Around the WHL: Gawdin, Burke, Karnaukhov and more

Hockey Prospectus’ WHL prospect analyst, Benoit Roy, provides his opinions on a handful of 2015 draft eligible skaters from the ‘Dub, plus one goalie who was already drafted by the Arizona Coyotes.

Scouting Report – Glenn Gawdin

Bio

Team: Swift Current Broncos                                      Draft Status: Eligible 2015

Position: Center/Right Wing

To Date Stats: 49 GP / 12 G / 24 A / 36 PTS / 48 PIM / -8 (+/-)

Shoots: Right

Height/Weight: 6’1” / 181 lbs.

Date(s) Seen: January 23, 2014 vs Calgary Hitmen, WHL regular season

Characteristics

Skating (Speed/edges/techniques, etc.)

Gawdin is an efficient skater, cuts well and possesses average mobility. Looks extremely light on his feet and can pick up speed when the opportunity arises. Capable of blowing past defenders with a combination of power and quickness. Transitions appear slower than his counterparts. Plays a strong north-south game.

Shooting (Slap/wrist/backhand, General strength, proclivities, etc.)

Gawdin has an effortless, accurate wrist shot with a quick release that he uses often. In this particular game he did not favour any other shot. Found seams and was able to stretch the goaltender and force him to make challenging, hurried saves.

Puck Skills

Appears calm, confident with puck and capable of slowing the game down to his own pace. He attempts to make the pass before shooting, and delivered many that resulted in scoring chances. Guilty of the occasional hiccup when finding receivers at both ends of the ice. Capable of fancy stickwork but plays predictably and is relatively easy to defend. Resorts to going wide on the rush and looks for effective cross-ice passes to the slot.

Smarts (vision, defensive play, ability to stick in system, etc.)

Gawdin keeps his head on a swivel, and is very cognizant of his surroundings and of developing plays. He’s defensively aware and positionally sound in his own end. He frustrates opponents with his active stick and suffocating defensive play causing turnovers at both ends of the ice. He possesses solid hockey sense and worth ethic, particularly in the offensive zone.

Physicality

Does not go searching for hits but will engage physically when necessary. Willing to drop the gloves for teammates in response to questionable behaviour. At times it looks like he plays a much smaller game than his size would indicate and lacks consistent physical confidence to be an exceptional defensive threat.

General Assessment

Gawdin is an effective two-way forward with an excellent work-ethic who can be slotted on any line, in any situation, and find success. The balance between his defensive awareness and ability to create offense makes him a valuable force. He lacks the physicality to make an immediate jump but has shown improvement as the year’s progressed. I project him to be selected in the mid to late second round, making him a Tier IV prospect.

Scouting Report: Brendan Burke

Bio

Team: Calgary Hitmen                                    Draft Status: Selected 163rd overall by Arizona in 2013

Position: Goalie

To Date Stats: 3 GP – 3.25 GAA – .875 SV% (Calgary) / 19 GP – 3.63 GAA – .888 SV% (Portland)

Catches: Left

Height/Weight: 6’4” / 190 lbs.

Date(s) Seen: Jan. 25, 2015 vs Vancouver Giants, WHL regular season

General Assessment

Burke is a large-framed goaltender that fills-out the net very well. He’s strong positionally and appears to rely on a combination of his size and solid positioning to defend. He’s not exceptionally quick or flexible but his size compensates. He moves well laterally and doesn’t overextend. He seems to anticipate oncoming plays effectively, but doesn’t cheat. During scrums, he battles through the traffic to locate the puck and doesn’t engage opponents in front – he keeps his focus on the puck. Opposing forwards seemed to shoot towards his glove and Burke had difficulty holding onto pucks when they did. He was confident and effective with the puck and was great at setting up his defenders. In the game I watched him play he faced 33 shots and posted a shutout but the quality of those shots weren’t particularly great. He isn’t a flashy goaltender and has bouts of inconsistency, which is to be expected. A late-round NHL draft pick in 2013, it’s likely he’ll see some AHL or ECHL time early next season.

Scouting Report: Pavel Karnaukhov

Bio

Team: Calgary Hitmen                                    Draft Status: Eligible 2015

Position: Center

To Date Stats: 53 GP / 19 G / 18 A / 37 PTS / 37 PIM / 1 (+/-)

Shoots: Left

Height/Weight:  6’2”/ 200 lbs.

Date(s) Seen: January 30, 2015 vs Prince Albert Raiders and January 31, 2015 vs Edmonton Oil Kings, both WHL regular season

Characteristics

Skating (Speed/edges/techniques, etc.)

Karnaukhov possesses heavy feet, a wide stance and has slightly below average speed but generates power in his stride and looks extremely solid on his skates. Despite speed issues, he uses his wide, long-legged stance to deviously slip past defenders.

Shooting (Slap/wrist/backhand, General strength, proclivities, etc.)

Karnaukhov’s shots have decent power and are at times dangerous, but not elite. He mixes it up, but tends to go for a quick snap shot when bearing down on a goaltender. Has a natural scoring instinct around the puck, which is a result of his positioning and awareness rather than tangible shooting skills.

Puck Skills

He’s a possession player and is difficult to knock off the puck due to his big frame. Is a solid mix between a goal scorer and playmaker but tends to take the shot before passing. He has a knack for finding open space and can buy time to generate scoring chances. On the puck his head is on a swivel and finds teammates with solid passes. Difficult to read at times because he doesn’t give away his targets before passing or shooting.

Smarts (vision, defensive play, ability to stick in system, etc.)

Karnaukhov is a reasonably poised and stable forward who sees the ice very well. He’s positioned well at both ends and will compete in corners and in battles. He has a tendency to cheat and play on the weak side of the puck, similar to Phil Kessel, looking for odd-man opportunities. Uses multiple means to generate offence and gain the zone. At both ends, he gravitates towards the center of the ice. Has two-way forward qualities but excels in the offensive zone. Has a predictable but effective faceoff stance.

Physicality

While not a tremendously physical player, he can hold his own along the wall and is effective at fighting off checks. His stick is not particularly strong or a threat on defence, and relies on being in position to defend. Could benefit from greater physicality in his own end to enhance his two-way potential.

General Assessment

Karnaukhov is a big-framed offensive center with intriguing defensive capabilities. His skating ability is his primary deficiency, but he makes up for it by being a consistent producer. On a deep Calgary team he’s been able to score with regularity while lining up on the club’s third and fourth lines. He now sits fourth on his team in goals and fifth among draft-eligible WHLers. Karnaukhov has improved significantly over the course of the season and the scouts will have taken notice. I project him to be selected in the fourth or fifth round, making him an early Tier V draft pick.

Scouting Report: Mads Eller

Bio

Team: Edmonton Oil Kings                                           Draft Status: Free Agent/Eligible 2015

Position: Left Wing

To Date Stats: 41 GP / 3 G / 14 A / 17 PTS / 54 PIM / 6 (+/-)

Shoots: Left

Height/Weight:  6’1”/ 204 lbs.

Date(s) Seen: January 31, 2015 vs Calgary Hitmen, WHL regular season

Characteristics

Skating (Speed/edges/techniques, etc.)

Eller is an exciting skater – he has powerful, long strides, explosive feet, quick first three steps, a ceaseless motor and is capable of reaching top speed very quickly. His speed and footwork force opponents to back down which forces turnovers. He plays more effectively going north-south rather than east-west. His cuts and transitions are quick, but look rough.

Shooting (Slap/wrist/backhand, General strength, proclivities, etc.)

Eller has a cannon and likes to release his shots from all angles. Uses a combination of a wrist shot and a snap shot. He hits the net with regularity although doesn’t find the back of the net often. He isn’t a natural goal scorer and is not the most offensively skilled forward.

Puck Skills

Eller is a strong possession player and the puck always seems to be around him or in the offensive zone when he’s on the ice. Has the ability to find unpredictable passing lanes that connect with regularity. Is a solid passer that thinks quickly and executes quickly. Rarely turns the puck over and has great vision.

Smarts (vision, defensive play, ability to stick in system, etc.)

Eller is a strong positional player and understands his role well. He’s the first on the forecheck, is often the first to the puck, and has a nose for the net. Willing to drive the net and is difficult to move once he’s there. Defensively, he plays a tight game in the neutral zone and uses a well-timed stick to get in passing lanes, force dump-ins and challenge opponents before the blue-line. At times he’s apprehensive on and off the puck and will get lost in transition, but recovers well using his speed.

Physicality

Eller plays a strong physical game and is difficult to knock off the puck in the cycle, along the boards and in front of the net. Likes to tie up and frustrate opponents using his stick and strength. Likes to hit and make big contact but doesn’t rack up useless penalties.

General Assessment

Without question, Eller is one of the hardest working and dependable forwards on his club. He plays a solid, two-way game, drives possession and creates opportunities with his speed and smarts. Although he doesn’t have stand-out offensive skills, I believe he possess some upside that hasn’t been displayed. As it stands, he’s likely to be signed as role player for an NHL club at the end of the year. I expect him to find time as bottom-6 forward and on special teams with the expectation that he provide secondary scoring.

Scouting Report: Tyler Robertson

Bio

Team: Edmonton Oil Kings                           Draft Status: Eligible 2015

Position: Left Wing

To Date Stats: 55 GP / 9 G / 12 A / 21 PTS / 38 PIM / 2 (+/-)

Shoots: Left

Height/Weight:  6’2”/ 180 lbs.

Date(s) Seen: January 31, 2015 vs Calgary Hitmen, WHL regular season

Characteristics

Skating (Speed/edges/techniques, etc.)

Robertson is an average skater, keeps up with the pace of the game, and is powerful due to his long stride and size. As it stands, he doesn’t possess the skating skill to be a standout and has room for improvement.

Shooting (Slap/wrist/backhand, General strength, proclivities, etc.)

He has an above-average shot and can quickly release on the rush. Tends to favour a wrist shot. If the passing lane is tied up or risky, he’ll throw the puck towards the net and follow it there. Plays a no-nonsense offensive game and will shoot before passing.

Puck Skills

Finds productive outlets and makes simple, clean, firm passes. His passes are rarely picked off and he resorts to the safe play if under pressure. More often than not, he’ll use the glass as a crutch to remove the puck from danger. With time, he shows calmness and confidence with the puck. He’s capable of protecting the puck well using his big frame and enters the offensive zone with possession regularly, although he’s by no means a flashy player.

Smarts (vision, defensive play, ability to stick in system, etc.)

Robertson plays a pragmatic game. He’s well positioned at both ends and plays tightly within his club’s system. He senses developing plays and will use his stick to get in passing and shooting lanes. Doesn’t show a tendency to block shots. Generates scoring chances by sending the puck to the net and nosing around the crease for loose pucks.

Physicality

Despite size, he doesn’t play a tremendously physical game. He plays within the physical requirements that get the job done. Defensively, he battles around the net and shows confidence when in bouts for loose pucks.  When prompted, he can play with an edge and will engage physically on one-on-ones.

General Assessment

Robertson is a no-nonsense, blue-collar player. He has some interesting tools both offensively and defensively; it’s just a matter of bringing these tools together to be a more effective player. Plays a prototypical fourth-line NHLer’s game – defensively responsible, capable of frustrating opponents, driving play towards the opponent’s net and generating shots. Reminds me of Craig Adams although with more offensive capabilities. I see him going anywhere from the fifth to the seventh round depending on what clubs are looking for, which makes him Tier V and VI draft pick.

Scouting Report: Brad Morrison

Bio

Team: Prince George Cougars                                    Draft Status: Eligible 2015

Position: Center

To Date Stats: 58 GP / 20 G / 23 A / 43 PTS / 30 PIM / -2 (+/-)

Shoots: Left

Height/Weight: 5’11” / 161 lbs.

Date(s) Seen: February 11, 2015 vs Calgary Hitmen, WHL regular season

Characteristics

Skating (Speed/edges/techniques, etc.)

Morrison has a quick first step and matches the speed of his opponents effortlessly. Possesses lights-out speed, is very athletic and moves well. He has multiple gears due to his great acceleration and capable of deceptively jumping into the rush. Looks comfortable on the ice.

Shooting (Slap/wrist/backhand, General strength, proclivities, etc.)

Has a lightning-quick release and solid accuracy, but his shot isn’t particularly powerful. Favors a well-placed and well-timed wrist shot, but usually scores off rebounds and scrums. He generates chances by driving to the net and using his excellent stick-skills and speed to beat defenders and create open space. Not a definitive offensive force but has the skill to contribute at a consistent pace.

Puck Skills

Possesses a very quick, creative stick and capable of punishing unsuspecting defenders. Passes are firm and accurate and he doesn’t usually relinquish possession when under pressure. He’s a creative playmaker on the rush coming through the neutral zone and smartly sets up teammates around the ice. Doesn’t typically go wide but drives toward the net and the slot.

Smarts (vision, defensive play, ability to stick in system, etc.)

Morrison plays and processes the game at a very high pace. He tends to survey the game away from the puck and responds using his speed. He also tends to hunt down opportunities and will strike quickly giving rise to his deceptive nature – sneaks up on the play when he doesn’t have the puck. He’s eager on the breakout and is usually found jumping well ahead of the play. Despite speed and awareness, seems to go long stretches where he’s quiet and will showcase brief blasts of skill.

Physicality

Willing to battle in front of the net for possession and competes in tough areas of the ice. He’s effective in the corners and plays with his head up when approaching scrums. Won’t approach defensive situations with physicality, but he’s effective at containing threats using his body if necessary.

General Assessment

Morrison plays a smart, high-speed, and creative game and isn’t afraid to mix in some physicality to get the job the done. He’s benefitted from lining up with Jansen Harkins on occasion this season which could inflate his production (doubled since last season in as many games), but he certainly possesses the raw skills to make an impact at the next level. However, he will need to fill out his 5’11” frame before doing so. I predict he’ll be selected in the fifth round making him a Tier V prospect.

Scouting Report: Cameron Hebig

Bio

Team: Saskatoon Blades                                               Draft Status: Eligible 2015

Position: Center

To Date Stats: 62 GP / 16 G / 19 A / 35 PTS / 32 PIM / -22 (+/-)

Shoots: Right

Height/Weight: 5’10” / 174 lbs.

Date(s) Seen: February 13, 2015 vs Calgary Hitmen, WHL regular season

Characteristics

Skating (Speed/edges/techniques, etc.)

Hebig is a great skater, shows fluid mobility and acceleration, transitions quickly and is capable of playing tight to the action. He’s quick at getting to loose pucks due to his ability to pick up significant speed in a short amount of time. He’s also quite shifty and an entertaining player because of his strong skating skills.

Shooting (Slap/wrist/backhand, General strength, proclivities, etc.)

Hebig shoots the puck from all angles and likes to mix it up. He has a deceptive, accurate back-hander and likes taking quick snap shots from within the scoring-chance area. Shots are not extremely powerful but usually find holes around the slot.

Puck Skills

Strong possession player and is a great playmaker. Likes to deke, plays well in one-on-one situations and has a nose for the net. His puck skills offensively are much better than his production indicates which is a result of playing for a very weak Saskatoon club. He’s also a force on the draw.

Smarts (vision, defensive play, ability to stick in system, etc.)

Sees the ice extremely well moving north and in the offensive zone. Hebig seems to be hyper-aware on the ice, both on and off the puck, and his decision-making is excellent. It’s rare to see him cough up the puck or cause a turnover – a testament to his ability to control the puck and win battles.

Physicality

Hebig plays a much bigger game than his size would indicate and is consistently the hardest working player on the ice. He can absorb hits as well as he dishes them out. Hebig has a natural tenacity and peskiness about him that makes him tough to play against. He is an undersized guy and can be pushed around with ease in clear physical mismatches.

General Assessment

Hebig is an intelligent, speedy, scoring winger that plays with edge. He sees the game exceptionally well and makes pragmatic decisions at both ends of the ice. He’s too small to be considered a force in the NHL, but his speed, skill and surprising strength lend similarities to Brendan Gallagher. His draft stock will suffer because of his relatively low production and unproven ability to handle the physicality of the pro game. I expect him to go in the sixth or seventh-round selection, making him a Tier VI prospect.

 

Scouting Report: Terrell Draude

Bio

Team: Calgary Hitmen                                    Draft Status: Eligible 2015

Position: Center

To Date Stats: 59 GP / 10 G / 18 A / 28 PTS / 30 PIM / 15 (+/-)

Shoots: Left

Height/Weight: 6’3” / 226 lbs.

Date(s) Seen: February 11, 2015 vs Prince George Cougars, and February 13, 2015 vs Saskatoon Blades, both WHL regular season

Characteristics

Skating (Speed/edges/techniques, etc.)

Draude’s primary deficiency is his skating ability. He’s not incredibly fast or mobile and will not create opportunities with his north-south skating. Despite this, he can cut side-to-side reasonably well and plays to the pace of the game. There’s certainly room to improve as he progresses.

Shooting (Slap/wrist/backhand, General strength, proclivities, etc.)

Draude has a heavy shot and is capable of releasing the puck from all angles. His accuracy is a bit off and has a tendency to shoot with his head down. He mixes it up do a degree but relies heavily on a sweeping wrist shot that has a ton of power behind it.

Puck Skills

Although his speed isn’t elite, he can create separation by being an outright force as he skates across the blue-line and through the neutral zone. He’s best when he drives to the net and in the cycle where he protects the puck with ease. He can feather pucks to teammates remarkably well when under pressure. Draude can be a catalyst in the neutral zone, as he drives possession and loves to hold onto the puck.

Smarts (vision, defensive play, ability to stick in system, etc.)

Draude appears to have a good head on his shoulders and is routinely in good position in his own end. His speed might warrant a change to the wing, but his solid positioning suggests he can play a satisfactory role as a center for the time being.

Physicality

Draude is a strong, capable forward that can grind it out in corners and is very difficult to manage around the net. He’s surprisingly less physical off the puck and relies on a finesse game to defend. I would love to see him be more physical in his own end because of his size and strength. He has the potential to torment opponents defensively and add some credibility to his game.

General Assessment

Draude is an intriguing player because he has the raw offensive skill to be strong, productive power forward – it just hasn’t come together for him yet. He’s usually slotted on his club’s fourth line and has brought some stability to the Calgary’s bottom-6 with his positive (albeit inconsistent) rate of production and reliability in the back-end. I project him to be a seventh rounder and selected by a club that has a strong player development system that’s capable of molding Draude into a formidable power forward. That makes him a Tier VI prospect.

 

 

2 thoughts on “Around the WHL: Gawdin, Burke, Karnaukhov and more

  1. Pingback: 2015 NHL Draft War Room: The Sleeper Quiz

  2. Pingback: NHL Draft Prospect Profile: Glenn Gawdin - BSN Denver

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