defensive zone, he will look to complete lateral passes to his defensive partner like the one below. 

In those situations in which he faces pressure and in possession of the puck, he will dump the puck into the offensive zone. If the pressure is quite tight, you can expect him to utilize the boards to complete the dump-in.

On occasion, you will see Gabrielsson look to carry the puck in himself into the offensive zone. He will find gaps to exploit and drive the puck into the zone. 

Projection

Second Pairing Defender (NHL).


stats from InStat and EliteProspects

Prospect report written by Josh Tessler. If you would like to follow Josh on Twitter, his handle is @JoshTessler_.

Looking for other scouting reports? Check out the Prospects tab for our other scouting reports.

Need a scouting report on a particular prospect, contact us today!

Scouting Report: Marcus Almquist

Photo Credit: HV71

Scouting Report written bAlex Appleyard

Under-sized Scandinavian wingers ending up as draft or free-agent steels is nothing new. Mats Zuccarello, Gustav Nyquist, Viktor Arvidsson, Victor Olofsson, Jesper Bratt, Andreas Johnsson and Nils Höglander all fit that bill. Last year the prime contender to continue that tradition was HV71’s Zion Nybeck, a 2nd round talent who fell to the 4th. This year? Look no further than one of Nybeck’s team-mates, Marcus Almquist.

The Copenhagen native has been wowing people with his skills since he was 14 playing at under 18 level across the Øresund bridge in Sweden. At 15 he was point-per-game playing against men in the Danish second tier, despite looking like he should still have been in elementary school. And this season? Almquist was second in the J20 amongst draft eligible scorers, behind Oskar Olausson, his team-mate and a prospect pegged to go top 15 in the draft.

But Almquist will not be going in the first round, likely not the second round either, and probably not in the top 100. However, if a team is looking for a steal? Despite his diminutive build Almquist has the upside that very few players available after pick #60 will have.

Player Profile

D.O.B – September 13, 2003
Nationality – Denmark
Draft Eligibility – 2021
Height – 5’7
Weight –168 lbs
Position – Right Wing/Center
Handedness – Right

Almquist’s Style Of Play

The Danish winger is electric. Though maybe not in the stereotypical sense that those words bring to mind. If you are small in the modern NHL being a plus skater is essential in order to stick in the league. Almquist fits that bill, though it would be a stretch to say that his skating is “elite” as some of the other under-sized NHL wingers who have preceded him have been. Yes, he is fast. At the junior level he is often the fastest skater on ice. However, against men he cannot always burn people at will once in stride. Despite that he is hard to catch in transition. Much of this is due to great edge-work and a sixth sense for how neutral zone coverage works. At times his skating reminds me of someone like Claude Giroux, who once in stride with the puck on his stick is hard to stop, and who is very elusive in the corners, despite not maybe having the top speed of others on ice. He is one of those players who looks faster with the puck on his stick.

He compliments his skating with great hands that he has confidence in. After he has affected yet another zone entry or neutral zone rush he has no qualms trying to make a highlight reel play and sucker a defenseman into making it an odd-man situation in his favour. His ability to reposition the puck on his stick, get it out of his feet, and around opposition can seem like a magic trick at times.

This fantastic “feel” for the puck also helps when it comes to shooting. Almquist has a great shot, albeit not in the “traditional” sense. He will never beat a goalie with pure power, and no-one is worried about blocking a shot from the diminutive Dane. However, he can pick a corner through traffic, understands where goalies are most vulnerable, and has a wickedly quick release that he can get off from anywhere. This, allied with his nose for the net, fast hands and ability to lift a puck at will mean he has been a prolific goal-scorer at every level he has played at.

His transition work and ability to cycle the puck in the offensive zone allow him to get the puck on his stick and keep it. From here he can also use good vision and soft hands to thread some great passes to line-mates. He can also control the pace of play in the offensive zone with the puck on his stick. However, while he can find amazing passes he also turns the puck over slightly too much in these situations when better options are available.

The young Dane is tenacious for his size. He does not give up on plays, especially on the fore-check, and harasses defensemen with his active stick-work. Almquist is not scared of going to the boards for a battle either, though it must be said that he loses the majority of those battles due to a lack of size and strength. As an extension of this it is no surprise that Almquist is happy to go to the net-front as well, where he can be surprisingly effective. While he might lose if engaged in a physical battle, his great edge-work, elusiveness and ability to get his stick on the ice at the right moment can send defensemen into fits around the blue-paint. On the cycle it is surprising at times how effective he can be, he gets low, uses his lower body strength alongside his skating, and can protect a puck with aplomb against men who look twice his size.

Almquist is always looking to get on his horse and get the puck going the other way. This means that he plays with an intensity, where something always might happen if a puck gets to him, as in his mind he is seemingly always thinking about beating the opposition goalie. There is a downside to this however, as he can flee the zone early and put his team a man down with no-one to pick up trailers. He also puts himself in off-side positions too regularly, which must be frustrating for his team-mates and his coach.

Despite his intensity and willingness to engage physically, these attributes do not translate into his defensive zone work. This seems to be due to a combination of a few things. Firstly, he is physically overmatched. Secondly, his mindset is offense, and as a result can get out of position. Thirdly, he mis-reads plays even when in a good position. There are some positives to his defensive zone play though, as his intensity does mean he can force turnovers, and with his skill and skating his zone exit work is a joy to behold.

If Almquist can clean up some of the finer points of his play, as well as simply get bigger and stronger, he has the skill and attitude to make himself an NHL career as a middle six winger. He has more “raw” talent than many of the players who will go in the first round of this draft, and as such he could be a boom or bust pick. If a team wants to swing for the fences in the middle round then Almquist has to be on their radar.

Comparison

Jesper Bratt, LW, New Jersey Devils

The two undersized Scandinavians share many traits. Both are great skaters, albeit skaters who excel move in the way of agility rather than pure speed. They also both have good shots, though Bratt does have a heavier shot than Almquist. Their silky mitts combined with their elusiveness mean they are both marvelous transition players across all three lines. Additionally, they share a level of tenacity and willingness to get to the danger areas despite their size. Bratt is, however, a more instinctive player in the defensive zone.


stats from InStat and EliteProspects

Prospect report written by Alexander Appleyard. If you would like to follow Alex on Twitter, his handle is @alexappleyard.

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Scouting Report: William Strömgren

Photo Credit: Nathalie Andersson

Scouting Report written by Alex Appleyard

Örnsköldsvik has become synonymous with hockey over the last 30 years. The small town of just 30,000 people nestled in the Gulf of Bothnia has not just produced numerous NHLers… it has produced enough Hall of Fame calibre talents then you can only just count them on one hand. Peter Forsberg, Markus Näslund, Victor Hedman, Daniel and Henrik Sedin, all products of the Ångermanland town and MODO Hockey club.

Now, William Strömgren is not the level of player of any of the above. And next season he won’t even be playing for MODO, having moved to Rögle in the SHL for 2021-22. But can he be the next NHL product from Sweden’s hockey Mecca? He certainly has a good shot of adding his name to the already impressive list.

Player Profile

D.O.B – June 7, 2003
Nationality – Sweden
Draft Eligibility – 2021
Height – 6’3
Weight –176 lbs
Position – Left Wing/Right Wing
Handedness – Left

Strömgren’s Style Of Play

Throughout his junior career the big forward has stood out due to his skating ability. It is rare to see a player with such a large frame for his age burn smaller defensemen, let alone out-manoeuvre them in close, but against players his own age Strömgren is capable of just this. Now, he has not fully grown into his frame yet, and as such he can occasionally look slightly “bambi-like”, especially with his up-right skating style. But the lower body strength, edge-work, and power when in stride are there already. Strangely, Strömgren actually looks a better skater with the puck on his stick that with-out, as he seems to get lower to the ice and in turn waste less energy. That being said, skating will never be an issue for Strömgren, and with some extra strength he will likely be able to drop a shoulder and get past most NHL defensemen in future.

Arguably his stand-out skill is his shot. His one-timer is up there as one of the best in the draft, and leaves even pro goalies stranded in Allsvenskan. The way he shoots is beautiful to behold. Most players “hammer” the puck to get velocity. He seemingly “caresses” it into a corner at high speed. Fluid and efficient with a hint of elegance is how you would describe his one-timer from the right side. His wrist-shot is of a similar calibre and equally beautiful to watch. The power he generates defies the ease with which he leans into his stick. That, allied with a great eye for a corner, means goalies often don’t get the chance to move. His release is so quick and effortless that if there is even a slight screen the goalie won’t even realise a shot is incoming, especially with the proficiency that Strömgren has shooting in stride. His strength and willingness to get to the net also means he can do the dirty work in close.

His passing is not on the same level as his shot. However, it is not a deficiency. From a technical perspective when he sees a pass he can effect it no matter what the difficulty level. The issue at times is that he does not see some passes that he should. Part of this is as he is primarily a goal-scorer, and wants to get to the danger areas instead of waiting for a precision pass. Part of this is also likely due to a small degree of “puck-hog” buried inside of him. Part of this is likely as while technically extremely proficient in every area his hockey IQ is not quite the same level.

For a big man the Swedish winger has soft, deceptive hands. Not only this, he has the confidence to use them. He can manoeuvre the puck in close to any way you can imagine, while in stride. As such, he is also able to use this ability to help unleash his high-end shot, manipulating defensemen to make them stand off, or re-positioning the puck from a bad pass at the last minute from heel to toe to pick a corner.

However, there can also be a downside to this. Hubris. At times that is what it appears Strömgren has with the puck on his stick. Especially when playing against men. There were some games where he was a turnover machine due to making one too many moves or trying to dangle past a player when it was not on. He did clean this area up as the year went on, which is a positive, but it will always be in his natural mind-set to take players on, and hopefully he can continue to be more selective in this area.

As a forechecker Strömgren uses his good skating and reach, alongside his willingness to engage physically, to harass opposition defensemen and make their life hell on the break-out. His extremely active stick at times comes from no-where to disrupt a pass or steal a puck off a stick. He does not seem to be as intuitive as the best fore-checkers in this area – he can occasionally chase too far or get crossed up with own line-mates — but you cannot fault his willingness and work-rate here. With more maturity here with his skating and frame he could be a juggernaut on the fore-check even in the NHL. Once on the cycle or protecting the puck down low even fully grown men with 10 years of pro experience struggle to relieve him of the puck.

What is confusing at times is his work inside the red-line. He is willing to get back. But in contrast to his fore-checking he does not move his feet enough at times and can get caught puck-watching. Additionally, he has been guilty of mis-reading plays too often and getting himself out of position as a result. Work ethic here is seemingly not the issue though, it just appears that he can be prone to that “rabbit in headlights” feeling in the defensive zone. This should be rectified with more experience and good coaching going forward, but don’t expect the young Swede to be ever anything more than “solid” defensively.

As you can probably infer from all of the above, Strömgren is raw. He has a wonderful set of tools, and he has really started to begin figuring out exactly how to arrange them within his toolbox. If he can continue to progress both mentally and physically over the next few seasons he will be an NHL player. Given his skill-set it is very possible that the hulking winger ends up a good second line winger who can potentially hit 20 or more goals a season with some regularity. He will be a good pick-up for a team in the second round of the 2021 draft.

Comparison

Benoît Pouliot, Left Wing, retired (Minnesota Wild, Montreal Canadiens, Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning, New York Rangers, Edmonton Oilers and Buffalo Sabres)

Like the ex-journeyman NHL winger Pouliot, Strömgren really does have an all-around game breaking skill-set with a big body, good skating, great hands and a beautiful shot. However, as with Pouliot there are questions around his defensive game as well as his hockey IQ at times. While Pouliot did play four seasons at second line level, if Strömgren can iron out more of his deficiencies than the Canadian winger managed to over his career, he could certainly have more longevity in a top six role.


stats from InStat and EliteProspects

Prospect report written by Alexander Appleyard. If you would like to follow Alex on Twitter, his handle is @alexappleyard.

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Scouting Report: Tyler Boucher

Photo Credit: Rena Laverty

Scouting Report written by Paul Zuk

One of several talents in the 2021 NHL Draft coming from NHL bloodlines, Tyler Boucher is a sneakily talented, gritty left-wing currently suiting up for the United States National Team Development Program in Plymouth, Michigan. Boucher is the son of former NHL netminder and 1995 22nd overall pick Brian Boucher.

Boucher played his youth hockey within the AYHL for teams located in New Jersey, most notable being Team Comcast 13U AAA and Virtua 14U AAA. Following his 14U season in which he was almost a two point-per-game player, Boucher attended Avon Old Farms Prep School in Avon, Connecticut. He recorded nine goals and 14 assists for 23 points in 26 games for Avon, which caught the eye of the USNTDP. In 2019/20, Boucher enjoyed a successful rookie season with the USNTDP U17 team, where he tallied 13 goals and 24 assists for 37 points in 67 total games.

This past season was certainly an odd one for Boucher, as he only took to the ice for 19 total games for the U17’s and U18’s after suffering a knee injury in January. Still, he managed 12 goals and seven assists for 19 points, an impressive feat for someone in and out of the lineup battling a nagging knee injury.

For the 2021/22 season, the Haddonfield, New Jersey product will be taking his talents northeast to Boston University (BU), where he’ll link up again with USNTDP teammates Jeremy Wilmer and defenseman Ty Gallagher. Boucher will craft his skills with expert level guidance from Head Coach Albie O’Connell, who will look to lead a feisty Terriers squad back to the National Championship, where their last appearance was in the 2014-15 season. It will come as little surprise to see Tyler Boucher lighting it up at BU in the near future.

Player Profile

D.O.B – January 16, 2003
Nationality 
– USA
Draft Eligibility 
– 2021
Height 
–6’1
Weight 
–201 lbs
Position 
– Left Wing
Handedness 
– Right

Boucher’s Style Of Play

When you watch Tyler Boucher play hockey, it’s almost as if you stepped into a time machine and wound up in 2004. Boucher plays a very physical style of hockey that is fairly hard to come by in today’s modern NHL.

He thrives on making his presence known to the opposition, which is usually able to buy him some time and space on the ice. Not only is he successful at racking up points with that time and space, Boucher also loves to drive to the net with force, with or without the puck. He’s more than capable of batting home a loose puck in tight, but can also kill you with his powerful, above average wrist shot.

Defensively, Boucher is a bit of a work in progress. He’s been able to showcase the attributes needed to be a successful defensive forward, but sometimes struggles putting them all together to be efficient in his own zone. That being said, his work ethic in the defensive zone is definitely not in question, as he has zero issue supporting his defensemen down low battling for pucks.

Let’s get a little more in-depth with the aspects of Tyler Boucher’s game:

Skating

Boucher’s skating is one aspect of his game which NHL front offices will really enjoy. He has more of an upright skating stride, but it’s very powerful. Boucher’s first step and explosiveness are evident, as he can generate a fair bit of speed as he works his way through the neutral zone in transition.

Boucher is quite strong on his feet, which helps him win puck battles along the boards and in open ice. His strength on his skates is shown via his wide skating stance, as his feet look to be slightly farther than shoulder width apart when building up speed.

When executing a zone entry, he buries his head down and uses his leg strength to power his way around defenders, a trait many scouts will love as he transitions to the next level.
His agility and edges could use some work, though, as he sometimes struggles to change direction quickly when play switches direction, leaving him caught out of position. He’ll most likely look to work on these little imperfections in the upcoming seasons.

Offense

Arguably my favorite part of Boucher’s offensive game is his excellent forechecking ability. Simply put, he’s a thorn in many teams sides when they’re trying to set up a breakout. Boucher loves to dig down deep in the corners and physically punish defenders, especially early on in games to set the tone of the game.

Boucher loves to use his size and speed to take the play out wide and skate around the defender when breaking into the offensive zone. When in the offensive zone, he’s able to utilize his above average hands to help evade defenders, even in the tightest of spaces.

In transition, Boucher is able to seek out teammates in space and deliver a fairly accurate pass to begin the movement up ice. While he’s not the most offensively creative player on his line, Boucher’s able to add that hard-charging, big body presence that helps distract defenders, allowing his linemates the ability to create dangerous offensive chances.

In terms of special teams, Boucher saw his powerplay ice-time more than double this season (2:05 min/game in 20/21, opposed to 0:55min/game in 19/20), albeit in a smaller sample size. However, he put the added special teams ice to good use, as he was a hard player to defend infront of the net. Boucher is able to use his size and skill to screen the goalie and bang home any loose pucks in the crease.

Defense

Boucher’s overall defensive game could use some work, but he’s shown he has the tools to make it succeed thus far. For example, he has a very high motor when it comes to chasing down attackers with the puck in his own zone, but his killer instinct can sometimes be detrimental to his game, as he’ll put himself out of position trying to make a hit.

That being said, Boucher is more than capable assisting his defensemen down low when they’re under pressure. On the flip-side, he thrives at pressuring attackers to make forced decisions which can lead to a lot of turnovers in the offensive zone. Boucher then is quite reliable at making a crisp breakout pass to transition the game up ice for the USNTDP.

A trait that pretty much any NHL team will like is how aggressive of a penalty killer Boucher is. He has a knack for pressuring opponents trying to set up their powerplay, which entices them to make bad decisions with the puck. Boucher saw just over 1:30 min/game on the penalty kill in his first full season with the U17’s in 19/20, and proved to be fairly productive. Boucher is also capable of using his body and stick to disrupt offensive flow for the attackers and shut down passing lanes, with a slightly above average rate of success.

Improvements

While Boucher didn’t get much in-game time this past season to work out the little kinks in his game, he’ll have the next couple of seasons at BU to hone his skills. BU has quite an impressive coaching staff, so look for them to work with Boucher and help him develop into an exciting two-way player. Here are a couple of areas where he may look to improve on heading into next season.

First, Boucher has a tendency to sometimes cross the line physically which leads to unnecessary penalties. He will have to find a way to play a little bit cleaner as he progresses in his career, as I’m sure his future coaches won’t be overly thrilled having to kill off frequent minors.

Boucher could look to simplify his overall game in the defensive zone, focusing more on positioning instead of just looking to make the big hit. While his physical presence is an awesome attribute to have, most teams would prefer a prospect to be more positionally sound in the defensive zone.

Lastly, Boucher would benefit from cleaning up a few aspects of his game. It’s nothing that more consistent playing time and getting healthy won’t fix, but he may look to work on his shot accuracy, his discipline, and his overall two-way game.

Overall Outlook

Overall, Tyler Boucher is a solid prospect who should be able to develop his game into being an effective middle-six forward, who can contribute on special teams, as well as at 5v5. As mentioned above, Boucher does have a little bit of fine tuning to do when it comes to developing his overall game, but he’s set up quite well in terms of coaching and guidance so far at the collegiate level for next season.

It wouldn’t come as an overly large surprise to see a team take a bit of a reach on Boucher, perhaps as early as the middle of the second round. His skillset is relatively difficult to come by nowadays, and it can prove to be quite useful come playoff time. Whichever team ends up selecting Tyler Boucher will hopefully be thrilled to add his unique talents to their roster in the seasons ahead.


stats from InStat and EliteProspects

Prospect report written by Paul Zuk. If you would like to follow Paul on Twitter, his handle is @paulzuk_81.

Looking for other scouting reports? Check out the Prospects tab for our other scouting reports.

Need a scouting report on a particular prospect, contact us today!