Sunday, November 25, 2012

Anthony Duclair: NHL 2013 Draft War Room Prospect Profile : Combine

Anthony Duclair: NHL 2013 Draft War Room Prospect Profile : Combine:

By Eldon MacDonald

Anthony Duclair – “Mr. Electric” – Left Wing – Canada

Anthony Duclair: 2013 NHL Draft eligible prospect; First round talent playing for the Quebec Remparts of the QMJHL. (Wikimedia Commons/ThinkingW)

Size: 5’11”, 182 lb.
Shoots: Left
Born: 26-Aug-95 – Montréal, QC; Hometown: Pointe-Claire, QC
Team: #10, Québec Remparts, QMJHL
2011-12 Stats: 63-31-35-66-30-(+38) + QMJHL playoffs: 11-3-5-8-8-(-5)
QMJHL draft: #41 in 2011 (round 3)
Twitter: @aduclair10


A List – NHL Central Scouting Preliminary Rankings
22 – – Oct-12
24 – The Scouting Report – Sep-12 Preliminary Top 30
25 – TSN’s Craig Button – Oct-12
29 – Future Considerations – Oct-12

"Mr. Electric “It came down and across the ground so quick that I didn’t even get a chance to blink” – my brother, Alex, describing a lightning strike in front of his garage. Well, Anthony Duclair may not be quite that quick, but he is electrifying on the give and go. He has that world class speed that money can’t buy; combine that with elite stickhandling and a howitzer for a shot and you have yourself an elite hockey player. To put the icing on the cake, he was +38 last year with the Remparts, tops on the club at 16 – absolutely ridiculous.  "

Read the full article, originally published at The Hockey Writers - Combine:
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Adam Erne: NHL 2013 Draft War Room Prospect Profile : Combine

Adam Erne: NHL 2013 Draft War Room Prospect Profile : Combine:

By Eldon MacDonald

Adam Erne – “Mr. Heartbeat” – Right Wing – USA

Adam Erne of the Quebec Remparts excelling in the QMJHL in his NHL draft eligible year (Jonathon Roy)

Size: 6’1”, 198 lb.
Shoots: Left
Born: 20-Apr-95 – New Haven, CT; Hometown: North Brantford, CT
Team: #73, Québec Remparts, QMJHL
QMJHL draft: #22 in 2011 (round 2) – drafted by Halifax
Twitter: @Adamerne73
 2011-12 Stats: 64-28-27-55-32-(+6) + QMJHL playoffs: 11-2-4-6-10-(+5)


A List – NHL Central Scouting Preliminary Rankings
06 – – Oct-12
08 – The Scouting Report – Sep-12 Preliminary Top 30
HM – Bob MacKenzie – Pre Season Poll of Scouts (HM = 11 to 20)
12 – The Hockey Guys – Nov-12
13 – Future Considerations – Oct-12
14 – The Hockey Writers, Christopher Ralph’s The Next Ones Top 60
17 – ISS – Oct-12
20 – TSN’s Craig Button – Oct-12
21 – McKeen’s – Nov-12

"Mr. Heartbeat In the New York Times best seller, “The One Minute Manager”, it is said that you have only 45 seconds to make your impression in a job interview. Well, it took only a heartbeat for Adam Erne to tell me that he is going to be a NHL player in the near future. He has that combination of size and speed that you just can’t overlook. Plus, he seems to be getting better and better each time you see him. The hearts of QMJHL goalies seem to be beating a little faster these days when Adam steps on the ice."

Read the full article, originally published at The Hockey Writers - Combine:

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Scott Oke: NHL 2013 Draft War Room Prospect Profile : Combine

Scott Oke: NHL 2013 Draft War Room Prospect Profile : Combine: "By Eldon MacDonald


Scott Oke - “The Castaway” – Left/Right Wing – Canada

Scott Oke (
Size: 6’3”, 201 lb.
Shoots: Left
Born: 16-Mar-93 – St. Lambert, QC
Team: #71, Rimouski Océanic, QMJHL
QMJHL Draft: #37 (3rd round) by Saint John – 2009
2011-12 Stats: 64-13-25-38-32-(+13) + playoffs 21-7-4-11-6-(-1)
Twitter: Okester71


Unranked but hopefully not forgotten

Confession Time

They say “confession” is good for the soul. It allows you to feel clean from your guilty sins, it is free and makes you feel free, allowing you to examine your failings as part of the first step to making things right. So here goes a NHL draft confession:
2011 NHL Entry Draft – Confession #1 Scott Oke played on the 4th line as a utility player for the powerhouse Saint John Sea Dogs, the year they won the Memorial Cup. He finished the year with only ten points in 54 games. NHL Central Scouting, however, recognized the potential in Scott as they ranked him 44th best North American player, a ranking that would normally get him drafted in the 2nd or early 3rd round. NHL Central Scouting’s ranking was no aberration either as Bob MacKenzie’s poll of NHL scouts earned Scott an honourable mention in their top 60 rankings. When the dusted settled after the draft, Scott was left the dubious distinction of being the highest rated player not drafted." 

 Read the full article which was originally published at The Hockey Writers - Combine:


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Jan Košťálek : NHL 2013 Draft War Room Prospect Profile : Combine

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League
Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Jan Košťálek : NHL 2013 Draft War Room Prospect Profile : Combine


Jan Košťálek, The Hockey Player

Outside of Océanic supporters and a few die-hard QMJHL fans, most in North America have never heard of Jan Košťálek. Jan Košťálek may be new to hockey fans over here but he is not new to hockey. In fact, Jan is already a veteran of international hockey at the ripe old age of 17 having played in some 40 matches for his country, the Czech Republic (19-U16; 11-U17; 6-U18; 4-U19). In addition, he has suited up for 10 games for HC Sparta Praha of the top Czech professional league, playing against men."

Read full article at The Hockey Writers Combine:
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Sunday, November 4, 2012

Nathan MacKinnon: NHL 2013 Draft War Room Prospect Profile : Combine

Nathan MacKinnon: NHL 2013 Draft War Room Prospect Profile : Combine:

Nathan MacKinnon: Probable #1 Overall Selection in 2013 NHL Draft
Guess post from Eldon MacDonald
Nathan MacKinnon – “Money” – Center/Right Wing – Canada
Vitals: Size – 5’11”, 179 lb.
Shoots: right
Born: 1-Sep-95; Halifax, NS
Team: Halifax, QMJHL
Twitter:  @Mackinnon9
2011-12 Stats: 58-31-47-78-45-(+11)-(+59) + QMJHL playoffs 17-13-15-28-12-(+12)
1 – Bob MacKenzie’s Pre-season Poll of Scouts
1 – The Hockey Writer’s Top 30 – Aug-12
1 – ISS’ Top 30 – Aug-12
1 – Future Considerations – Sep-12
First things first, catch Nathan’s September 29th, 2012 shoot out goal against Cape Breton – the goalie (6’6 Philippe Trudeau) who had an excellent game was completely mesmerized – watch the high leg kick to make the goalie think he was shooting and then just tucking it in. (Yahoo Sports)
Why is guy the biggest hype since Sidney Crosby and why is he so often compared to SC87 – a hype likely to be compounded by the lack of NHL hockey with the lockout. Check out the eerie similarities between the two:
  1. Home town – Cole Harbour, NS (Halifax suburb) – Check
  2. Athletic parents – Crosby: father drafted by Montreal; MacKinnon: father a marathon runner; mother was youngest swimmer in the Canada games.
  3. Prep school – Shattuck St. Mary’s, Minnesota – Check
  4. 1st overall in QMJHL draft – Check
  5. Pre-season favourite to go 1st overall in NHL draft – Check
  6. Gold medaled – Crosby – Vancouver Olympics and U20; MacKinnon – August 2012 U18 Ivan Hlinka Tournament
  7. Size – Crosby 5’11 – 200; MacKinnon – 5’11 – 179
  8. Build – Robust stocky build; very solid on his skates, aggressive edges – Check
  9. Acceleration – Ladies and gentleman: “Hold onto your socks!” – Check
  10. Dangle – All the way around or right through, baby; traffic not a problem – Check
  11. Shot – Ultra quick release, hard, accurate – Check
  12. Hockey sense – Born for the NHL; processes the game at another level – Check
  13. Will – Finds a way to get it done even when there is tough going – Check
  14. Rises to the occasion – When the game is on the line, he is the go-to guy and more often than not, the clutch performer – Check
You would think with all the similarities MacKinnon is very similar to Crosby on the ice. Well, such is not the case.
Crosby is a puck carrier with outstanding vision who thinks pass first but still has an elite shot.
MacKinnon is more a shooter of the Steven Stamkos variety and has good, but not elite vision. In fact, on Bob MacKenzie’s pre-season NHL draft ranking show, the lack of elite vision was the only significant shortcoming that NHL scouts noticed in MacKinnon.
Assuming MacKinnon continues to progress, his upside is that of a perennial candidate for the Rocket Richard Trophy (most goals in the season). He probably will never win the Art Ross Trophy (most points in a season). Maurice “The Rocket” Richard never won the scoring title either, but that does not diminish his legendary status.
Thus, MacKinnon’s game projects to the NHL as an elite goal scorer, but he will do it as Nathan MacKinnon and not in the mold of Sidney Crosby.
So how do you characterize Nathan MacKinnon? Two words immediately come to mind: “Money” and “Memories”.
When the game is on the line or when a gold medal is to be won, Nathan has that will and desire allowing him to elevate his game such that he is able to perform at a level that appears to be a little above mere mortals. For instance:
  1. 2011-12 QMJHL regular season game: The battle of the 1st overalls (2012 potential #1 – Mikhail Grigorenko versus 2013 potential #1 – Nathan MacKinnon) – The resul: 5 goals for Nathan, no goals for Mikhail. Could you cut him a little slack, next time, Nathan?
  2. 2012-13 QMJHL playoff series: Halifax (Nathan MacKinnon) versus Quebec (Mikhail Grigorenko). Nathan gave Mikhail ahead start as Halifax lost the first three games of the playoff series to Quebec, but proceeded to rally his team winning the final four games of the series in one of the most exciting comebacks in QMJHL playoff history.
  3. August 2012 Ivan Hlinka Tournament: After a rocky beginning, Nathan pulled his game together and scored a hat trick for Canada in the gold medal game and led the tournament in scoring – five goals and eleven points in five games.
  4. 2012-13 QMJHL regular season games glance:
    1. Game 1 – One-timer in OT to win it for Halifax, many missed seeing it because they were caught in a blink.
    2. Game 2  – two goals, two assists, +4, I guess you could say he was a little more than just OK.
    3. Game 3 – One goal, bad game for Halifax (6-1 loss) but Nathan played well – 17 for 22 in the face-off circle as he has really turned his game around in this area.
    4. Game 4 – Shootout goal to help win it for Halifax – the bedazzle almost caused the ice to melt.
What does a “Money” guy do: he produces “Memories”. Nathan, the money guy, has already caused many excellent memories and hopefully will produce many more. Here are some of the “Money” guys who have gone before him in junior hockey that Nathan has caused me to remember.
  1. Jonathan Huburdeau – He won the Memorial Cup in his draft year (2011) and was named MVP of the tournament. Did you notice this summer in the Canada-Russia series, Jonathan was almost invisible until the final game when the Challenge win was on the line. Jonathan then reappearedand was instrumental in the Canada win.
  2. Jordan Eberle – If you don’t know who Jordan Eberle is or the impossible things he accomplished in the World U20’s (2008-09 & 2009-10), I don’t know what to tell you.
  3. Jonathan Toews – “Mr. Shootout” of the 2006-07 World U20’s; I am sure Captain Serious bleeds ice water.
  4. Sidney Crosby – Yes, Sid won a World U20 gold, but my memory from junior hockey of him was the final game of the 2005 Memorial Cup when his Rimouski team played London. Sid was going to the net (to tie the game) and the whole London team including the water boy and trainer had to pile on him to stop him and preserve a London victory. I might be exaggerating a little bit, but not as much as you would think.
  5. Wayne Gretzky – My favourite memory from junior hockey comes from the “Great One” himself, Wayne Gretzky. I had the privilege of watching him live at 16 playing in the 1977-78 U20 World Championship at the old Montreal Forum. He played on a line with Tony McKegney and Wayne Babych. Gretzky ended the series with 8 goals and 17 points in only six games. In the first game against Team Russia, he completely mesmerized the Russians and Canada won. However, Team Russia must have watched some video as he was not nearly as effective in the second game and Canada lost.
The 2012-13 season is still young and hopefully the best memories are yet to come from this exciting prospect who is also one of the youngest kids in the 2013 draft. However, there is a lot of hockey yet to be played this year so surprises are likely to occur, good and bad. Will we be writing that Nathan is still likely to go one or two in the draft at the end of the season? He has his challengers, but “Money” MacKinnon likely has a more than a few memorable performances for us yet.
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Jonathan Drouin: NHL 2013 Draft War Room Prospect Profile : Combine

Jonathan Drouin: NHL 2013 Draft War Room Prospect Profile : Combine:

Guest post by Eldon MacDonald

Jonathan Drouin – “Mr. Smooth and Easy” – Left Wing/Center – Canada

Jonatha Drouin (Richard Lafortune/Flickr)
Size: 5’11”, 190 lb.
Shoots: Left
Born: 27-Mar-95 – Ste. Agathe, QC
Twitter:  @jodrouin27
2011-12 Stats: 33-7-22-29-12-(-5) + QMJHL playoffs 17-9-17-26-4-(+6)


07 – The Hockey WritersChristopher Ralph’s The Next Ones Top 60 – Oct-12
HM – Bob MacKenzie’s Pre-season Poll of Scouts (HM = Between 11 & 20)
15 – ISS’ Top 30 – Aug-12
19 – Future Considerations – Sep-12

The Dynamic Duo

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Rocky and Bullwinkle; there have been some great duos in history. There is yet another duo on the way out of the QMJHL. Jonathan Drouin and Nathan MacKinnon have been heating it up for the Halifax Mooseheads. Consider their exploits so far:
  1. 2011-12 QMJHL Playoffs: After losing the first three games of the semi-final series to Quebec, the Mooseheads, lead by the dynamic duo, fired back to win the next four games and the series. In 17 games of the playoffs, Drouin had 26 points; MacKinnon had 28.
  2. 2012 Ivan Hlinka Tournament: Led by the top line featuring Drouin and MacKinnon, Canada won the tournament. In five games, Drouin had 5 points and MacKinnon 11.
  3. 2012-13 QMJHL Regular Season: After week three and seven games, Drouin leads the duo with 15 points to MacKinnon’s 13. Drouin was also named CHL player of the week for week one.

Mr. Smooth and Easy, a star in his own right

For those of you thinking that Jonathan Drouin plays in Nathan MacKinnon’s shadow (the pre-season consensus number 1 ranked 2013 draft pick), you had better do a quick rethink. Jonathan Drouin is a serious star on the ice in his own right with or without his famous sidekick. In fact, I call him “Mr. Smooth and Easy” because of everything he does is so effortless and oh so smooth.
The smooth and easy comes from a combination of two uber elite skills – vision and passing. He sees the ice so well that he acts as the “game controller” and choreographs the action with his agility and adept passing.
The way he and MacKinnon play together reminds me of ex-Moosehead, Alex Tanguay playing with Jerome Iginla; the playmaker and the finisher. However, Jonathan can also shoot too and has a very quick release along with a hard, accurate wrister.
His lean body, his less than imposing stature and his ability to suddenly change directions and dart through traffic to the net also make you recall Jeff Skinner, in his draft year.

The Road Behind

The road to the NHL for any hockey player, even for  a destined star like Jonathan Drouin, is not always paved. In fact, Jonathan has already braved a few bumps along the way. In his pre-draft year Jonathan, starting out at barely 150 lbs soaking wet, was so physically immature that he decided to delay his entry in the QMJHL even though the Halifax Mooseheads desperately wanted him to play for them. Luckily for the Mooseheads, a growth spurt and some additional pleadings caused Jonathan to rethink his position and he joined the Moose on December 13th, 2011, right before Christmas.
Jonathan did okay the rest of the regular season but it was not until close to the playoffs that the star arrived, and then he was put with Nathan. It was the comeback against Quebec in the playoffs (winning the semi-finals after losing the first three games) and the dynamism and leadership shown by Jonathan in that comeback that cemented in many minds that this kid was a star in the making. It is going to be hard to top his game-winning goal in overtime in game seven to finish the comeback and win the series but I believe he is capable of even bigger goals in the future.
Over the summer, Jonathan worked hard on his conditioning and added 15 pounds to his slender frame. He confirmed this week that he is now 5’10¾  and 190 lb. (14 lb. more than shown on the Moosehead web site). He also spent some time on his skating with Barb Underhill, former world figure skating for Canada in 1984. Barb is the person who is credited with greatly improving the skating of 6’7 New York Ranger, Brian Boyle. This is reminiscent of Jeff Skinner yet again as the Hurricanes star winger had figure skating in his background as well.
The road this current year started out extremely smooth.  In week 1, Drouin earned CHL player of the week honours and by Week 3 he was only two points out of the Q scoring lead. However, in the game on October 6th, a bump occurred on the road to the draft. Jonathan took a nasty hit along the boards from Saint John Sea Dog, Benjamin Houde, and is currently listed as day-to-day with a sore shoulder.

The Road Ahead

I was just about to make a big mistake and write what Jonathan had to do to make the “bigs”. However, on second reflection, Jonathan has already shown sufficient high-end skills, has accomplishments that most players never come close to achieving and most important of all shown a willingness to do what it takes to address the short-comings in his game. So, yes, to reach his full potential Jonathan will need to continue to refine and improve his physical game to the point where it adds to the equation and not deducts from it. However, seeing what he accomplished over the summer with his strength and skating training, you know they will come. While most including Bob MacKenzie have this young stud in the teens for the upcoming NHL draft, I believe my editor, Christopher Ralph, has it right and that Jonathan is definitely in the top 10. How high in the top 10 depends on how much Jonathan is able to improve his physical game and not so much on how many points he puts on the board as the draft is done on projection as much as accomplishments. I will leave you with one last “wow” followed by “quel feint” so you do not forget this future star in the making.

This article was orginally published at The Hockey Writers Combine
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William Carrier: NHL 2013 Draft War Room Prospect Profile : Combine

William Carrier: NHL 2013 Draft War Room Prospect Profile : Combine

By Eldon MacDonald 

William Carrier (Photo: Ghyslain Bergeron)

William Carrier – “Mr. Turn and Burn” – Left Wing/Center – Canada 
Size: 6’1”, 198 lb.
Shoots: Left
Born: 20-Dec-94 – Ville LaSalle, QC; hometown, Pierrefonds, QC
Team: Cape Breton, QMJHL
2011-12 Stats: 66-27-43-70-65(-10) + QMJHL playoffs 4-3-3-6-4-(+4)

A List – NHL Central Scouting Preliminary Rankings
23 – The Hockey Writers, Christopher Ralph’s The Next Ones Top 60 – Oct-12
29 – Future Considerations – Sep-12

Mr. Turn and Burn

My favourite TV program is “Ice Road Truckers”, a reality show about truckers hauling heavy loads over frozen ice in the winter. When a trucker reaches his destination on this program, his goal is usually to turn and burn to the next destination as quickly as possible in order maximize his haul loads and pay check during the short winter season, when the ice will support a full-sized haul rig. Turn and burn describes William Carrier and his approach to the game to a T.
Whenever he gets the puck in his own zone or neutral ice, his first inclination is always to turn and burnwith the puck and hit or blow past the opposing defenceman. Although he patterns himself after Rick Nash, a more apt comparison would be Max Pacioretty when he goes down the left side (his usual itinerary) or Erik Cole when he barrels down the right side. And barrels is what he does, he approaches the D at top speed and attempts to barrel over them or around them. He also has that “man-sized” body to eventually wear down an opponent. Although he is listed as 6’1 198 lbs on the Screaming Eagles website, I would be very surprised to find that he was anything under 6’2 and 205 to 210 lbs.

Mr. Successful, even when it is not easy

One of the things I admire the most about William Carrier is that he doesn’t allow distractions to bother him. He will give you the same effort and have close to the same success whether he is playing the high-flying Halifax Mooseheads and Nathan MacKinnon or some other team further down in the standings. Neither as he has let the situation in Cape Breton effect his game whether it be his mediocre team or the management turmoil (Cape Breton GM, Pierre Roux was fired  on October 15, 2012). He is a leader by doing, which is why the Cape Breton coaching staff have given him an “A” to wear on his sweater.

The Road Behind

We should not be surprised by William’s success this year as he had 70 points last season in 66 games and followed it up by with six points in four playoff games. By way of comparison, Nathan MacKinnon had 78 points in 58 games. The only good thing about getting swept in the 1st round of the Q playoffs was that William was able to suit up for Team Canada at the U18’s where he earned a bronze medal along side his Team Canada teammates.
Over the summer, William worked hard on his strength and conditioning. Of particular note was his emphasis on leg strength as Carrier wants to improve on his start-up and acceleration speed. He is plenty fast, however, when he hits the blueline, as most defencemen in the Q will attest to.
The road this current year has turned out very smooth for William. In fact, after eleven games, he is 5th in the Q in scoring with 21 points, two ahead of the pre-season favourite for No 1 draft choice in the 2013 NHL draft, Nathan MacKinnon. William was also named Q player of the week once (to zero for Nathan, better pick it up Nathan!).

The Road Ahead

Yes, I am an admirer of William Carrier and not just because he originated from one of my 14 former hometowns, Ville LaSalle, QC. However, I also realize that while his talents are very good, they also do not all fall in the elite or exceptional category. So, what would sell a prospective NHL team on William Carrier as a high draft draft choice?
  1. Size: He has that man size of NHL ready chisel – Check
  2. Skating: Powerful stride, rock steady on his skates, hard to knock down, looks like a rhino in heat on full charge when he approaches the blue-line – Check
  3. Goes to the net like a true power forward: Mr. Turn and Burn, at your service – Check it out
  4. Hangs out in in front of the net: Have you ever had an unwanted little brother who turned out to be 6’2; that’s right, you can’t get rid of him of him no matter how hard you try – Check (just ask any Q goalie)
  5. Can fight for his team: William is not a person looking for a fight but will engage for the good of the team or to take care of himself – Check it out
  6. Shot: Hard, accurate wrister with a decent release; slap shot – doesn’t use so much – Check
  7. Stickhandling: Has the finesse to handle the puck and skate around defenders – Check
  8. Defensive play: William is considered a good player at both ends of the ice – Check
  9. Reliability:  William can be counted on in all situations – Check
  10. Leadership: the “A’, eh – Check
As to deficiencies, William should continue his program of improving upon his first few strides. He also should try to make better use of his teammates. Maybe it is partly because he is not surrounded by stars, but William is sometimes guilty of trying to do too much by himself.
William is the kind of player that will get a big look at the combine because every team is looking for a power forward with the kind of qualities he possesses. As can be seen from the rankings above, he is starting to be seen in the later part of the 1st round in some rankings. However, if he continues to improve at his current rate, he is likely to shoot quite a bit higher. He probably does not possess top ten skills but could shoot up into the teens. After all, he already has Nathan playing catch-up in some aspects. And lastly, he was just named to Team QMJHL for the upcoming Subway Super Series against Team Russia. The Russians better keep their head up while he’s on the ice!
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Frédérik Gauthier: NHL 2013 Draft War Room Prospect Profile : Combine

Canadian ice hockey player Vincent Lecavalier
Canadian ice hockey player Vincent Lecavalier (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Frédérik Gauthier: NHL 2013 Draft War Room Prospect Profile : Combine:

By Eldon MacDonald

Frédérik Gauthier - “Mr. “Not Just Anybody” – Center – Canada

Size: 6’4”, 219 lb.
Shoots: Left
Born: 26-Apr-95 – Mascouche, QC
Hometown, St-Lin Laurentides, QC
Team: #23, Rimouski Océanic,
QMJHL 2011-12 Stats: QMJHL rookie in 2012-13


A List – NHL Central Scouting Preliminary Rankings
22 – ISS – Oct-12
35 – The Hockey Writers, Christopher Ralph’s The Next Ones Top 60 – Oct-12

Mr. Not Just Anybody 

  1. Who is the player that player that Kyle Woodlief of Redline Report is calling “the biggest surprise anywhere so far”? No, I am not going to tell you but I will let you check it out for yourself.
  2. Who is the player that made a commitment to attend not just any school but “the school”? No, I am not going to tell you what school but I will give you a hint; George W. Bush, yes, the George W. Bush, is a graduate from there.
  3. So who could have helped Frédérik change his mind about attending the prestigious “the school” and committing to play in the Q at Rimouski? It couldn’t be just anybody. As not to be too cruel, I will give you a hint: both Sidney Crosby and Vincent Lecavalier are ex-Rimouski Océanic players. If you guessed either one, you would be correct. As Frédérik, himself, told LaPresse, “When a guy like that (Crosby) calls you, you listen”. Oops…I just gave up the answer to question 2 with the “LaPresse link”; got to be more careful.
  4. So who is the player that led the CHL rookie scoring race as of October 19, 2012 with 16 points in 12 games? Couldn’t be just anybody and I am going to be a nice guy for once and tell you!!! Yes, surprise, surprise, it was Frédérik Gauthier, #23, from the Rimouski Océanic.

Not Just Any Player but Frédérik Gauthier, The Player

Why are scouts so excited about this player who suddenly appears on the scene and seems to be on an upward progression to stardom?
  1. Scoring: At one time, he was not known for his scoring ability but look at the “Leader Board” – Number one in the CHL in rookie scoring. The trio of Frédérik, 6’3 201 lb. Scott Oke and 5’11 180 lb. Peter Trainor are cutting quite a swath in the early days of the 2012-13 QMJHL season. As well as scoring, all of them have a very high plus-minus (+12 to +14 with +13 for Frédérik).
  2. Skating: He has been criticized in the past for his skating but look at his first goal against Shawinigan on October 7, 2012. The player that scored that goal was flying. Yes, he could stand to improve his agility and his passing speed but Frédérik has improved his skating enough that he just leaves scouts wondering how good he can be if he improves his skating even further. The video is from Jerome Berube of and you really should bookmark his site if you want to follow the exploits of the stars of the 2013 NHL draft. Seek out his isolation video of Nathan MacKinnon when you are there.
  3. Size: Many say that he doesn’t use his size enough.  Although this is true to a certain extent, at 6’4, 219 lb. he is plenty strong to do what he wants for the most part. His 6’4 size also gives him a considerable reach advantage over most players. 6’4, 219 pounders who can skate decently and score don’t grow on trees. The thought of what this guy can do when he starts to more effectively optimize the use of his god-given size and strength down the road is what has scouts droolingtoday.
  4. Defensive awareness: The scouting fraternity tend to agree on one thing: Frédérik Gauthier has that defensive awareness that is not often seen in “raw rookies”. His acumen in his own end is reminiscent of Sean Couturier.
  5. Vision: A lot of that defensive awareness comes from Frédérik’s ability to read what is happening around him and properly adjust to the changing circumstances. At the moment, Frédérik is still too passive in his play in that it is still mainly reactionary. However, as he adjusts to his new league that will start to change and he will be the one initiating the play.
  6. Other skills: Frédérik is still very raw in most of his skills. However, they are coming along. For instance, he is still under 50% in face-offs but he had one game recently where he went 17 to 23. His passing is pretty good but his shot is something that requires an upgrade to bring it to NHL minimums.

The Road Ahead: how much more “magique” is there to come? 

Frédérik Gauthier is different than most of his competitors vying to be a 1st round draftee in the upcoming 2013 NHL Entry Draft. He is different because he is just coming out of a huge growth spurt (think mere mortal to The Hulk) and is a raw rookie. He is a player trying to establish his game, a player trying to carve out  his identify, a player working on his relationships with his new teammates, a player trying to find out what works and doesn’t at his new level and a player adjusting to his new mammoth size .
In such a milieu, there is likely to be a few curves along the road to the draft, maybe even esses. However, the combination of enormous size, the ability to put up the points, the ability to work well with his teammates, his innate defensive zone awareness and the decent full-steam speed are enough that scouts can overlook any skills that need further work.
Watch a game on television featuring Gauthier and you may not hear Frédérik’s name for extended periods. But then, suddenly, you hear what is the best word in the French language: “magique”. When you hear that word you know the announcers are likely referring to Frédérik Gauthier.
You often see new rookies in the league make a sudden drastic improvement in their game after they adjust to the league. Many times that happens just after the Christmas break. Will that happen to Frédérik? Will we see a transformation of some those raw skills that he now possesses into even more “magique”? I am betting that the answer is yes, but there are no guarantees.
It is a little early for draft projections with Frédérik but the potential is there for him to rocket into the teens of the 1st round. ISS already have him at 22 in their Oct-12 rankings.
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