Prospectus prospecting: Around the Q

David McKnight, our QMJHL scout, weighs in on six Quebec leaguers, including prospects from the St. Louis Blues, New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens. Among the three draft eligible players, one is considered a sure fire first rounder.

Note that “To date stats” are to the date seen.

Scouting Report – Ivan Barbashev
Bio

Team: Moncton Wildcats                                              Draft Status: St. Louis Blues, 2nd Round 2014
Position: Center
To date stats: 32 GP – 22 G – 28 A – 50 Pts
Shoots: L
Height/Weight: 6’1”/194 lbs

Dates seen: January 8 and 11, vs Saint John & Blainville-Boisbriand respectively. Both QMJHL regular season games

 

Characteristics

Skating (Speed/edges/technique/etc)

Has good speed and has generally improved upon his quickness and acceleration over the past year.

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

Has a great shot and isn’t afraid to use it, being among the leaders in shots per game in the Q.  Can pick corners with a hard, accurate wrist shot and has scored many goals using his one-timer from the right side on the power play.

Puck Skills

Barbashev possesses very good puck handling skills and also distributes the puck very well.  He’s a big reason why linemate Conor Garland leads the league in scoring.

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

Has a very good ability to read the play and be at the right spot at the right time.  He’s known for his strong two-way play and therefore has good defensive awareness in his own zone.  He has proven able to play effectively in a more defensive system in Moncton his first season and a more offensive system this season and last.

Physicality

The St. Louis prospect’s physical style of play is what separates him from a lot of other Russian prospects.  He’s at his best when throwing big hits and mixing it up along the boards.  This is where he often gets the notoriety of being a more North American style of player

General Assessment

Barbashev is one of the leaders and often the offensive catalyst on a first place Moncton Wildcats team that has surprised many this season.  He leads by example on the ice and is one of the assistant captains in Moncton.

His strong two way play at the World Juniors opened a lot of eyes as to just how good he can be.  There may have been a bit of a hangover after that tournament as he appeared sluggish in his return to league play.

He doesn’t project as a top scorer at the NHL level, but more of a two-way center who can play on the second line.  Following this season he will likely spend at least one or two years getting accustomed to the pro game in the AHL.

Scouting Report – Daniel Walcott

Bio

Team: Blainville-Boisbriand Armada                                                         Draft Status: New York Rangers, 5th round 2014
Position: Defenceman
To date stats: 33 GP – 3 G – 19 A – 22 PTS
Shoots: L
Height/Weight: 5’11”/165 lbs

Date(s) seen: January 11 vs Moncton, QMJHL regular season

Characteristics

Skating (Speed/edges/technique/etc)

Very good skater who is quick and can get up to high speeds, both skating forward and backward.  Uses that quickness to give himself an edge in the defensive zone over attacking forwards.

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

Doesn’t have an overly powerful shot and despite the 10 goals last season, goal scoring is not his strong suit.

Puck Skills

Moves the puck well out of his own zone and is key to starting offensive rushes in transition with his ability to move the puck up ice quickly.

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

Makes smart decisions to get out of his own zone and will jump up into the play when it is called for.  Walcott’s biggest strength is his play in the defensive zone in separating attackers from the puck and clearing the front of the net.  Excels in the defensive system employed by the Armada.

Physicality

Very physical, particularly for a player of his size.  Will likely need to add some muscle in order to continue playing that style at the pro level.

General Assessment

Walcott is a guy who essentially came out of nowhere as a free agent rookie in the QMJHL and ended up as an NHL draft pick.  He contributes at both ends of the ice, but excels in the defensive zone.  He has also assumed leadership responsibilities as captain of the Armada.

He has the potential to be a defensive defenceman who can move the puck at the NHL level.  It’s likely he will spend at least two to three years in the minors before getting a look with the Rangers.

Scouting Report – Evgeny Svechnikov

Bio

Team: Cape Breton Screaming Eagles                                     Draft Status: Eligible 2015
Position: RW
To date stats: 39 GP – 19 G – 30 A – 49 Pts
Shoots: L
Height/Weight: 6’3”/205 lbs

Date(s) seen: January 24 vs Moncton, QMJHL regular season

 

Characteristics

Skating (Speed/edges/technique/etc)

Possesses strong balance and agility on his skates.  He’s not the fastest player on the ice, but has above average speed.  Moves very well for a bigger player.

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

Svechnikov has a heavy, pro level shot.  Also has a strong one-timer.  Generally likes to use the wrist shot when in quality scoring positions.

Puck Skills

Very strong on the puck.  Uses his strength to effectively fend off defenders when carrying the puck.  He also does a good job at taking advantage of his long reach to protect the puck.

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

As his 30 assists would attest to, he does a tremendous job at distributing the puck.  Has excellent hockey sense and offensive instincts that make him very dangerous.  His biggest downfall is that his defensive play is not up to par with the rest of his game.  Sometimes can look lost in the defensive zone.

Physicality

Known as a power forward, he often employs a very physical style of play.  He can sometimes go over that fine line and venture into undisciplined play that leads to unnecessary penalties.

General Assessment

Svechnikov has adapted very well to the North American game since coming over to Cape Breton this season.  He currently sits second on the team in points per game.  The big Russian got off to a blazing start, but then tailed off a bit partly due to injuries.

He has generally been a consistent performer for the Eagles and his longest drought without registering a point has been two games.  It’s a testament to Svechnikov that he has performed so well during his first season on this side of the pond on a team that failed badly to live up to expectations in the first half of the season.

He is a Tier II prospect for the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. Despite the potential for the Russian factor, he should absolutely be a first round pick in the upcoming NHL Draft.  Has the chance to be a tough to contain power forward at the pro level.

Scouting Report – Guillaume Brisebois

Bio

Team: Acadie-Bathurst Titan                                       Draft Status: Eligible 2015
Position: Defenceman
To date stats: 48 GP – 3 G – 18 A – 21 PTS
Shoots: L
Height/Weight: 6’2”/ 173 lbs

Date(s) seen: January 25 vs Moncton, QMJHL regular season

Characteristics

Skating (Speed/edges/technique/etc)

Above average skater who is quite agile and moves with a fair amount of ease around the ice.  His good skating ability allows him to close down on attacking forwards quickly.

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

Does not possess a big shot by any means, but will often make smart plays to get the puck on net.  He will never be a guy that scores a significant amount of goals.

Puck Skills

Looks very comfortable on the puck and does a good job distributing the puck out of the defensive zone.  He really excels at making the smart and safe play with the puck.

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

Has good vision and often starts the breakout for his team.  Very smart player in the defensive zone, closing down on forwards and uses the poke check well to knock players off the puck.

Physicality

Brisebois is not particularly physical and could stand to put on some extra pounds to potentially improve that area of his game.

General Assessment

Brisebois is someone who maybe doesn’t get the attention that he deserves.  A lot of that comes from playing on a Bathurst team that has occupied the QMJHL basement for the majority of this season.  He has been one of the bright spots on a team that has struggled.

It speaks volumes that he is the captain as a 17-year-old, already showing strong leadership skills in a difficult situation.  He really excels when he plays within his abilities and makes the safe play in all three zones.  He can be prone to trying to do too much at times.

Brisebois is a Tier IV draft prospect – He has a good chance of being selected in the second round and would be a good value pick in the third.  His defensive prowess and strong puck skills could have him as high as second pairing defenceman at the NHL level.

Partial Scouting Report – Loik Leveille

Bio

Team: Cape Breton Screaming Eagles                                                     Draft Status: Eligible 2015
Position: Defenceman
To date stats: 49 GP – 8 G – 32 A – 40 PTS
Shoots: R

Height/Weight: 6’00”/220 lbs

Date(s) seen: January 24, Moncton, QMJHL regular season

General Assessment

Leveille has been far and away the best defenceman on the Screaming Eagles all season long.  Plus/minus is often not a good indicator of a player’s abilities, but for him to be +14 on a team that has given up a ton of goals really says something for him.

His offensive game has taken a step to the next level this season as he sits third overall in defenceman scoring in the QMJHL.  He moves the puck really well up the ice and often sets the table for the Eagles stable of talented forwards.  He’s done a very good job as the quarterback of the Eagles power play this season.

His defensive game is just as impressive and may be his real calling card for the upcoming draft.  He’s very physical in the defensive zone and rarely loses any one-on-one battles.  He’s also a mainstay on the Eagles top penalty killing units.

Tier V prospect – He could potentially go higher, but should be a lock to be chosen in the latter half of the draft at worst.

Scouting Report – Jérémy Grégoire

Bio

Team: Baie-Comeau Drakkar                                      Draft Status: Montreal, 176 overall in 2013
Position: Center
To date stats: 16 GP – 10 G – 14 A – 24 PTS
Shoots: R
Height/Weight: 6’0”/190 lbs

Date(s) seen: January 30, vs Moncton, QMJHL regular season

Characteristics

Skating (Speed/edges/technique/etc)

His skating is below average as he moves with very short, choppy strides.  He’s certainly not known as a speedster and in general his skating is an area that he could stand to improve upon.

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

Mostly uses his wrist shot, which is slightly above average.  His shooting and offensive talent in general isn’t really a strength of his game.  With that said, he certainly has managed to make improvements in that area over the past year and a half with 35 goals last season and 10 in 16 games so far this season.

Puck Skills

Much like shooting, this has been an area where he has made improvements, but still wouldn’t be considered a strength of his game.  Showed some nice hands in the game against Moncton, particularly on a nice deflection for his lone goal of the game.

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

Grégoire is a very smart hockey player and almost always seems to be making the right play all over the ice.  He’s responsible in his own end and his defensive play is one area that might get him to the NHL level one day.

Physicality

Despite not being an overly big player, he is known as a physical style of player and excels in that role.  He is very aggressive on the forecheck and makes defenders well aware of his presence.  His overall feistiness and willingness to stick up for teammates is a strong suit of his game.

General Assessment

Grégoire was never known as an offensive player until breaking out last season with 69 points on a powerhouse Drakkar team.  He has continued to fill that role this season with 24 points in 16 games thus far.  He missed most of the first half of the season due to injury, but hasn’t missed a beat since returning to the line-up.  He is the heart and soul of a Baie-Comeau team that has to be considered a bit of a surprise to be near the top of the standings.

Despite his offensive game picking up at the junior level, that’s not the role he will play in the NHL.  He has a chance to be a very serviceable bottom six forward at the highest level if he continues his physical, defensively responsible style of play.  There’s no doubt he will spend at least a couple years in the minors working on his skating as that could hinder any full time employment with the big club.

 

One thought on “Prospectus prospecting: Around the Q

  1. Pingback: Guillaume Brisebois – The Next Ones: Draft Prospect Profile

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