Regina outshot Swift Current 39-28. Despite this, it seemed like Swift Current had at least as many quality scoring opportunities. It is a rare night in the Western Hockey League when nine goals are scored, yet zero power-play goals. Once again, there were times when Regina looked completely lost in their own end. Swift Current's speed and skill were too much for the Regina boys.
In this game I focused on two prospects for the 2009 NHL entry draft, Swift Current's Cody Eakin and Joel Rogers.
Cody Eakin (Swift Current Broncos, #52 CSB)
Last year, as an underage, Cody played very well for his team in the two games I saw him play in the first round of the playoffs against Regina. In fact, he was one of the best players on his team in those games. In this game he had a nice night in terms of offensive production with one goal and one assist. He scored a big goal in the third period by embarrassing Colten Teubert in a one-on-one situation, and then scoring on a breakaway. The best way I can describe Cody's skating style is that his stride is efficient and compact -- but he is not a fluid skater. His style benefits him when it comes to turning and pivoting quickly -- which helps him in the transition game. In regards to his offensive skill, Cody handles the puck very well and uses his body well to shield the puck from defenders. He goes hard to the net and is a good goalscorer. In one-on-one offensive situations he uses quickness and instincts to consistently beat defenders. However, I would have to say that Cody's overall on ice vision is only average as he doesn't always use his teammates to his advantage. For a centerman he is not much of a puck distributor. It will be interesting to see if his playmaking ability improves over time. If not, he might be better off playing the wing when he reaches the pro level. One of Cody's strongest attributes is that he is a real competitor. The coach plays Cody in all situations, power-play, penalty killing, etc. His on ice mannerisms suggest that he has leadership qualities and a take charge attitude. I like his focus and concentration in face-off situations. For a player on the smallish side he does not shy away from traffic. In the defensive zone he is committed and works hard. Overall, I would say that Cody has the skill set to merit draft considerations in the third or fourth round depending on the overall depth of this draft.
Joel Rogers (Swift Current Broncos, #138 CSB)
It is difficult to give Joel a fair evaluation based on this game because he did not play significant minutes -- he was utilized only in five on five situations. One thing I can say is that his skating ability is not what is holding him back. He has a slightly bowlegged style and achieves full leg extension. The problem for Joel is his overall confidence and composure in handling the puck. In this game he made a couple of errant passes that could have caused turnovers and scoring opportunities for the other team. He did not demonstrate offensive creativity or imagination. In the defensive zone his positioning was adequate, but he needs to get stronger in order to contain opposing forwards. I would like to see Joel play more before I make up my mind on him. His skating does have some upside. Based on this game however, I would consider drafting Joel in the late rounds only.