CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, Scouting Report Preview

Craig Smith (Twitter: @Red_Vikreig) and David McKnight (Twitter: mcknight_david) contributed to this article

In advance of this evening’s highly anticipated CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, the two newest additions to the Hockey Prospectus scouting staff, Craig Smith and David McKnight, have observed and weighed in on a few of the participants. Here are their findings:

Team Orr

Name: Thomas Chabot
Team: Saint John Sea Dogs                                                          Draft Status: Eligible 2015
Position: Defenceman
To date stats: 41 GP – 7 G – 19 A – 26 PTS
Shoots: L

Height/Weight: 6’02”/179 lbs

Date(s) seen: January 8

Opponent: Moncton

Competition Type: QMJHL regular season

Evaluated by David McKnight

Characteristics

Skating (Speed/edges/technique/etc)

One of Chabot’s biggest strengths is his skating ability.  He’s very quick and often looks effortless in the way he moves around the ice.  Uses his quickness to skate his way out of trouble in his own end.

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

He doesn’t have a big shot from the point, but often does a good job getting it on net with traffic in front.  Developing a stronger shot would add another element to his game.

Puck Skills

Chabot generally looks very comfortable with the puck, whether it be in his own end or an offensive foray into the opposition zone.  Sometimes prone to a questionable first pass out of the zone, but that is also a by-product of a Saint John team that has struggled with breakouts this season.

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

Has a very good read for when to jump into the play offensively and when to hang back.  Plays a very tidy game in his own zone and doesn’t often get caught out of position.

Physicality

While he may need to fill out a bit, he isn’t afraid to play physical against the other teams bigger forwards.  Competes well in battles down low in his own zone.

General Assessment

Chabot was rated as a B player in the November rankings from NHL Central Scouting, but his stock has continued to rise all season.  He plays top minutes with Saint John as a 17-year-old, seeing key time on the power play and penalty kill.  Look for his role to increase after the Sea Dogs shipped out Columbus prospect Olivier Leblanc during the trade period.

As a Tier III draft eligible prospect, he looks to be in good position to go in the later part of the first round of the draft this summer.  Projects as an offensive defenceman who can also take care of business in his own end.

Name: Nathan Noel
Team: Saint John Sea Dogs                                          Draft Status: Eligible 2015
Position: Center
To date stats: 43 GP – 13 G – 24 A – 37 PTS
Shoots: R
Height/Weight: 6’0”/168 lbs

Date(s) seen: January 8

Opponent: Moncton

Competition Type: QMJHL regular season

Evaluated by David McKnight

Characteristics

Skating (Speed/edges/technique/etc)

Has excellent speed and often blows by defenceman off the rush.  His ability to gain top speed quickly is one of his biggest strengths.

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

He possesses a hard and accurate wrist shot to go along with a great set of hands.

Puck Skills

Strong with the puck when rushing up ice with it, but will sometimes try to make one too many moves.  Also prone to overpassing the puck at times.

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

Good vision and will often set up linemates for quality scoring chances.  Struggles at times in the defensive zone, which is an area that he needs to work on.

Physicality

Not a big player and rarely gets involved in the physical aspect of the game.  He will need to bulk up in order to be an NHL player.

General Assessment

Noel is a very good offensive forward and the leading scorer on his team in Saint John.  His speed and goal scoring ability are his biggest strengths and what have him rated as a B prospect by NHL Central Scouting.  He almost always looks dangerous coming up the ice and puts opposing defencemen on their heels.

The two big areas of improvement for him will have to be his play in the defensive end and his physical play.  Compete level is not always there, but like with many young players that is often a question of consistency.  Should he improve on these aspects, his speed gives him a chance to be an offensive forward in the NHL down the road. As is, he ranks as a Tier IV prospect, and should be selected between the late second to the end of the third round.

Name: Travis Konecny
Team: Ottawa 67’s
Position: Centre
Shoots: Right
Height/Weight: 5.10 /  171

Draft Status: Eligible 2015

Date Seen: Jan. 9, 2015 – vs Windsor Spitfires (OHL, regular season)

Evaluated by Craig Smith

Stats to Date

GAMES PLAYED

GOALS

ASSISTS

POINTS

PIMS

40

18

22

40

19

 

Characteristics

Skating (Speed/edges/technique/etc)

Travis’ technique is poor. His upper body is too low and does not fully extend his stride. This being said Travis has elite speed and quickness. Balance and agility are amongst his strongest attributes.  He uses this low center of gravity to receive and break through checks. When ready to exit the defending zone he turns on edges very well transitioning to top speed quickly. Its ugly but Travis is noticeably faster than other players.

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

Travis has some tendencies when shooting. He prefers to be on his offside and shooting from inside face-off dot and hashmarks. When under pressure release is quick and hard to anticipate. When coming down the wing the shot is easier to forecast.  He fails to open shooting lanes coming down the wing.  Shots were on target and forced the goalie to make a save,  unless deflected. Did not witness any backhand or slap-shots.

Puck Skills

Rarely if ever loses the puck off his stick. Whether it be from a stick check or misplay. Creative using puck and body to beat defenders. Can deke inside, outside, push puck, pull puck. An array of moves to prevent D men from anticipating.  Touch on pass to saucer or quick seam passes also are strong. The hands were displayed on a Penalty shot where he used 3 moves to score. Top level skills.

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

Anticipates and intercepts the puck very well both in defensive and offensive zones.  His ability to anticipate and closing speed creates some loose coverage in defensive zone, leaving players open. Travis does play on the Penalty kill covering the high point of umbrella and does so very well staying tight enough to eliminate shot and force perimeter pass.  He is able to find open players through tough passing lanes. He is a smart player. Disciplined.

Physicality

Travis is a smaller player with little fear. He does not hesitate to engage. He only hits when necessary to remove player from the puck. He fights through checks along boards and continues with speed afterwards. When he checks he checks hard using strong balance to apply power to body. Will participate in extra circulars but stays disciplined during the event.  Small player who plays bigger. Lower weight gives room to grow.

General Assessment

Travis as a hockey player is fast, smart, creative. He creates his own offence. Plays at a higher level than others on the ice.  He is not limited by his smaller than average stature. Improvement to skating and added strength will make him a dynamic threat when in possession.   Travis has a high motor, never taking a shift off.  He will fight on face-offs. Travis  projects to be a highly productive second line center in 4 years. 1 CHL, 3 at NHL level. For the upcoming draft Travis is in tier two 11-20th overall.

Team Cherry

Name: Samuel Montembeault
Team: Blainville-Boisbriand Armada                                         Draft Status: Eligible 2015
Position: Goaltender
To date stats: 33 GP – 20 W – 13 L – 2.63 GAA – 0.894 SV %
Glove hand: L
Height/Weight: 6’03”/166 lbs

Date(s) seen: January 11

Opponent: Moncton

Competition Type: QMJHL regular season

Evaluated by David McKnight

Characteristics

Athleticism (Includes size and agility)

Has good size for a goaltender and is quite athletic, having the ability to move well in the net.

Quickness/Speed (includes reflexes and glove hand)

His quick legs are a strength, including very good reflexes in covering the net down low.  Like many young goaltenders these he can stand to improve on his glove hand and following the puck all the way in.

Vision/Play reading (anticipation)

Anticipates the play in front of him well and normally has himself in good position to be able to make that initial save.

Compete/Temperament (how he fights through a screen)

Has good poise in the crease and is able to track the puck well with traffic in front of him.

Technique/style (Butterfly/dropdown/how to tries to position himself)

Plays more of a dropdown style, which suits him well as a taller goaltender and allows him to cover the top part of the net.

Rebound Control

He doesn’t give out a lot in terms of rebounds, particularly when unbothered in front of the net.

Puck Handling

Average puck handling skills at this time, but is able to set up his defenceman to start the break out.

General Assessment (up to 100 words)

Montembeault has done an admirable job in his first year as a starter in the QMJHL.  He is one of the big reasons that the Armada currently sit first place in the West Division.  One of his biggest strengths in the poise he shows while in net, as he doesn’t get rattled easily.  He also showed off a high level of concentration during the game in Moncton.  It was an affair that didn’t feature a lot of shots, but he was able to make a few key saves at the right time to protect a one-goal lead at the time.

Like any goaltender, he will be a long term project for the NHL team that drafts him.  Scouts will undoubtedly like his size for the position and the poise he has shown all season.   At present he ranks as a Tier V draft eligible, which would see him popped between the fourth and sixth rounds.

Name: Yakov Trenin
Team: Gatineau Olympiques
Position: Left Wing
Shoots: Left
Height/Weight: 6.02 /  179

Draft Status: Eligible 2015

Date Seen: Jan. 17, 2015 vs Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL, regular season)

Evaluated by Craig Smith

Stats to Date

GAMES PLAYED

GOALS

ASSISTS

POINTS

PIMS

36

11

26

37

26

 

Characteristics

Skating (Speed/edges/technique/etc)

A big lumbering skater. Lacks speed to beat defenders. His lack of speed is most likely a result of poor strength when attempting to move his large frame.  Technique is average. His technique and speed however do improve when he is skating without the puck.  Rotates well on his skates to obtain body positioning.

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

Shot selection was above average, often shooting within 6-12 feet of the net. Shots were on net, but did not force a save from the goalie. Trenin was able to release the puck fast enough to avoid any blocks or defections while in traffic.  His shots did not have a lot of speed and were easy to track.

Puck Skills           

The strength of Yakov’s game is his ability to handle the puck down low.  He leans on his frame and reach to go around defending players.  He controls the play and can cycle well when in possession down low.  Not a creative player.  Passes are accurate and firm. Made several good passes while working the half boards during the Power Play.

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

Never looks lost when on the ice often in a good position.  Defensively he gets into shooting lanes and is able to block shots. Makes good decisions on breakouts. When playing the half boards on the Power Play his shot vs pass selection is above average. The offence on power play runs through Trenin. He is a shot first player rarely passing when within 12 feet of the net.

Physicality

                A physical player in the sense of boxing and puck protection. He plays like an NBA Power Forward. He will stand in front of the net or drive to the net and is able to quickly adjust his body and direction to maintain position and create a scoring chance.

General Assessment

                A very raw project player, Yakov will grabs the attention of scouts because of his size. His ability to play in the dirty areas is what will get him drafted slightly higher than his skill set would typically slot him.  It will take Yakov four to five years to reach the NHL level as a power forward. He needs to improve his shot and his skating when in possession.  Yakov Trenin is a Tier 4 selection in the upcoming draft 41-90 overall.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*