Scouting Report: Brad Lambert

Photo Credit: Liiga/Jiri Halttunen

Scouting Report written by Josh Tessler

Brad Lambert is a top prospect for the 2022 NHL Draft. Lambert plays for JYP Jyväskylä in the Liiga. He is dual citizen as he holds both Canadian and Finnish citizenship.

Lambert hails from Lahti, Finland. For those unfamiliar with Finland geography, Lahti is approximately an hour and a half drive north from Helsinki. Lahti is also home to the Lahti Pelicans (the Liiga club). Prior to joining JYP, he played a few seasons for the Pelicans at the U16, U18 and U20 levels. Brad isn’t the only Lambert with a connection to the Pelicans. Lambert’s father, Ross was a skills coach for the Pelicans at the Liiga level. Ross played collegiate hockey for Princeton University (NCAA), junior hockey for the Saskatoon Blades (WHL), a couple of seasons in the American Hockey League before heading over to England to play in the BHL and the BISL.

Lambert’s father isn’t the only Lambert family member with a connection to hockey. Brad’s uncle, Lane Lambert is the New York Islanders’ Associate Coach and previously was an Assistant Coach for the Washington Capitals. Brad’s other uncle, Dale Lambert played the BHL and the BISL for 14 seasons. His cousin, Jimmy Lambert plays for the University of Michigan alongside Matthew Beniers, Owen Power and Kent Johnson.

As mentioned prior, Lambert played U16-U20 hockey for the Pelicans from 2017-2019. After the 2018-2019 season, he joined HIFK for the 2019-2020 and spent most of the season playing in the SM-Liiga. But, he was also featured in four Liiga contests for HIFK. Following the 2019-2020 campaign, he joined JYP.

Player Profile

D.O.B – December 19, 2003
Nationality – Finland
Draft Eligibility – 2022
Height –6’0
Weight –179 lbs
Position – Center/Right Wing
Handedness – Right

Lambert’s Style Of Play

Offense

If Lambert’s teammate is running the cycle behind the net, he’ll set up in the low slot to provide a passing lane. If his wingers shift the puck to the left side boards from the red line, he will double back, situate himself diagonal to his teammate to open up a lane. He is constantly looking to provide passing lanes for teammates engaged in puck battles along the boards. Lambert maintains good presence all over the offensive zone, tries to open up passing lanes for forwards stuck in puck battles along the boards and is quick to loose pucks. He consistently does a good job of finding open ice down low, but struggles with puck capturing in situations where a one-timer would pay off. You’ll see him capture the puck too close to his stick shaft and he’ll struggle to get a quality shot off since the puck is too close to the shaft. 

He will use his upper body strength to overwhelm attackers in open ice loose puck battles. In those situations where he is looking to disrupt puck possession, but doesn’t want to over-commit to the puck carrier along the red line with his back turned as another forward has shifted over to his spot at centered ice, he’ll shift over to the wing and cover the wing and look to trap the puck carrier along the boards. While he does look to use his upper body strength for physical play, he needs to work on his reaction timing when going in for bodychecks in the corner as there are quite a few situations where he will miss the puck carrier completely. Lambert struggles to lay down hits at open ice. Goes in for checks, but doesn’t really make much contact nor does he cause the puck carrier to lose control of the puck.

Lambert implements quality pivoting to shake off the back-check along the boards. Sometimes he will struggle and lose his balance when attempting to pivot out from a back check attempt along the half-wall. 

At open ice, Lambert will utilize a well-timed spin move to dodge pressure in the offensive zone when he completes a controlled zone entry but faces tight pressure from an opponent. 

If he chooses not to pivot out in situations in which the pressure is closing in on him, he will look to extend the puck out past the attacker and still make a pass to a teammate even when at the boards. 

Lambert has solid stick-handling reach. Not only does he possess solid reach and enough upper body strength to play the puck out wide, he also has quality puck security even when being knocked down to the ice. The only area that needs further improvement is when he’s looking to grab possession of a loose puck at open ice, but that has more to do with him over-skating the puck then his reachability.

When you look at Lambert’s shot under a microscope, you will notice that it is the weaker part of his game. He will have difficulty elevating his shots. It’s an issue that is constant no matter where he is in the offensive zone. When down low, he will struggle with manipulating the opposing goaltender as he looks to key up a quality shot opportunity. If he manages to lure the goaltender into a vulnerable position, he will have issues generating the necessary height in his shot to beat the goaltender clean. When taking a snap shot from range and implements a weight transfer, his plant leg ends up facing away from the net and that hurts his shot accuracy. It’s not just his footing. He also needs to work on the weight transfer itself as he doesn’t exert his body forward enough to garner enough power behind his shot.

While he does struggle generating height and hasn’t mustered the production that you would generally associate with a top NHL Draft prospect, he did have a bit of success last season with his shot. He was able to use his wind-mill stick-handling to help muster up the wind-up necessary to score with his wrist shot. In addition, he did notch an excellent backhand top shelf goal from inside the face-off circle (medium danger) against Ilves on November 20, 2020. But, top shelf backhand goals do seem to be more rare for Lambert.

When it comes to puck movement, Lambert thinks two moves ahead. He will complete behind the back passes as he cuts to centered ice and a teammate comes rushing up the left half-wall. If he collects the puck off of a pass when he’s near the corner facing the blue line, he’ll skate towards the blue line, button hook, and throw a pass back to the corner. That brings the defender with him and opens up ice down low in the corner. Lambert is aware that with his excellent puck skills that he can lure defenders to him and open up lanes for his teammates.

While he does have quite a bit of success with his puck movement, he does face challenges when separating himself from the last defender. He will struggle at turning towards the net and completely beating the last defender when he’s one on one with the defender and getting close to the red line. 

In terms of setting up goals, Lambert has more success with secondary assists than he does with primary assists, but we still situations in which he finds a tight lane to exploit with a cross ice pass.

Also, he isn’t afraid of back-tracking, carrying the puck towards the boards behind the opposing net and completing a pass to an open teammate in the slot.

Defense

Defensively, Lambert looks to play man-on-man prevent defense in the slot. Along the boards, he will keep a short leash on puck carriers. If an attacker grabs possession of a loose puck and no teammate of Lambert’s is there to defend him, Lambert will put pressure on the attacker and force him to get out of medium/high danger to low danger to attempt to neutralize the threat. Not only does Lambert assume responsibility and plays the puck carrier, but he also does a good job of quickly shifting over to the puck carrier and putting pressure on him against the boards. When approaching puck carriers behind the red line, he will drop back, close in on the attack and look to grab possession of the puck. 

At the point, he will occasionally look to bend down and lower himself to block shots. Not only will he look to block shots at the point, but when putting pressure on defenders with the puck at the point he’ll look to extend his stick out towards the boards and force the defender to make a rash decision with the puck.

Similar to his physical challenges in the offensive zone, when going in for checks in the corner on the puck carrier, he doesn’t have the necessary strength to disrupt the puck carrier. It’s a gentle hit. Not much force.

When looking to key up a zone exit/rush, he displays excellent stick-handling reach when looking to navigate out of the defensive zone. Lambert will double back if facing oncoming pressure when in control of the puck. 

Transitional Play

Lambert thrives at problem solving. When facing pressure, he doesn’t dump the puck in, instead he drops back and finds a teammate with an open lane. That isn’t his only move to get up the ice while encountering the attack. With traffic bearing down on him while on the rush, he plays the puck through the attackers legs, collects the puck, zone entry, goes to the net, snap shot shot goal, pulls the goaltender to the right and shoots left. 

Constantly, Lambert drives up the neutral zone evading traffic. He will navigate around traffic in the neutral zone with ease even when there are multiple attackers closing in on him. Lambert has good puck security. He will position the puck facing the boards instead of positioning the puck towards the attack and will keep the puck moving with light taps towards the center of his stick blade. 

When entering into the offensive zone and facing tight pressure, he displays quality stick-handling to get past the blue-line. If he faces pressure, he’ll buttonhook and use crossovers to fuel the tight turn and accelerate up the ice with the puck to dodge pressure and find an open lane to use for the rush. 

In those situations in which he doesn’t complete controlled zone entries, he will look to make the optimal pass. Lambert will complete backhand zone entry passes at centered ice and pass to a teammate at the the blue-line. He likes to utilize light tap passes to his wingers in the neutral zone while in stride. When in possession of the puck and skating right to left and pulls pressure to him, he’ll look to swerve the puck to the right, find enough space to pass the puck to a forward heading into the offensive zone without pressure on him. Even if Lambert knows that he can’t get off a clean pass, he still moves the puck towards his teammate with open ice if he is in a real tight jam. But, most of the time, he can use his puck manipulation right before he attempts a zone entry pass. He’ll play with the puck closer to the right of his body, drag the attacker to the right, swing the puck to the left and throw a backhand pass to a teammate driving to the offensive zone blue line.

When defending the rush, he won’t go too far out of his way to shut down the rush, but if the rush comes to him in the neutral zone, he’ll extend his stick out towards the rush and look to trap the rush along the boards. For the majority of opponent rush attempts, Lambert does a good job of facing the rush in most situations in the neutral zone.

Skating

When playing loose pucks, he has a tendency to over-skate the puck. Yet, he does implement excellent speed to catch up to loose pucks. 

In transition, Lambert has excellent usage of crossovers mid-rush for momentum when driving down the ice with possession of the puck. He will interchanges skate extensions and crossovers very fluidly. There aren’t many rush attempts in which he doesn’t implement  crossovers for accelerating when driving up the ice with possession of the puck. In general, his crossovers are tight and well-sequenced. Not only will he use quality crossovers in transition, but he will also use them to fuel his puck movement from the left half-wall to the right half-wall in the offensive zone. Prior to implementing his crossovers, he will implement a quality hop to start the rush. Off the hop, he uses two lengthier skate extensions and then goes into crossovers. 

Lambert has a good hockey stop. He can stop on a dime. In rare situations, there are mobility issues when stopping as his skates will be further apart than where you would want them to be, but his stopping ability allows him to catch defenders off guard and make changes with puck movement very quickly. 

Sometimes when he isn’t aggressively hunting on the forecheck but still heads toward the puck carrier, his legs are far apart which causes him to slow down/pizza. That hurts his mobility and cuts down on acceleration. Needs to work on acceleration when going after puck retrievals behind the offensive zone red line. 

When he’s looking to keep his feet moving, but not looking to move at full speed, he’ll use multiple short extensions with his right skate to put himself in gear. 

Projection

First line forward if his shot develops nicely. If he struggles to develop his shot, then you are probably looking at a top nine forward projection.

Latest Update

October 19, 2021


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.

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Smaht Talk: Tucker Tynan Is Back!

In the third episode of Smaht Talk, Jordan Malette and Josh Tessler talk about the following:

Tucker Tynan returning to the net in Niagara.

Luke Prokop (Nashville Predators prospect) being dealt from the Calgary Hitmen to the Edmonton Oil Kings.

Comparing Conor Geekie and Matthew Savoie.

An update on Kingston Frontenacs forward Shane Wright.

A brief look at Barrie Colts forward Hunter Haight.

2023 NHL Draft eligible prospect Tyler Peddle being named to the Videotron Players of the Week in the QMJHL.

A quick look at Maveric Lamoureux, Justin Cote and Nathan Gaucher.

Simon Forsmark, Ludwig Persson and Alexander Suzdalev, who have been on hot streaks in their J20 Nationell play.

Comparing Danila Yurov and Ivan Miroshnichenko.

Josh interviews John Kofi Osei-Tutu and Bobby Gauthier from PuckAgency about what the hockey agent world looks like especially when working with NHL Draft eligible prospects.

If you would like to listen to this episode, you can find an embedded link from SoundCloud below. Our podcast can also be found on iTunesSpotify and Google Podcasts.

Smaht Talk: Djurgården Loaded Up, Marc Savard To Windsor

In the second episode of Smaht Talk, Jordan MalettePaul Zuk and Josh Tessler talk about the following:

Rutger McGroarty switched his NCAA commitment to the University of Michigan.

Which programs benefit from the NCAA name, image and likeness rights?

Marc Savard taking over as head coach for the Windsor Spitfires.

Previewing the USHL and prospects to keep an eye on that don’t play for the USNTDP.

Danila Yurov ice time concerns.

Brad Lambert and Joakim Kemell. Who might have a higher point total at the end of the season.

Josh interviews Tony Ferrari of The Hockey News and Mark Yates of InStat North America. Tony talks about Djurgården’s 2022 NHL Draft talent, the upcoming OHL prospect class, the Calder race and more. Mark talks about InStat, the PBHH Invitational Tournament and more.

If you would like to listen to our first episode, you can find an embedded link from SoundCloud below. Our podcast can also be found on iTunesSpotify and Google Podcasts.

Smaht Talk: It’s A Wicked Smaht Introduction

We’ve launched our own podcast called Smaht Talk. Smaht Talk will start out as a monthly podcast, but throughout the season, we will start to up the frequency of how often new episodes comes out.

In the first episode of Smaht Talk, Jordan Malette, Paul Zuk, Matthew Somma and Josh Tessler talk about the following:

Owen Power (Buffalo Sabres) headed back to the University of Michigan for the 2021-2022 season.

Two premier draft eligible prospects headed to the NCAA. Jack Devine and Jack Hughes.

Taking an early look at Denton Mateychuk and Tristan Luneau. Talking about Luneau’s injury.

Sasha Pastujov (Anaheim Ducks) deciding to play in the OHL next year with the Guelph Storm, instead of playing in the NCAA.

Ève Gascon dressing for preseason play for the Gatineau Olympiques.

Cruz Lucius and the differences between Cruz and his older brother Chaz Lucius (Winnipeg Jets).

Paul takes a look at Logan Cooley of the USNTDP.

We analyze Danila Yurov’s pre-season play in the KHL.

Look back on Team Slovakia’s performance at the Hlinka-Gretzky Tournament.

Discuss whether or not Brad Lambert could potentially leap in front of Shane Wright as the number one prospect.

Listing the 2022 NHL Draft eligible prospects who are Champions Hockey League rosters.

If you would like to listen to our first episode, you can find an embedded link from SoundCloud below. Our podcast can also be found on iTunes, Spotify and Google Podcasts.

2021 Hlinka Gretzky Preview

The Hlinka Gretzky Cup kicks off today at 9:30 am EST/3:30 pm local time (Breclav, Czech Republic and Piešťany, Slovakia). Each match can be streamed and for the a list of the matches, please visit https://hlinkagretzkycup.cz/eng/zapasy.asp. If you click on the TV icon, you will be re-directed to the stream. 

The clubs participating in the tournament are Germany, Finland, Czech Republic, Russia, Switzerland, Slovakia, Sweden and the United States. Canada backed out of this year’s tournament. In lieu of Canada backing out, the German squad has taken their spot.

Below are scouting notes from our Smaht Scouting team on quite a few of the top 2022 NHL Draft eligible prospects participating in the tournament. In addition, we’ve also included one 2023 NHL Draft eligible prospect and one 2024 NHL Draft eligible prospect to keep your eye on.

2022 NHL Draft Prospects

Ivan Miroshnichenko, LW, Russia

Notes from Tobias Pettersson

High intense goal scoring winger who has one of the best shots in the upcoming draft. He’s very good on the forecheck and forces plenty of turnovers. Had a good U18s in Michkov’s shadow scoring 6 goals in 7 games. He has a solid frame at 6’1”/185 lbs and scores goals from everywhere. He uses his quick first step to create separation and has the high end skating and stick-handling to make use of that separation. I like everything about his shot, from his quick release to his excellent one timer.

Šimon Nemec, RHD, Slovakia

Notes from Josh Tessler

Nemec has top 15 (draft selection) potential written all over him. He deploys excellent gap control in the corners. Can be quite physical. Put a tremendous amount of upper body strength into his physical play. Nemec pushes into attackers down low and knows the precise time to extend his stick-blade out to capture possession mid body-check. He does an outstanding job with man on man defensive coverage in the neutral zone when defending attackers cutting through the middle. His offensive game is coming along nicely as well and does a solid job toeing the line and distributing the puck on the power-play. In addition, he looks to create re-direction or rebound goal opportunities for his teammates in medium and/or high danger.

Joakim Kemell, RW, Finland

Notes from Jordan Malette

Kemell is a highly skilled winger who possesses a lethal wrist shot that he leverages to fill the back of the net. He has an incredible set of hands that allow him to beat defenders, open up space for himself, and create highlight reel goals. You can routinely see him carrying the puck with speed through the neutral zone and using head fakes and quick dekes to open up a lane and easily enter the zone. Joakim will surely be an exciting player to watch at the tournament and also throughout the season as he suits up alongside fellow top 2021 draft-eligible Brad Lambert with JYP in the Liiga.

Filip Bystedt, C, Sweden

Notes from Alexander Appleyard

Bystedt is a big pivot who can out-skate, out-shoot, and out-muscle most players his age. For a big man he has a nice set of hands and is impressive at carrying the puck up the middle and through the neutral zone. Off the rush he is extremely dangerous. Not only can he carry the puck well and make defensemen get on their heels, but when presented with a good shot opportunity he rarely misses. He can shoot from anywhere and has a good release. Works hard defensively and a solid if unexceptional passer.

Noah Östlund, C, Sweden

Notes from Alexander Appleyard

The young Swede will be a fan favourite wherever he goes in his career. Not only does he have high-end skill, but he plays an intense, 200 ft brand of hockey to boot. Östlund has an impressive ability to get space in the offensive zone. He constantly works to find space, and as a result creates high-danger chances for team-mates as well as setting himself up for good looks on a regular basis. He also has an impressive shot, both with his wrist and one-timer, which helps him capitalise in the locations he finds himself in. With the puck on his stick on the cycle he has his head up constantly, surveying the ice to find a perfect pass, which he is often capable of making.

Elias Salomonsson, RHD, Sweden

Notes from Alexander Appleyard

For a defenseman who is still sixteen Salomonsson is about as complete as can be. He has all the fundamentals to be a top four down the line. Not only is he a plus skater who can move the puck up ice well, he is also physically developed for his age and defends his blue-line well. Salomonsson is not the kind of player to regularly “wow” you, but he does all the little things right. This, combined with a high hockey IQ and excellent technical skills, means he can dictate the game when on ice. His passing a puck skills are also high-end.

Lian Bichsel, LHD, Switzerland

Notes from Jordan Malette

Bichsel played a substantial role for the Swiss at the U18 World Championship as one of the few 2004 born players on the team, so expect nothing else at the Hlinka. He is a big defender that has solid defensive instincts, especially when defending the rush. Lian likes to control the puck in all areas of the ice, but especially in the offensive zone, where he isn’t afraid to use his strong shot from the point. Bichsel has an intriguing combination of size and skill, but refinements to his skating are required to be considered a top defender in this class.

Hugo Hävelid, G, Sweden

Notes from Josh Tessler

Hävelid is the twin brother of fellow Linköping teammate, Mattias Hävelid. The last time that Hugo was measured per EliteProspects, he came in at 5’10”/174 lbs. But, that was likely prior to the 2020-2021 season and he could have grown quite possibly to 6’0” since. While Hävelid isn’t the tallest goaltender, don’t judge the book by it’s cover. He possesses a quality glove and has shown to capture glove saves no matter if he is facing shots from high, medium or low danger. Hävelid is an excellent puck tracking goaltender and utilizes quality edges/pivots when looking to properly align himself with the puck carrier. In addition, he controls rebounds extremely well as he pushes quite a few of them to low danger and reacts quickly to shots. Drops to the ice at a quick rate and that allows him to complete pad saves with ease. 

Mattias Hävelid, RHD, Sweden

Notes from Jordan Malette

Mattias Hävelid, twin brother of Hugo, is an offensive defenseman who thrives with the puck on his stick. He displays tremendous confidence when carrying the puck up the ice and doesn’t hesitate to jump up in the rush when the opportunity presents itself. Mattias was a regular on Sweden’s power-play at the U18 Word Championship a few months ago, so watch out for him to take on a more significant role in this tournament as he is now among the oldest of the age group.

Filip Mesar, RW, Slovakia

Notes from Matthew Somma

Mesar stands out as one of the smartest players when he is on the ice. He excels at finding gaps in defensive coverage and exploits them to create offensive opportunities. His high-end hockey sense and skating make Mesar one of the more exciting players on the ice. Mesar looked confident at the top level in Slovakia this past season, so I’m excited to see what he can do against some of the best players in his age group.

Juraj Slafkovsky, F, Slovakia

Notes from Josh Tessler

At the 2021 World Juniors, there was a lot of hype around Slafkovsky and rightfully so. He’s a big power forward at 6’4”/218 lbs. Slafkovsky implements quality pressure on the forecheck and the back-check. Well-rounded puck hungry forward. In the offensive zone, he loves to sit at net-front or in medium danger, get open and pepper pucks on net. 

While he has the frame and the upper body strength to be tough to handle for puck carriers, when he is in possession of the puck he has a tough time with puck security. His stick-handling is still under development. When Slafkovsky faces man-on-man defense, he struggles to swerve the puck around pressure and get to the crease. If he can work on rounding out his stick-handling, his offensive upside will be extremely high.

Julian Lutz, F, Germany

Notes from Paul Zuk

The 6’2″, 180lbs forward from Red Bull Akademie Juniors in the Alps HL enjoyed a fairly successful DY-1 season, with play spanning across four separate leagues in Austria. Lutz spent the majority of the season in the Alps HL, where he racked up 26 points in 31 games. He seems to be next in line to the German talent pipeline which has produced some excellent names as of late, so look for Lutz to build on his successful DY-1 season, as well as a strong U18’s for Germany this past April.

Lutz is a talented forward who is a skilled passer, and can play an effective 200 foot game. He can provide a significant amount of offence, and is quite physical when needed. His best attribute may be his skating, which he uses to exploit open ice and pressure opponents with the puck. Lutz’ development will certainly be interesting to watch at the Ivan Hlinka Gretzky Cup, where he’ll be a standout on the German squad.

Jackson Dorrington, LHD, USA

Notes from Paul Zuk

Dorrington hails from North Reading, MA and spent last season with the Boston Jr. Bruins in the NCHC, where he was one of the better defenders in the league. He scored two goals and added 18 assists for 20 points in 33 games. He also suited up for two contests with the USNTDP U17 squad last season, and will be seeing a good chunk of ice for the NDTP this upcoming season. In addition to playing for the USNTDP, this will be Dorrington’s first international tournament suiting up for the USA.

Dorrington is a very smooth skater, especially for someone with his 6’2″, 192 lbs. frame. He’s also a very physical defender who will punish opponents when given the chance. Dorrington’s shot has the potential to be quite lethal when given the time and space to release it, and is quite accurate at picking open spots in the net from distance. It’s yet to be seen how he fares against older and more skilled opponents, but look for Dorrington to be an intriguing player for Team USA over the course of the tournament.

Sergei Ivanov, G, Russia

Notes from Josh Tessler

Ivanov has outstanding athleticism to counteract quick puck movement. Has good side-to-side speed, especially when he is in the butterfly. The Russian net-minder can create glove stop after glove stop on shots from low danger. When he’s facing shots from medium danger and high danger, Ivanov will struggle with his five hole at times. He’ll cough up a little too much room with his five hole. But, in general, he protects the post well in all-situations when in the butterfly. He doesn’t feel the need to overlap the posts as his pads sit right at the post and don’t open up gaps too often.

Servác Petrovsky, C, Slovakia

Notes from Paul Zuk

Petrovsky is one of several 2004-born Slovakians making quite the noise overseas in the various Slovak leagues. The Velky Saris, SVK native was forced to play in both Slovakia and the Czech Republic due to COVID league shutdowns this season, but Petrovsky tore it up playing for the U18 Slovak National Team in the Second Tier Slovakian League. He recorded 16 goals and 16 assists for 32 points in 26 games. Petrovsky signed with the OHL’s Owen Sound Attack this past week, and will be looking to light up the OHL in 2021/22.

The 5’11” 168 lbs. center certainly has a nose for the net, and possesses a shot that is utilized from pretty much anywhere on the ice, with a high level of success. He has very good passing skills, and his vision allows him to pinpoint teammates in the offensive zone and provide them high danger scoring chances. Look for Petrovsky to link up with Adam Zlnka and Adam Sykora to form one very potent Slovak line at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup.

Matyas Sapovaliv, F, Czech Republic

Notes from Matthew Somma

Sapovaliv skates well for a player that is six-foot-four and has the tools that could make him an NHL power forward. Sapovaliv isn’t a bruiser but he does use his physicality on the forecheck and in puck battles. I’ll be interested to see what makes Sapovaliv stand out in this tournament. The size and skating alone are enough to warrant a late-round selection for some teams, but he’ll need to show more than just that to move up on the draft board.

Pavel Bocharov, RHD, USA

Notes from Matthew Somma

Bocharov wants to be involved in the offensive zone. He’ll attack the puck along the boards, join the rush, and even try and sneak into the slot to catch defenders napping. There are times when he acts more like a forward than a defenseman, even. Bocharov is a mobile defenseman that has some raw skills to make him a possible draft pick, but his defensive play and creativity leave much to be desired at this point in his development. I’ll be curious to see if he’s on the United States’ power-play.

2023 / 2024 NHL Draft Eligible Prospects

Matvei Michkov, RW, Russia

Notes from Tobias Pettersson

He’s coming off a historic MHL season where he broke Nikita Kucherov’s scoring record, worth noting that Michkov was about 6 months younger than Kucherov at the time. He’s not the biggest at 5’10”/159 lbs but he doesn’t shy away from the tough areas as most of his goals are scored from in close where he uses his low center of gravity in combination with his elite hands.

Elite offensive talent who does it all, both a prolific goal scorer and an excellent playmaker. He’s one of the most agile skaters I’ve ever seen using his elite edge-work to always give himself space, the only thing he lacks in his skating is pure straight line speed.

Adam Jecho, F, Czech Republic

Notes from Josh Tessler

There isn’t a ton of video on 15 year old Adam Jecho and most of the video I’ve seen of him is gameplay against 17 year olds. Jecho is still developing the necessary speed to compete at a high level and he’s not quite on the same level as several 17 year olds. But, he is getting there. With that being said, he can be a tad slow on the forecheck and reacts a tad slower on the back-check when matching up against 17 year olds. But, he possesses soft hands and can completely silky smooth passes to medium danger/the slot. In pre-tournament play against the United States, he scored a re-direction gaol off of a pass from Matej Prčík. Hopefully we will see quite a few goals from Jecho at the Hlinka Gretzky as he looks to make his mark on the world stage.

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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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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