Friday, January 17, 2014
It’s been a while since my last article and it’s great to be back! I’d like to start by apologizing for my absence and the lack of fresh content here, as well as saying thank you to those who sent me emails and messages expressing concern and support. I appreciate it very much and I’m very happy to report that my daughter is on the road to recovery.
Now on to hockey. The CHL Prospects game was played this week and I’ll give my impressions of some of the players in the game. They are all eligible for this year’s NHL draft.
Sam Reinhart- Reinhart was, in my opinion, the outstanding player in the game. He can simply take over a game with his stickhandling, vision and playmaking skills. He is very strong on the puck and has uncanny vision and the ability to make his teammates better. Reinhart is a game-changer who will be a dynamic offensive player at the NHL level. The best of the Reinhart brothers, Sam should be one of the first picks in your leagues prospect draft this summer.
Aaron Ekblad- Ekblad impressed me more at the WJC than he did in this game, but his skill level is unquestioned. A strong all-around player with no real weakness, Ekblad is still growing into his offensive potential, which is huge. A sure-fire NHLer, the only question is will he compare closer to Jay Bouwmeester or Shea Weber when he reaches his potential.
Josh Ho-Sang- Ho-Sang hasn’t had a dominant season in Windsor and his draft stock has slipped a little as a result, however he showed in this game that he is a legit 1st-round prospect. He has dazzling moves and is a fluid skater with speed, and was involved in several good scoring chances in the game. Ho-Sang, who needs to show more interest in the defensive side of the game, creates excitement for his team and fans with the puck and for the opposing team without it.
Anthony DeAngelo- One of the final cuts from Canada’s WJC team, DeAngelo came into the game with something to prove and I think he acquitted himself pretty well. He is an offensive defenseman and makes no apologies for it. DeAngleo is a natural power-play quarterback due to his elite vision and passing skill. Sure his defensive game needs work, but I think he will get an opportunity and could thrive in today’s NHL.
Haydn Fleury- Fleury is a big defenseman who had a strong game, particularly defensively. He didn’t display much in the way of offense, but I’ve seen him move the puck pretty well in other viewings. Fleury skates well and reminds me a little of Brent Seabrook. He’s one to watch.
Leon Draisaitl- I’ve seen him play a few times, but I haven’t been impressed. He has good size and skating ability, but he doesn’t create much himself. I’ve read scouting reports that rave about his playmaking ability, but I honestly haven’t seen it yet. He was disappointing in the WJC playing for Germany as well.
Jared McCann- McCann is undervalued and overlooked in my opinion, and not just because he scored the game-winner in this one. He has a smooth and effortless style, but won’t wow you. McCann is similar to Sean Monahan in that regard, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him crack the roster of the NHL team that drafts him next fall.
Michael Dal Colle- Dal Colle showed enormous goal-scoring potential and why he is one of the leading goal scorers in the OHL in this game, lighting the lamp twice. He protects the puck well and is able to find open ice and space to release his impressive and accurate shot. A pure sniper who I really like.
Nickolai Goldobin- Goldobin was another player who stood out in this game. He has great speed and offensive instincts, and makes things happen. Goldobin scored a goal and could have very well had a couple more in this game. I could be wrong, but he looks bigger than he was last year.
News and Notes: The Montreal Canadiens recalled defenseman Nathan Beaulieu from the AHL. Beaulieu is a good fantasy prospect who is just 21 years old and is in his second pro season. He has 14 points in 33 games and is a future power-play quarterback with good vision, passing ability and a decent shot. If you have a roster spot available to stash him for another year or two, it may be worth your while.
As always, thanks for reading and you can follow me on Twitter @RichDillon17 if that’s your thing. Until next time…