Monday, February 4, 2008

Top Prospects Report Card (Pt. 2)

Same format as with the blueliners and the masked men but obviously this time I'm looking up front.

Jamie Arniel, Sarnia Sting (OHL) : (23/46) Arniel was a standout at the U18's last spring alongside Steve Stamkos but really, what he'll be remembered for at the Top Prospects game is being the recipient of Colby Robak's sensational long-bomb pass. Credit to Arniel for finishing off the play but outside of that, he had a pretty quiet night. Grade -C

Josh Bailey, Windsor Spitfires (OHL): (19) He scored twice, one being gift wrapped by Hodgson, but Bailey was an integral part of White's top line. Has a lot of hustle and decent size at 6'1 190lbs. He's an aggressive skater and on that line, that was the perfect fit to match with Hodgson and Boychuk, two guys who are probably more skilled than him but needed a worker with hands. That might be a good, simple description of Bailey; a worker with hands. Grade B

Mikkel Boedker, Kitchener Rangers (OHL): (13/11) (and it is pronounced as 'Mikhail' as though he were Russian ) I really enjoyed my conversations with Boedker and outside of Stamkos was team Red's best forward. The Dane had a goal and a helper in the 8-4 loss. In the skills competition he wasn't entered in the fast lap, a shame because he has great wheels, but he did clock in a 92mph slap shot which was 4th best of the 8 entries. Boedker will be gone by the mid point of round 1. Grade +B

Zach Boychuk, Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL): (11/10) He was named Player of the Game for Team White after his 1G, 2A performance. He had some serious chemisty with Hodgson and Bailey which was great to see. I've been a Boychuk backer for a while now so I was pleased to see him put together a week that would help erase a WJC tournament where he was a it player. Hands, vision, speed, hockey sense... everything you'd want but unfortunately in a 5'10 package. Grade -A

Phillipe Cornet, Rimouski Oceanic (QMJHL): (31/72) Based only on this game I'd say the ISS number is more appropriate. He apparently had a goal but I swear I didn;t notice this guy even in the skills competition where he was 1/7 in the accuracy shooting. Grade D

Joel Champagne, Chicoutimi Sagueneens (QMJHL): (87/80) Here's an example of a guy that only got an invite to the game because enough NHL teams voted him in for a closer look. His line with Chicoutimi teammate Deschamps and Val d'Or's Maxime Sauve were terrific for their hard work and forecheck. He had a second assist on the opening goal of the game but more telling for me was how he and his line became the #1 power play unit because they were having their way with Red's best. Grade +C

Nicolas Deschamps, Chicoutimi Sagueneens (QMJHL): (28/107) See Champagne because they're pretty much interchangeable write ups. Unlike Champagne though, Deschamps did not register a point. Grade +C

Chris Doyle, PEI Rocket (QMJHL): Honestly, I had to look at the roster twice to double check that this player was even in the game. Put it this way; his team won 8-4 and he ended up a minus-2. Grade F

Tyler Ennis, Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL): (17/12) The one guy on the ice brave enough to try and get creative and fancy during the game but just couldn't pull it off. One scout put it to me pretty sucinctly when he said "All the talent in the world but he's getting pushed around in junior... I don't think he's got a chance in the NHL." He's listed as 5'9 and 160 lbs but let's be honest, he's 146 lbs soaking wet (confirmed) and 5'9 if his hair is standing up. Grade +C

Jordan Eberle, Regina Pats (WHL): (24/17) He's one of my personal favorites and I know some folks thought he played well in the game but I have to admit I was disappointed. I didn't see the things I like most from Eberle; the one-on-one attacking and creative dekeing especially. He can pass and skate and shoot but in this game he was held off the scoresheet and he did not standout on skills day either. Grade +C

Cody Hodgson, Brampton Battalion (OHL): (10/6) I'm on record as saying that Hodgson was my pick for Player of the Game. To me he was responsible for two tap-in goals that Team White scored and on top of that his 3 points in all were equalled only by Boychuk. He's fast, showed unreal vision and passing skill and he's on the top power play and top PK unit for the Battalion. He leads his team in scoring and plays against the opposition's top lines... sensational. Grade A

A.J. Jenks, Plymouth Whalers (OHL): (20/26) I don't think he's a first rounder but he's a 2-3rd line power forward with OK hands but an above average sandpaper grit. He's a former 7th round pick that is delivering for the Whalers (albeit it he probably dropped that low because he was committed to the Michigan Wolverines). 6'2 and 21-, he was one of the bigger guys in the game and wasn't shy about playing the body. I liked him, but maybe not enough for the 1st round. Grade +C

James Livingston, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL): (42/39) Personally, I really like what Livingston showed in thie game. He and big Tyler Myers were going at it all night and Livingston was clearly the one trying to keep that kettle on the burner throughout the game. He finished minus-2 but I still liked him. Grade -B

Brandon McMillan, Kelowna Rockets (WHL): (44/68) A late edition to cover for the injured Kyle Beach but couldn't fill those big shoes. McMillan's claim to fame will be that he smoked the field in the fast lap as the only guy to break the 14 second mark with a blistering 13.897. Half a second off the NHL record, that's impressive. Outside of that, he didn't do much outside of getting pasted by teammate Luke Schenn in an open ice collision. Grade -C

Phil McRae, London Knights (OHL): (38/49) Bar none, worst interview that I had that week. Chalk it up to nerves maybe but Basil's son seemed like an introvert compared to the rest of the guys here. He had a second assist on the final goal of the game and was one of the only Red players to end with a plus-rating but really did little to impress me. Grade -C

Greg Nemisz, Windsor Spitfires (OHL): (25/16) His first attempt in the hard shot competition came it at 81mph which was slower than one of the media guys... not an impressive feat there. He redeemed himself with a 88mph seocnd attempt but even that was 7th of 8 entries. He scored on Pickard in the breakaway challenge but I think he might have slept in and missed the game because I didn't notice him or his assist. Grade -C

Maxime Sauve, Val d'Or Foreurs (QMJHL): (36/55) The best individual on the Flying Frenchmen trio as he played between the two Chicoutimi forwards. Had an assist and ended plus-1 but I remember him as a quick, shifty ball of energy with some flair. I think he helped his stock go up a bit with his play here. Grade +C

Jared Staal, Sudbury Wolves (OHL): (32/57) No he's not going to be the best Staal brother, but he might not be a bust like some are saying either. I was impressed with the goal he scored because he was outstretched and scored on a backhand shot that he actually lifted into the top half of the net - not easy to do when you're completely stretched already. Patiently answered the endless "brothers/family name/genetics" questions with a smile. For some reason I found myself looking for flaws and came away pleasantly suprised. Grade -B

Steven Stamkos, Sarnia Sting (OHL): (1/1) Gordie Howe hat trick has captured some attention but his goal was practically a tap in. I didn't see the blazing speed or the incredible puck skills in this game even though you know that they're in there. Even in the skills competition he failed to score in the breakaway relay depite a creative between-the-legs shot attempt. He'll go 1st overall but for his performance in this game alone... Grade -B

Mikhail Stefanovich, Quebec Remparts (QMJHL): (16/29) The knock on him is that he's very inconsistent and sometimes lazy. I hope that's why I didn't really come away with a great impression because this is a player I was looking forward to seeing. Very limited in his English, answered all of my questions in 2 words or less, and I can;t say I ever noticed a smile. He's got size and talent. One scout told me he's the best player available from the Q and another said he'd be gone by the midway point of the first round but to be honest, although I don't doubt it, it didn't look like it here at the TPG. Grade C

Kelsey Tessier, Quebec Remparts (QMJHL): (33/32) Stefanovich's teammate with the Remparts is a self described "Mike Cammalleri type player". He's small but quick and can definitely put up some points. The New Brunswick native was a terrific interview and I really think that he'll be a first round pick because some team will become enamored with his off ice personality. He's enthusiastic, was excited to be here, says all the right things and knows that at 5'9 and 172 lbs he's got an uphill battle. I liked him. Grade -B

Mitch Wahl, Spokane Chiefs (WHL): (37/25) Directly involved in the incident that led to Kyle Beach's concussion (see 2 blog entries below this one), I enjoyed hearing his side of the events. For the record, Wall says he knows Beach a bit away from the rink and that he's "not a bad guy". Anyway, Wahl is another smaller skilled guy which seems to be the theme amongst the forwards this year. I like him but not as much as some of the others like Boychuk, Hodgson, Eberle and Bailey. cored his goal on a really sweet redirection from a point shot after winning the faceoff back to the blueline. Grade +C

James Wright, Vancouver Giants (WHL): (43/35) I didn't notice him in the skills competition, he was a slow 15.245 seconds in the fast lap and failed to score on his breakaway relay chance. In the game I don't think we said his name more than once (I was doing colour on the Fan 590's webcast of the game). Grade D

Geordie Wudrick, Swift Current Broncos (WHL): (69/69) Might have been the guy to bolster his stock the most with the way he performed in the skills and the game. He was really off the radar coming in but scored twice in the 3x3 game, was robbed after a brilliant breakaway relay attempt, and showed some hustle in the big game as well. Speaks a mile-a-minute but thatmight have been nerves as most media weren't asking to speak with him. Have to admit that in the games I've seen the Broncos play this year, Wudrick was a no-show but he caught my eye here. Grade -B

That's it. If you saw the game or skills competition and want to tell me you agree or that I'm on crack, please do!


doritogrande said...

Do you think Boedkker being from a non-traditional hockey country will hurt his draft status similar to Anze Kopitar's draft day? If he manages to fall through to the early 20's, I'd like to see Kevin Lowe make a bid for him. From what I saw of him at the World Juniors he was easily his team's best player with speed and willingness to take the body. Nice shot too IIRC.

Guy Flaming said...

No, I really don't and here's why. He's already over here playing in the OHL so he's being seen all the time by scouts. He's going to be in the Memorial Cup with the Kitchener Rangers too so you know he's getting great development events this year (WJC, TPG and Mem Cup).

The scouts I talked to don't even talk about where he's from. He played in Sweden before this with Lars Eller... and he too is from Denmark and was drafted in the mid 1st last year. I think Boedker probably goes around the #12 spot... but that's a early February prediction too so lots could change.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Guy(s), but Mikkel Bødker's first name is pronounced just like it's spelled. "Mikkel", with a sorta flat i.


Guy Flaming said...

see, when I asked him he said Mikhail and it was kind of close to rhyming with 'nickel' but with the accent on the back half.