Prospectus prospecting: AHL prospect notes

As part of Hockey Prospectus’ expanded prospect coverage, we will be bringing in regular scouting reports of prominent players at the minor pro and amateur levels. These reports will always be based on firsthand accounts and interspersed, when appropriate, with input from NHL scouts. Plans are also underway to include European reports. Before proceeding with this installment of reports on a number of prospects in the Detroit, Montreal and Edmonton system, Hockey Prospectus would like to welcome Craig Smith and James McKnight to the fold of our growing scouting sector. If you feel that you have scouting chops and regularly attend games at the minor pro, high level amateur (ie. CHL, USHL or NCAA) or European level, please contact us.

Without further ado:

Detroit Red Wings

Bio

Name:  Anthony Mantha
Team: Grand Rapids Griffins, AHL (Detroit)                          Draft Status: 20th overall, 2013
Position: RW
To date stats: 26 GP, 6 G, 6 A, 12 Pts, 45 PIM
Shoots: L
Height/Weight: 6-4”, 214

Date seen: Jan. 17, 2015, vs Hamilton (AHL regular season)

Characteristics

Skating (Speed/edges/technique/etc)

Average skater. Looks awkward in motion, but that may be a product of his large frame. Does not keep his feet in motion, particularly noticeable in his own zone. Has sluggish startup.

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

Very good whip on his wrist shot, which is useful playing on his off wing. Accurate shot. Mantha has a knack for placing his attempts on the net.

Puck Skills

Passes have good weight to them. He doesn’t always look for the safe route. In one notable sequence, he attempted to pass from the half wall to the high slot, but lacked sufficient zip, allowing the puck to be intercepted for a shorthanded breakaway. Rarely put in situations when he would have to play the puck. Most of the time the puck is on his stick, his first option is to shoot.

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

Defensive game is lacking. Knows how to find the net when in the offensive zone. Good timing on shot release so as to catch an open seam. Plays on the point during his team’s power plays, where he looks assured.

Physicality

Although huge, in this viewing, he did not put his frame to use. That said, high PIM totals indicate some physicality as a rookie pro.

General Assessment

Playing third line minutes in this game, Mantha, who scored at a goal per game clip in his final season in the QMJHL, did not look comfortable. Although I have received positive reports from others in their viewings, the former first rounder did not impress in this viewing. The Red Wings are notorious for their slow develop patterns, and Mantha looks like he will benefit from at least one more full season in the AHL before receiving an NHL callup.

Bio

Name:  Landon Ferraro
Team: Grand Rapids Griffins, AHL (Detroit)          Draft Status: 32nd overall, 2009
Position: C/RW
To date stats: 37 GP, 15 G, 5 A, 20 Pts, 23 PIM
Shoots: R
Height/Weight: 6-0”, 185

Date Seen: Jan. 17, 2015 vs Hamilton (AHL, regular season)

Characteristics

Skating (Speed/edges/technique/etc)

Strong skater with a low, wide stride. Can achieve and maintain separation. In one sequence, he received pass around center ice with some space and never allowed the defenders to close in on him – he scored on this breakaway. Agile player who can change direction quickly and neatly.

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

Ferraro has finishing ability. He ended a long breakaway with a forehand shot, finding space above the goalie’s outstretched leg. Few other shot chances in this game.

Puck Skills

Good stickhandler – see note about breakaway goal. Ferraro has soft hands.

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

Receives plenty of time and trust on the first PK unit for Grand Rapids. Very active skater in his own zone, constantly in motion and getting in the space of the opposition pointmen, and halfwall players.

Physicality

Not shy in the dirty areas in spite of average at best size. That said, he does not seem to go out of his way to play physical, but the lack of fear is a positive.

General Assessment

Ferraro plays a mature game. He is a trustworthy forward who can contribute in all three zones. In many ways, the consummate Red Wings forward, like a young Dan Cleary, or more recently Darren Helm or Justin Abdelkader. Could probably contribute in the NHL right now and seems likely to force himself into the lineup by the start of next season.

Bio

Name: Ryan Sproul
Team:   Grand Rapids Griffins, AHL (Detroit)        Draft Status: 55th overall, 2011
Position: D
To date stats: 34 GP, 3 G, 12 A, 15 Pts, 12 PIM
Shoots: R
Height/Weight: 6-3”, 205

Date Seen: Jan. 17, 2015 vs Hamilton (AHL, regular season)

Characteristics

Skating (Speed/edges/technique/etc)

Short strider, plus mobility. Can be beaten to the outside on rushes. Likely due to weakness transitioning from drive to reverse where he looks rough around his edges. In general, not great when skating in reverse. Has forward mobility to join rush and get in deep with confidence that he can return to his position in time. Fast when underway.

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

Unimpressive shots. At its best, the slap shot may reach average. Will also employ wrist shot when shooting from a rush.

Puck Skills

Passes with fair accuracy. Good enough to carry the puck away from traffic in his own zone. Will begin the transition from the defensive zone to the neutral zone with his feet more often than through a pass.

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

Plays the point on the power play. Good in transition with quick passes from zone to zone in addition to fluid skating. Not given any PK time in this game. Very poor defensive game for Sproul as he was on the ice for four goals against in this viewing. In one play, he lost his man behind his own net and could not get into position to prevent a clean wrap around attempt, which ended up in the net.

Physicality

Will bump, but not grind. In spite of large size, did not go out of his way at any point to use his body in anger.

General Assessment

At this stage of his career, Sproul is an offensive defenseman who needs protection in his own end and to be sheltered from faster opponents. The raw tools are present to be a decent second pairing or good third pairing blueliner, but is at least another year away from being ready for full time NHL action.

Edmonton Oilers

Bio

Name: Iiro Pakarinen
Team:   Oklahoma City Barons (AHL, Edmonton)                                            Draft Status: 184th overall, 2011 (Fla)
Position: RW
To date stats: 31 GP, 12 G, 9 A, 21 P, 16 PIM (AHL)/ 5 GP, 1 G, 0 A, 1 P, 0 PIM
Shoots: R
Height/Weight: 6-1”, 194

Date seen: Jan. 11, 2015, vs. Hamilton (AHL, regular season)

Characteristics

Skating (Speed/edges/technique/etc)

Above average skater with strong first step quickness. Good enough to create opportunities from next to nothing, such as one play where a puck was momentarily loose in the neutral zone due to a misguided pass. Pakarinen initial burst – along with presence of mind – turned that into a rush chance.

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

Average slap shot strength, although his wrist shot as above average zip. Shot maintains power whether standing still, or on the rush. Also of note is that Pakarinen will shoot a lot.

Puck Skills

Proficient at tipping pucks – scored with one in this viewing. Not much fancy in this viewing as most puck touches led to shot attempts.

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

Responsible in own zone. Not one to coast near the blueline, waiting for a breakout. Pakarinen is a focal point of the Baron’s offence. Through 40 minutes, the Finnish import had five shots on net, with no one else having taken more than three. Type of player whom the puck looks for in the O-zone. Always in a position to gather puck and get a clean shot. Smart player.

Physicality

Was easily boxed out of crease area by veteran Bryan Allen. Unclear if that was due to lack of functional strength or due to veteran guile of Allen. In most other situations, he was able to prevent defensive attention from negating his positioning, such as when he kept his stick loose of a close check to re-direct a point shot. Also seems willing to lay his own body on that of the opposition.

General Assessment

A former seventh round pick of the Panthers was unsigned by his original team and the Oilers look to have a hidden gem on their hands, having signed Pakarinen as a free agent last June. The Finnish winger has impressed enough in his North American debut season to have earned a short callup to the struggling Oilers. Has the size and skill set to have a long NHL career as a middle six winger with solid possession rates. Has supporters in the Oilers chain and should receive a few more NHL chances this year and be in line for a full time job in 2015-16.

Bio

Name: Martin Marincin
Team:   Oklahoma City Barons (AHL, Edm)                            Draft Status: 46th overall (2010)
Position: D
To date stats: 19 GP, 0 G, 3 A, 3 Pts, 12 PIM (AHL)/ 12 GP, 0 G,1 A, 1 Pts, 2 PIM (NHL)
Shoots: L
Height/Weight: 6-4”, 203

Date seen: Jan. 11, 2015 vs Hamilton, AHL regular season

Characteristics

Skating (Speed/edges/technique/etc)

Good speed for a man his size. Can keep up with the rush after transitioning from backwards skating to fore as he makes an easy transition from reverse to forward thanks to strong edgework.

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

Has an average slapshot, although he is never the first option or even the second option for his team. His release is decent enough, but it is a very marginal part of his game.

Puck Skills

Again, not a central part of Marincin’s game. Mostly used to move the puck away from trouble areas. Makes a quick first pass to begin his team’s transition game.

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

Very much a defensive defenseman, but of the modern kind, which means strong at transitioning the puck from his own zone to the neutral zone, usually by passing instead of carrying. Can neutralize opponents in his own end through a combination of his plus size and strong positional play. In this viewing, he did make a poor pinch decision in the offensive zone which led to a clean breakaway for Hamilton as the puck bounced over his stick. His awareness seems to be better in his own zone when he can worry about his mark instead of the puck.

Physicality

Very strong on his skates. Effective when leaning on an opposing forward, as he can very quickly turn them into non-factors. That said, he lacks aggression, preferring to contain opponents rather than wipe them out.

General Assessment

While Marincin has 56 NHL games under his belt at the age of 22, he has failed to impress the Edmonton decision makers despite being a positive possession player, mostly due to what team sources referred to as inconsistent play and to untimely turnovers. In truth, he should be in the NHL right now. Marincin isn’t flashy, but will bring a quiet, smart defensive game to the table and can even be relied upon to play in unsheltered situations. This season’s offensive totals are low for him, as he did score well in the past at both the AHL and WHL levels, suggesting reasonable upside as a second pairing who can shut down the opposition’s top lines.

Montreal Canadiens

Bio

Name: Jacob de la Rose
Team: Hamilton Bulldogs, AHL (Mtl)                                        Draft Status: 34th overall (2013)
Position: C/LW
To date stats: 29 GP, 4 G, 2 A, 6 Pts, 9 PIM
Shoots: L
Height/Weight: 6-3”, 203

Date seen: Jan. 11, 2015 – vs. Oklahoma City (AHL, regular season), plus numerous occasions, 2015 WJC

Characteristics

Skating (Speed/edges/technique/etc)

Strong skater with good first step burst. Can achieve separation when in full flight or to close on net. Covers lots of ground in the neutral zone looking for the ideal spot to make his mark.

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

Comfortable shooting from in tight. Can finish a breakaway from his backhand, roofing the puck over a dropping goaltender.

Puck Skills

Above average stickhandling. Can protect puck from tight checkers. Would like to see more, but may be a confidence issue, as he has spent his past few seasons playing in adult leagues, yet is still only 19 years old.

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

The biggest strength of his game. Plays regular PK shift in the AHL. Demonstrates good patience. In one sequence, de la Rose had the puck in his own zone, with two opponents converging towards him. He waited them out, as a teammate became open across the ice, with just enough time left for the young Swede to pass between them, allowing his teammate to cleanly exit his own zone. Wears the ‘C’ during international competition.

Physicality

Engages in physical play and eagerly supports the forecheck. Has enough size to make a difference.

General Assessment

Very mature player. May never be more than a third line player, but should be one in the NHL before he turns 21. If there is hope for a higher ceiling, it rests in his superior hockey intelligence and the fact that de la Rose has been playing in high level adult league since he was 16 years old. One of few 19 year olds in the AHL, his offensive numbers do not stick out yet, but should blossom with a return engagement in 2015-16.

Bio

Name: Sven Andrighetto
Team: Hamilton Bulldogs (AHL, Montreal)                            Draft Status: 86th overall (2013)
Position: C
To date stats: 21 GP, 9 G, 9 A, 18 Pts, 16 PIM (AHL)/ 12 GP, 2 G, 1 A, 3 Pts, 0 PIM (NHL)
Shoots: L
Height/Weight: 5-9”, 186

Date seen: Jan. 11, 2015 – vs. Oklahoma City (AHL, regular season)

Characteristics

Skating (Speed/edges/technique/etc)

Smooth stride, but unexceptional on the whole.

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

Quick release on shot, but shot strength unremarkable. Comfortable shooting from either forehand or backhand as warranted by situation.

Puck Skills

One of his strongest suits. Very good puck carrier in offensive zone. One of Hamitlon’s better options for carrying in the puck to enter the zone. Has shown ability to stickhandle through traffic during both AHL and NHL stints.

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

Andrighetto has very good vision in the O-zone. In one sequence, he had the puck on a rush to the right of center, made a slick backhand pass to an open teammate on the left which led to a good scoring chance. He is also responsible in his own zone, knowing his assignment and wasting no time or motion in getting to it.

Physicality

On spite of his size, the Swiss forward is not afraid to battle for a puck in the corners, but lack the functional strength for his style to have too much impact.

General Assessment

A fun player to watch when he has the puck and finds a seam, his lack of standout tools outside of puck skills will likely relegate him to a bottom line role in the future. At the top level, he will not often have the space in which to utilize his soft hands. His puck skills and high energy game will ensure he continues to receive NHL opportunities and will make an impact at the AHL level between those opportunities, but he is a 50-50 proposition to secure a full time gig at the highest level.

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