Prospectus Prospecting – AHL Pacific prospects – Dickinson, Reinhart, Poirier, plus 3

Scouting Report – Valentin Zykov

Team: Charlotte Checkers Draft Status: 37th overall, 2013 (Los Angeles)
(Carolina acquired via trade from Los Angeles)
Position: RW
To Date Stats: 43GP, 7G, 7A, 14 pts, 20 PIMs
Shoots: R
Height/Weight: 6’0” 210lbs

    Characteristics

Skating (Speed/edges/technique/etc)

Like most Russian prospects, Zykov exhibits strong skating attributes. He has good balance and edging, a nice fairly easy stride, and an average top end speed. He is not a blazer by any stretch, but he has great mobility up and down the ice and from side to side. Shows excellent skating poise with the puck, and a very strong first step that allows him to separate from defensemen. Bit of a shifty skater that can easily escape defensive checks and pressure. Grade: 55

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

Good crisp wrist shot with lots of power, but can be erratic in terms of accuracy. Not afraid to put the puck on the net. Rarely leans heavy into a slap shot, but prefers a snap or wrist shot nine times out of ten. Very impressive hands and can get away a shot with deception and power. Might be limited punch to it for an NHL caliber consistent goal scorer. Grade: 50

Puck Skills

A tremendously skilled one-on-one player. Quick hands and creativity with the puck are evident. Could stick handle a defenseman in a phone booth. May try to do too much on entry sometimes, but altogether he can carry a play into an offensive zone. Takes over shifts with his puck possession skills and definitely has some playmaking and passing ability within him. Grade: 60

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

His smarts are a mixed bag. Offensively they can be as sharp as a tack. Defensively and in the neutral zone they are a work in progress. Can get caught lagging back on back checks, sometimes due to expended energy in the offensive zone. Can be stationary and puck watching on plays in his zone and across the center red line. Offensively he makes things happen with great vision, but can try to do too much at times. Commanding and confident player when he has the puck, but consistency remains a real issue. Defensive lapses and play off the puck have landed him in the press box on numerous occasions. Grade: 40

Physicality

He is a bull. Definitely not afraid to go headlong into corners, fight through the nastiness of the pro game, and attempt to establish body position on defenders. Could work on the physical game in his own zone. Really aggressive north-south player when he wants to be. Very difficult to move off of the puck with no hesitancy in battling. Grade: 55

    General Assessment

Zykov can be an altogether frustrating player. Shift to shift consistency is something that needs work. He can absolutely take over a shift with relentless effort and skill, and then lag back on his defensive assignments or just lose himself in the d-zone. He has struggled with a wrist injury in 2015-16, which may have hindered his scoring ability. There is, however, a definite offensive prowess within him. He is not a full 200-foot player, but the attitude and work ethic seem to be there for it to happen. This is altogether why Zykov is a curious player. The displays of tremendous ability were almost always offset by invisible shifts and games. However the attitude seems to be in the right place. He has fire cracking offensive skills, and if the play away from the puck in the other two zones comes around he could become quite a player. He has a lot of boom or bust to him at this point. There is a high ceiling, but a lot of looming questions.

Overall Future Projection – 52.75

Scouting Report – Griffin Reinhart

Team: Bakersfield Condors Draft Status: 4th overall, 2012 (Edmonton)

Position: D
To Date Stats: 2G 7A 9P 14 PIM
Shoots: L
Height/Weight: 6’4” 216lbs

    Characteristics

Skating (Speed/edges/technique/etc)

Not a bad skater considering his lanky and sometimes awkward looking frame. Is by no means an explosive skater, or a high-flying noticeable skater. He is positionally sound enough to not have to rely on things like speed and edging. Backwards skating is strong, balance is fine, and overall he is a low-flash, sometimes lumbering yet serviceable skater. There is a lack of explosiveness to his skating overall. Grade: 45

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

While there was advertised offense to his game coming out of juniors, there has not been much on display in the AHL. Rarely shoots the puck, which is a shame given that he should be able to put some decent juice into it with is size and length. When he does shoot, it is a fairly heavy slap shot that does not elevate much. Great for tips from forwards. Not too much power, but the opportunity to cause problems for goalies is there. Needs to show more willingness to go for it moving forward. Grade: 40

Puck Skills

Low flash, like the rest of his game. Simply put, if Reinhart is displaying any sort of skills on the puck he is probably not doing something he is supposed to. He is a low risk player who embraces the idea of low risk. He has a good first pass, and will make a smart outlet versus a risky one. Grade: 45

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

A good positionally sound defenseman. If you do not notice him it is a good thing. Emphasis is on mind over ability it seems. Looks like he has worked hard on his play off the puck, which has helped limit some of the criticisms against him. Takes very little risk and does not try to make plays. Long reach, uses it well to block lanes and shrink the offensive zone. Grade: 55

Physicality

Not overly physical, which is disappointing due to his size. Has a mean streak and intimidating nature to his game which is rarely seen. Does well in battling with opposing forwards, is not bested in that department often at the AHL level. Probably should pack on some muscle to handle the NHL. Plays an average physical game despite an optimal body to impose himself with. Grade: 50

    General Assessment

Being a former 4th overall pick, Reinhart is altogether disappointing. He is a player with a lot of tools that COULD be great, but they all continue to lean towards the average side of things. He has a huge frame, a decent hockey sense, and a heavy slapshot, all of which he rarely uses at this juncture in his career. There is no edginess or oomph to his game overall and that is frustrating for fans hoping for something special. There is still potential for him to develop given the slow growth curve of blue liners, but Reinhart is slowly drifting towards an average to below average defenseman whose game never quite translates to a top level. If someone could unlock the brain of Reinhart and get him taking the game by the throat, there is a plenty high ceiling. For now though, he is underwhelming in many regards.

Overall Future Projection – 48

Scouting Report – Jason Dickinson

Team: Texas Stars Draft Status: 29th overall, 2013 (Dallas Stars)

Position: C
To Date Stats: 60GP, 20G, 25A, 45 pts, 19 PIMs
Shoots: L
Height/Weight: 6’2” 201lbs

    Characteristics

Skating (Speed/edges/technique/etc)

Skates like a small player. Shifty, agile, with really noteworthy top end speed both with and without the puck. Long stride, easy glides, and an excellent first step. Uses the latter to get himself free from defenders. Also has great corner edging and balance. His skating is an absolute handful for defenders to deal with, both in the offensive zone and coming across neutral ice. Impressive. Grade: 65

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

Maybe not a shoot first player, but when he does fire them he can score pure goal scorer’s goals. Finds seams and space well and displays little to no hesitation. May be a pass first player, but when the opportunity arises he puts some stank on it. Wrist and snap shots are his forte, and both have accuracy and power. Grade: 55

Puck Skills

Shows confidence to carry the puck in and also go one on one with defenders. Displays great puck protection and body position, and can easily squirm away with a quick step and stick handle. Head is always up, seems to always have poise when on the puck. Can maneuver well through traffic and definitely has the passing ability that can trouble opponents. Tape to tape stuff. Coupled with his speed, Dickinson’s hand eye can make him a real handful. Grade: 60

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

Intelligent in all three zones. Plays in a high tempo offensive oriented system but still manages to be a very defensively responsible center. Reads plays exceptionally well and is very positionally aware of both he and opponents. Stays low to help out defenders and move pucks throw neutral zone in transition. Great on the PK, active stick, blocks lanes, and stays disciplined. Immense hockey sense and sees the game very well. Grade: 65

Physicality

Not physical, does not have a frame to be physical, but there is no lack of willingness. Could probably stand to put on a few pounds of muscle, as long as it does not restrict his mobility. Gets in quick on forechecks, possesses the puck well and will take punishment to move the play. Will not go looking for the physical play, but is not actively avoiding it. Grade: 45

General Assessment

While physical stuff may not be his forte, Dickinson is about as close to a complete center as you can get at the AHL level. He is great offensively, defensively, and can play both sides of a special teams unit. He has the top end speed to burn teams through the neutral zone, and the one on one skill and hockey sense to punish teams on established end zone pressure. He makes smart reads, intelligent plays, and has converted at a high point pace this season. He has future NHL top six center written all over him.

Overall Future Projection – 59.75

Scouting Report – Michael Mersch

Team: Ontario Reign Draft Status: 110th overall, 2011 (Los Angeles)

Position: LW/RW
To Date Stats: 34GP, 19G, 9A, 28 pts, 22 PIMs
Shoots: R
Height/Weight: 6’2” 198lbs

    Characteristics

Skating (Speed/edges/technique/etc)

The biggest noticeable weakness in Mersch’s game. His stride is utilitarian, ugly, and altogether lacks power and agility. Top end speed in the middle third of the ice, or lack thereof, is noticeable. At the NHL level this will hinder his ability to get in quickly on forechecks. Stride is hunched and uncomfortable looking and there is little first step explosiveness or agility. Improvement in this area will be crucial for him. Grade: 40

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

Given where most of Mersch’s shots come from, he does not need to be a sniper. That being said he has a dynamite wrist shot. Possesses exceptional accuracy, a constant willingness to shoot from anywhere, and a sneaky elevation which can catch goaltenders by surprise up high and in tight. He scores with regularity at the AHL level due to his willingness to drive the net and fire it whenever possible. Grade: 60

Puck Skills

Not much for one on one skill, but does well in possessing the puck when he has the chance. Still can surprise you with a good stickhandle or two in transition. Makes sharp passes on breakouts and is not afraid to attempt a carry in here or there rather than a simple dump play. Looks comfortable with the puck on his stick, low panic, and can hold off pursuers well enough to find openings. Grade: 50

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

Simple but effective game offensively. Goes to the net, with or without the puck, and stays there. Defensively sometimes he can look a little hesitant or lost in the fray. He is a good player on the outlet though and makes strong transitional breakout plays out of his zone. Could learn to read the game away from the puck better in his own zone, but there is no glaring weakness. Shifty in the o-zone. Spaces himself well, finds seams behind and between defenders. Grade: 55

Physicality

Battles hard to get to the high scoring areas. He is a constant nuisance in front of the net, behind the net, and in the low/high slot. No hesitation, no second guessing himself, he will take a beating to get to the front, and he will fight to win puck battles. Takes hits to make plays and has a mental willingness along with a big frame. Grade: 60

    General Assessment

Mersch is a really promising looking power forward. The biggest glaring flaws are his footspeed and skating. This is the hinging point for where he will go as an NHL player. With an extra step of separation or pressure on a forecheck he could find himself scoring with more regularity. Nevertheless, he has a skill set that is alluringly North-South and is constantly in high scoring areas with and without the puck. That, at the least, should be enough to make him a productive bottom six forward in the future.

Overall Future Projection – 51.75

Scouting Report – Émile Poirier

Team: Stockton Heat Draft Status: 22nd overall, 2013 (Calgary Flames)

Position: LW/RW
To Date Stats: 47GP, 11G, 13A, 24 pts, 37 PIMs
Shoots: L
Height/Weight: 6’2” 198lbs

    Characteristics

Skating (Speed/edges/technique/etc)

He is an acceptable skater, but not an outstanding one. Capable of getting up and down the ice, has a longer, fluid stride. Does not look like he has to try real hard to get up to top seed. Pretty nice edging and some good examples of stop-start agility shown, particularly in the O-zone and along the boards. This helps him weave through traffic and find seams. Grade: 50

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

Not a pure goal scorer’s shot, but he can find the net with his wrist shot. Has a veiled release on his snap and wrist shots, but does not generally get in high enough scoring areas to be a consistent threat like he was in juniors. Still, he does well to score from where he generally hangs out in the mid to low danger areas. Average power, average accuracy, with a pretty good release. Grade: 55

Puck Skills

A skilled stickhandler who can find space when there seems to be none available. Improved size and strength have also helped him retain puck possession more easily. Has a real smooth and fluid offensive game that is very pleasing to the eye. Natural and confident skill on the puck, soft hands, and a real knack for threading passes in and around the offensive zone and on the powerplay. Grade: 60

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

Has a developing hockey sense that is good in his offensive zone. Defensively however can be a real adventure. Floats in his own zone, gets caught stationary and puck watching, and can get visibly frustrated in games that are not going well. I hesitate to say he “Checks out” but it is a noticeable event that happens. Offensively he has a strong sense, and hangs around high scoring areas with a confidence. Quick to jump in and execute in tight spaces if the opportunity arises. No hesitation offensively, good anticipation. Defensively though there needs to be a definite improvement in his reading of the game and decision making. Grade: 40

Physicality

He has a bit of nasty to his game. Has grown in size since his junior days and has become more willing to jump into plays down low and in front. Still plays a bit more of a perimeter game than you would like, but that could slowly be changing as he matures physically. Also relies on his skills over physicality which may also explain his proclivity for perimeter versus trenches. Nevertheless, he has the body to do the heavy lifting, and the mental willingness is developing. Grade: 55

    General Assessment

Poirier is a player that has a lot of tools, but seems to suffer from something of an identity crisis. He could be a power forward, but he is too perimeter. He could be a two-way forward, but at this points lacks the defensive reads and skating. What you get is a player who shows flashes of gritty, heads-up offensive ability, but with some very touch-and-go performances in other areas of the ice. Given low risk minutes in a bottom six, Poirier could be a nice complimentary scorer given his offensive and playmaking skills. There has to be a decision though on what kind of game he wants to play. As a tweener in styles he is not nearly as effective as he could be, and it shows up in the form of frustration. He is a passionate player, which is something you always like to see. There is plenty to like, but it is very raw.

Overall future projection – 52.75

Scouting Report – Brandon Montour

Team: San Diego Gulls Draft Status: 55th overall, 2014 (Anaheim Ducks)

Position: D
To Date Stats: 52GP, 9G, 33A, 42pts, 32 PIMs
Shoots: R
Height/Weight: 6’0” 192lbs

    Characteristics

Skating (Speed/edges/technique/etc)

Tremendous skater. This kid can motor. Once he gets going out of his zone with the puck, he can blow by you in the neutral zone. Short and powerful strides allow for good acceleration, agility, and side to side movement. He has very quick feet and superb edging that makes walking the blue line look too easy. Grade: 65

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

Excellent point shot and an intelligent usage of it. Will use defenders as screens, put pucks wide for tips/deflections, and very rarely has his shots blocked. Not a ton of power on his slap shot but he picks his spots well and has good technique on his one timers. Also noteworthy is how he switches between slapshots and wrist shots if the occasion calls for it. Intelligent shooter of the puck with good fundamentals and attributes to his arsenal. Grade: 60

Puck Skills

Notably skilled with the puck. Carries with confidence, will challenge defenders one on one or blows by them on the outside. Is not afraid to carry the mail up ice himself. Also moves the things incredibly well on the powerplay. Finds gaps, creates gaps, and hits some nice tape to tape passes at times. Calm presence when holding on to the puck, can quarterback a powerplay with his confidence and poise, and pretty much run a show in the offensive zone. Grade: 60

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

While the smarts in the offensive zone are evident with his production, it comes with extreme risk and altogether questionable defensive play. His choices to jump into the play can be at any given moment, and sometimes at a very inopportune time. This leaves his team and his partner hanging for the most part. His recovery speed is good, but even that can sometimes not be enough to make up for his highly risky decisions with the puck. For this reason, he may have trouble overall in sticking in a system since his skill set is highly specialized and comes with pitfalls. Grade: 40

Physicality

Very little to speak of on the physical side of things. Montour is not big, and he does not play big. He can get moved off the puck in his own zone if he is not able to outmaneuver people, and he can also have trouble in the offensive and neutral zones if games are being bogged down. Mobility is his key element, and if you take that away his physical stature and game do not make up for it. Has the willingness, but not the tools to be a dominating fixture in his own end physically. Grade: 40

    General Assessment

Montour is an extremely specialized glass cannon. His offensive skill set and hockey sense are through the roof, but they come with immense risk and plenty of groan-worthy decisions over the course of a game. With that in mind, the delicate balance of scoring more than he allows is forever going to be the challenge. His high level offensive (and powerplay) game has to translate as he moves up otherwise the risk is going to be much too high. You cannot doubt his skill, and it would be hard to tell him to pull it back since he is so effective moving forward, but a defensive improvement would go a long way in giving him a safer and more secure long term outlook. High risk, high reward.

Overall Future Projection – 52.25

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