Monday, September 28, 2009

Saskatoon Blades 4 Regina Pats 1

Game Notes:

The game was a defensive struggle for the first 50 minutes with the score tied 1-1. In the final few minutes of the game, however, the Pats collapsed and Saskatoon scored three late goals to win the game 4-1. Regina head coach Curtis Hunt employed an interesting tactic in the game by dressing 9 defensemen, using three of them as forwards. Regina's fourth line had two defensemen playing forward. In my opinion, they were generally outperformed by Saskatoon's fourth line. A message was likely being sent to two forwards who were healthy scratches from the lineup, Graham Hood and Michal Poletin.

Prospect Notes:

This is my second viewing of the Blades this season. Both John Nicholls and Curtis Hamilton contributed offensively in the game. Curtis scored a goal in the second period to tie the game 1-1. Saskatoon scored three goals late in the game and Josh was involved in all three goals. The Blades play in Regina on November 6 and after that game I will be able to provide a thorough evaluation on these two players. Hopefully, Charles Inglis will also be in the lineup by then.

As for the draft eligible players on the Pats, the only prospect as of right now is Jordan Weal. Three second-year WHL players who haven't done enough for me to consider them for the 2010 Entry Draft are Graham Hood, Dominick Favreau, and Justin Slobozian. They will have to improve their play and overall contribution to their team for me to reconsider -- remember, it is very early in the season.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Regina Pats 4 Saskatoon Blades 3

Game Notes:
The Blades dominated play in the first 10 minutes of the game but failed to score on Pats' rookie goaltender Dawson Guhle -- who may have been the best player in the game. The home team lead the game until the Blades tied the score 3-3 with less than a minute to play. The Pats went on to win the game in the shootout.

Prospect Notes:
Blades prospect Charles Inglis did not play because of mono, and is listed as being out indefinitely. He is a player who I wanted to see because last year (as an underage) he demonstrated grit, determination, and possibly leadership potential despite not demonstrating an elite level of skill.
Two other Blades' prospects did play, however. Josh Nicholls and Curtis Hamilton are two players who possess the required talent level to be considered for the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. Since this is my first viewing of these players I will simply provide a brief description of each.
Josh Nicholls is a tall and somewhat lanky right-handed shot who possesses a long skating stride. In this game he demonstrated good vision of the ice and good passing ability. At this point he does not participate in much physical play. My opinion is that his skating will improve as he becomes stronger -- he seems somewhat underdeveloped physically, in other words he could work on his leg strength. He is a player that scouts will monitor this season.
The other prospect I watched in this game was Curtis Hamilton. This is his third season in Saskatoon as he has a late 1991 birth date. His offensive statistics have improved from season to season, and hopefully he will be able to do the same this year. I would describe Curtis as having good offensive instincts, and just overall a very smart player -- he understands all aspects of the game. He is a good skater, but tends to lean over a little too much during his acceleration phase. He played left-wing in this game and was used in all situations. He is definitely a player to watch and I will provide a detailed prospect evaluation after I see him again.

Note: Saskatoon also has two solid underage players to keep an eye on in Duncan Siemens and Brent Benson. Siemens, in particular, was impressive as a young defenseman with good size and skating ability -- someone to watch for the future.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Brandon Wheat Kings 3 Regina Pats 0

Game Notes:
It is difficult to assess the quality of these two teams because so many of their top players are still in NHL training camps. For Regina: Jordan Eberle, Colten Teubert, and Matt Delahey. For Brandon: Brayden Schenn, Scott Glennie, Matt Calvert, Tony Rajala, and Alexander Urbom. With the absence of these players, some of the younger players were cast in more important roles than they normally would be.
As far as this game is concerned, it definitely was not high in entertainment value. It is definitely too early in the season to make any generalizations about either team, but I do have some brief thoughts. This was the second game of the regular season for Regina and they have scored only one goal. They did have some quality scoring chances especially from Jordan Weal and Garrett Mitchell. Overall I believe that Regina will not be an under average team offensively this season, especially if Jordan Eberle returns. After watching this game, however, the weakness of the team appears to be the defense. They had problems handling the Brandon forecheck and turned the puck over way too easily.

Prospect Notes:
I focused my attention on two prospects who I identified last season based on their strong performances as under age players, Mark Stone of Brandon and Jordan Weal of Regina. Although it is far too early to provide a detailed prospect evaluation of these two players I will say that they both merit attention for the 2010 NHL entry draft. Thus I will give a brief description of these two prospects.

Mark Stone:
It seemed to me that Mark's play improved during the course of last season. His offensive production improved last year after Scott Glennie was injured -- therefore he probably some more quality power play ice time. In this game he was used in all situations, including the power play and penalty killing situations. He has good offensive instincts and is willing to go to the net. I will need more time to evaluate his skating ability. He does not possess a smooth stride, but with improved leg strength his balance and agility will improve. Scouts will have plenty of time to see Mark, and his combination of size and skill merit their attention.

Jordan Weal:
There is no question that Jordan is a dynamic offensive player with above average hockey sense and offensive instincts. Although he did not score in the game he did have some quality scoring chances. An area of improvement that Jordan could work on is his ability to finish. When he gets scoring chances he needs to "bury the puck in the back of the net", instead of simply shooting and hoping. It looks to me like his skating is a little smoother. For NHL scouts, Jordan is a player to keep an eye on despite his diminutive stature. After more viewings I will provide a detailed prospect evaluation on this blog.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Blog Update

Now that the Western Hockey League has once again started you can expect regular posts on this blog. The content will remain much the same as last year. The focus will be on the prospects for the 2010 NHL Entry Draft and on prospects who have already been drafted by NHL teams. In regards to the prospects for the 2010 Draft I will provide a thorough evaluation of their skill level as well as provide an assessment of where they should be drafted. I will also monitor the development of prospects who have already been drafted by NHL clubs and provide an assessment as to whether they merit NHL contract consideration. All of my evaluations will be based entirely on the viewings that I have when I attend WHL games -- the majority of which will be in Regina.

For the readers of this blog, I remind you that the content of this blog is my opinion only. Please do not take my opinion too seriously.