I had to step away from the CHL Top Prospect’s Game on Thursday evening. I went back and watched the footage on Friday morning and was about to go down a lengthy twitter thread when I thought to myself, “why not just write an article you lazy ass?” So, here we are.
Just remember that the TPG is a one-off and meant to reinforce notions, not change them. It’s basically an all-star game with a lot more on the line. Hits were thrown. Players were digging. But very little can be taken from the game (negatively anyway).
Tyson Foerster – I told y’all this kid could rip it. Until HockeyProspect dropped their rankings on Thursday, I believe I was the highest on the Barrie Colts’ pivot – putting him 29th on my most recent board. The 6’1 194lbs Canadian is clicking along with 21 goals and 48 points in 38 OHL games and added another two goals and an assist at the TPG. He stood out with his ability to get his shot off and the ferocity of velocity and accuracy that he possesses.
I’m always fascinated by centres that can shoot the way Foerster can. Where will they fit long term? How will they adjust their game as they transition to the pros? Will be slide to the wing and more traditional shooter’s position or does he stick in the middle and play a similar style to Mark Schiefele or Sean Monahan?
We won’t have the answers to these questions for some time, but what we do know is that the kid who will celebrate his 18th birthday on Saturday is solidifying himself as a first-round prospect.
Drysdale is going to be an all-star. This is not news and was not some revelation made during the game – although he did showcase that skating ability that leaves me drooling throughout.
He didn’t hit the scoresheet, but beware to the team(s) that pass on this kid. Just ask Montreal, Arizona or Detroit if they’d like Quinn Hughes in their lineup right now.
The 5’10 defender’s game continues to grow on me with each viewing. He’s very intelligent. Sees the play coming at him and developing in front of him. He has his limitations but is a good bet to bump the size odds that are stacked against him.
Kaiden Guhle and Braden Schneider
The two big, western league defenders were both strong in this one – each tallying a goal and playing some quality two-way hockey. I’ve liked Schneider’s game for a while, despite being the elder statesman of the draft class, but I’ve been a little cooler on Guhle than some other scouts. I made a note to go back and check out his progress late in 2019 and have been doing that this month. His Top Prospect’s game was a nice example of the upside he possesses.
I think both of these players will go in and around the tail-end of round one on draft-day with teams buying in on their high floors and reasonable ceilings as sturdy NHLers.
He’s the top player in the crop by a decent margin at the moment and showcased that ability once again last night. The kid is very real.
If this kid had an extra gear and could show a consistent effort in all three zones he’d be right in the mix for third overall. Despite those limitations, he’s a hell of a player and was demonstrating his skillset in front of all the eyes on Thursday evening posting a goal and an assist.
I’m currently diving deeply into his game for EliteProspects so keep an eye out for that.
I’ve spilled a lot of ink on Rossi recently so I won’t dive too deeply into him either. But he did what he does on the regular. Work the entire surface with tenacity and overzealous skill.
I love this kid. 5’9 be damned, he’s a top-five prospect in my world.
The Vancouver Giants’ forward makes a habit of being in the correct position. He’s highly advanced defensively for his age and that ability should facilitate a smooth transition to the professional ranks. He gives up some offensive to make this happen, but can still see the ice well and boasts a nice release.
He was sturdy as always at the TPG.
As mentioned off the hop, these games – even more so than tournaments, should be taken with a healthy dose of Himalayan salt (it’s 2020, people. Get on board with the pink salt). However, coming off a very sleepy performance as one of the youngest players at the World Junior Championships, Byfield had an opportunity to remind the general public that he’s an absolute terror.
He missed that opportunity.
Fret not though, the teams who will be drafting at the top of the draft do not need reminding. The 6’5 pivot may battle a touch of inconsistency at this point, but his upside remains as monstrous as he is.
Foudy did what he normally does: wins faceoffs and skates really fast in a straight line. And he sure can skate fast – leading all skaters in straight away testing. However, I’m always a little underwhelmed by his overall game. That held up at the TPG.
Switching gears, it was announced on Friday that Brogan Rafferty would miss the next week or two of AHL action. The Canucks prospect has been off to a rocket of a start to his professional career. the right-shot defender heads to the IR sporting six goals and 37 points in 40 AHL contests. That mark is good to lead all AHL blueliners, rookies and sits seventh overall.
However, folks must remember that this is a 24-year-old NCAA signee. He’s not a 20-year-old kid fresh out of the CHL. What Rafferty has done is noteworthy and promising. He’s put himself in a position to be amongst the fantasy landscape of defensive prospects and set himself up nicely to see some NHL time if any injuries arise.
But, and there’s always a but, there are countless examples of 24-year-old defenders who lit up the American League only to go onto do very mediocre things. Additionally, he is unlikely to see real power-play time if and when he does move up to the big club with Quinn Hughes in town.
I like a nice late-bloomer story, and Rafferty could be that guy. But I’d hold off on buying fantasy stocks at this point.
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