Welcome to the first edition of DP Draft Reports, a brand new series that will run a couple of times a month here at DobberProspects. The DP Scouting Team has been hard at work, getting back into rinks for live viewings and watching hours of game tape on the 2022 NHL Draft class over the last few months, and we wanted to share some of that work with our readers.
In addition to our draft rankings that are released throughout the year, we will be sharing a sampling of our scouts’ individual game reports on prospects for the upcoming draft. These aren’t meant to serve as holistic scouting reports, rather they are snapshots of specific games throughout the season that are intended to provide a more detailed look at a player’s in-game performance.
This round of DP Draft Reports features three players from the top-20 of our Preliminary 2022 NHL Draft Rankings, including Russian winger Danila Yurov, towering center Conor Geekie of the Winnipeg Ice, and USNTDP forward Frank Nazar. Center Pano Fimis of the OHL’s Niagra IceDogs and Finnish winger Jani Nyman round out this edition of DP Draft Reports.
Yurov has spent most of his season in the KHL with Magnitogorsk, seeing little to no ice time at Russia’s top level, but has been dominant in the MHL with 12 points in just six games. Winnipeg has been a juggernaut in the WHL through the early part of the season and Geekie has been one of their top offensive performers, racking up six goals and 20 assists through 21 games to this point. Nazar, a versatile forward who led the USNTDP U17 team in scoring last season, has carried his play to the U18 squad this year where he currently sits one point back of Isaac Howard for the team scoring lead with 21 points in 19 games. Nyman has spent most of his season playing on loan with KOOVEE in Mestis and leads the team in scoring through the early part of the season with 15 points in 12 games while Fimis is enjoying a solid start to his draft year with 11 points in 18 games for Niagra.
Without further ado, let’s get to it.
Danila Yurov | RW | Stalnye vs. Sibirskie (MHL) | 2021-10-28
0 G, 1 A, 3 SOG, 18:26 TOI
Zack Szweras: Overall, Yurov played a decent game against poor competition. When Yurov was on the ice, his team primarily had the puck in the offensive zone where he was able to show off his elite playmaking skills. Yurov’s strong hockey IQ was on full display in this game, constantly scanning the ice for open passing lanes when he had the puck and positioning himself in open ice to receive passes from teammates.
Usually, when Yurov senses his teammate is about to shoot, he crashes towards the net looking to bury a rebound. It was noticeable that in Yurov’s transition game, he preferred to make zone-exit and zone-entry passes rather than transitioning the puck up ice by skating it himself. Since skating is one of his biggest strengths, it was not surprising that he flashed strong straight-line speed by employing good ankle flexion which he complemented with powerful, quick crossovers to accelerate. When Yurov had to make plays in the defensive zone, he would use his speed to backcheck and stop the attack using his active stick to free the puck for transition.
Yurov did have some flaws that were noticeable in this game, including his shot, which needs work. He should look to improve his shot selection and add more power behind his wrist shots, but that will come as he matures. His stickhandling was fine against low-level MHL defenders but if he wants to take his game to the next level, he needs to work on being able to stickhandle off the wall into the middle of the ice. Ultimately, Yurov is probably too good for the MHL a