Archive for Prospects

2017 NHL Draft Prospects: Gabriel Vilardi

Continuing down the rabbit hole that is the 2017 NHL Draft, we find our next draft prospect, Gabriel Vilardi.

For the previous prospect, Nico Hischier, click here.

Gabriel Vilardi

Gabriel Vilardi plays with the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League. He is a right-shooting center/winger finishing his second season with the Spitfires.

Vilardi is 6’3″ and 201 lbs., and is the fourth-ranked North American skater according to NHL Central Scouting. Even though Vilardi is ranked #4, he is currently the third overall pick in pretty much every mock draft out there.

Game Overview

Vilardi has a lot to like about his game. He’s a big body and uses his size to his advantage. Whether he is protecting the puck to maintain possession or outworking his man against the boards, Vilardi knows how to use his size. He has outstanding offensive instincts, sees the ice well, and has a great release to his shots. He’s not the best skater out there, but that can always be improved and he has the hockey IQ to overcome this. Here’s what the scouts say.

Future Considerations:

A dynamic and often brilliant offensive attacker…has skilled hands and outstanding awareness…looks to set up his linemates with timely passes, but can also finish off the play when the opportunity is there…has nice size and uses it to protect the puck…has a quick jump and agility on his feet, but is not really a speed demon screaming up the ice…plays aggressively both when his team does and does not have the puck; often hunting it down and stripping it from his opponent…has a bag of tricks he uses to shake defenders and get his hard, accurate wrist shot off or dish a soft pass…very difficult to knock off the puck and is able to dangle in very tight spaces while under heaps of defensive pressure…a toolsy center who is just scratching the surface of his potential…a constant threat in the offensive zone…has the look of a future offensive catalyst at the NHL level.

Draftsite.com:

Big solid centre-forward who can score. Has come back from injuries and was a top player in the World Junior U-17s. Displays a two-way game, great skills, and uses his body to make space. Best player in the OHL. Smart, strong, and strong on the puck. Strong on the cycle, makes terrific feeds to his teammates, and dominates when pucks are in contention. can come of the edge with truly strong power moves to the front. He has shown true goal scoring abilities and projects as at very least, top six scorer if the trends continue to improve.

ISS Hockey:

Recrutes.ca:

Versatile forward has played on the wing for most of the season but may be asked to fill a top-two center role due to his vision, reach and all-around puck skills and playmaking abilities. He also has goal-scoring talent, which makes him a second-line forward prospect or better with improved mobility.

Mike Morreale:

The enhanced stats tell us [Vilardi] is the engine on this team because whoever plays with him, their Corsi numbers go straight up and are increased,” Thompson (Windsor head coach) said. “Without him, they drop significantly. We’ve had a ton of injuries this year so it’s been a revolving door with our lines but the one common theme has been Vilardi’s ability to make the players with him even better.

Numbers

Highlights

Should the Avalanche Draft Him?

Once again, this will entirely depend on where the Avalanche end up after the draft lottery. Since the Avalanche could end up anywhere from first to fourth overall it’s hard to answer. If the Avalanche select first or second, then they will almost definitely go with Nolan Patrick or Nico Hischier. If the Avalanche are third or fourth, then they will have to wait and see who is selected before them.

At third or fourth, you have to like Vilardi as an option. The guy is always dangerous on the ice and he works hard. He’s not the fastest guy out there, but he creates and has all the right instincts to be dangerous for a team that has lacked scoring in a bad way. Not many people in this year’s draft are likely to make a team next year, but Vilardi seems like he wouldn’t be a really big project. Grow into his big frame a bit more and work on his skating and this kid could come in after a year ready to surprise.

2017 NHL Draft Prospects: Nico Hischier

Our next 2017 NHL Draft prospect is a young Swiss player who has been storming up the draft charts all season, Nico Hischier.

For the previous prospect, Nolan Patrick, click here.

Nico Hischier

Nico Hischier plays with the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL. He is a left-shooting center/right wing finishing his first season with the Mooseheads.

Hischier is just about 6’1″ and 175 lbs., and is the #2 overall North American skater according to NHL Central Scouting, but he has jumped over Nolan Patrick in many mock drafts.

Game Overview

Watching Nico Hischier highlights makes it incredibly obvious why he has jumped up the scouting charts this year. He’s fast, creative, has outstanding vision, has great hockey IQ, just as dangerous a passer as he is a scorer. He can play wing and center and his hockey IQ makes him an asset in his own zone, as well. Read what the scouts all say, and you’ll be high on him, too.

Jeff Marerk:

Popped big at the WJC and CHL Top Prospects game, but has tailed off slightly. Was injured and since returning has played a slightly different game. Some scouts worry about some of the fatigue he’s shown, but his skills more than compensate.

Future Considerations:

A smooth-skating, playmaking center…good skating agility and top speed, but is more quick than fast…is able to make quick turns and displays good lateral movement…not big or strong, but still shows willingness to take hits and battle for space…goes into board battles and uses his body to fight for pucks…excellent playmaking instincts, vision and passing skills…puts puck where his linemates can best utilize the chance…an incredible stickhandler who thrives in possession and can make defenders look foolish…competitive and driven…poise is a major standout attribute…dangerous when given time, especially on the power play as he takes full control of the play from the half wall with the puck, using his impressive agility, hands and vision to make plays…plays a responsible defensive game…one of the best talents to come out of Switzerland.

ISS Hockey:

Draftsite.com:

The best Swiss player in the 2016 World U-18s, graduated to become their best player in the 2017 World U-20. He is a centre-wing with quickness and skill. Has a scorer’s mentality, but displays high passing skills to go along with his elusiveness. Great vision and follow through. He reads the play in both ends and when in control of the puck, he uses his soft hands and stick skills to move the pace of the game. Plays fast. Is great on his edges and his agility lets it appear as if he fazed in from nowhere to control pucks and score. Maybe more importantly, he seems anchored to the ice sheet — unfazed by contact — and plays strong on the puck, continuing through traffic to finish. In a congested crease area, he seems to root around and find the truffle before others realize it’s in the back of the net. He takes the pucks in open areas, reads the ice in front of him, slashes through defenders in the hard areas to the front and lets it fly with an extremely quick deceptive release. Adequate in his own end (positionally strong), but he knows what side his bread is buttered. Not big or edgy, and there is room for growth in both areas, but displays toughness in how he attacks, attacking the box and letting his sneaky wrist shot fly. In a draft class with the early marquee choices injured and the best of the rest seeing their production fall off, why not first over-all? He lacks thickness and can add pounds and muscle.

Recrutes.ca:

The “Swiss Can’t Miss” has taken North America by storm in this his rookie QMJHL campaign, being among the league leaders in scoring all season,a fn then his performance at both the Top Prospects Game and WJC’s only cemented his status as a top-two prospect for the draft. His combination of elite skill and hockey sense make him arguably the best two-way forward available. He has top-line upside if he gains the strength needed to face the NHL’s top players.

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Highlights

Should the Avalanche Draft Him?

The answer to this question, of course, will depend on where the Avalanche are actually drafting. Now we all know that the Avalanche have the best odds of receiving the top overall pick, but with the top three picks being part of the lottery it is possible that the Avalanche could select as low as fourth overall. If the Avalanche are anywhere out of the top two, it would be shocking if Hischier were available.

If the Avalanche do get one of the top two picks, I find it very difficult to find a reason not to draft Hischier, even if you have to choose between him and Nolan Patrick. Hischier’s upside is the main reason why I say this. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that Patrick isn’t going to be an outstanding player, it just seems that Hischier is the one of the two that has the more high-end skill. It really is a difficult choice between the two and I am leaning Hischier at the moment.

2017 NHL Draft Prospects: Nolan Patrick

With this disaster of a season mercifully coming to an end, the Colorado Avalanche will now begin to turn their attention to this year’s NHL Draft. The Avalanche will enter the draft lottery with the best odds to receive the top overall pick, but there is no guarantee. The top three picks are part of the lottery, so it is possible that the Avalanche could select as low as fourth overall.

With that in mind, let’s dive into the first of many draft prospect possibilities. We’ll begin our list with the top prospect on the board, Nolan Patrick.

Nolan Patrick

Nolan Patrick plays for the Brandon Wheat Kings of the WHL. He is a big, right-shooting center just finishing his third full season with the Brandon.

Patrick is 6’3″ and 200 lbs., and is the #1 overall ranked skater according the NHL Central Scouting and pretty much every other scouting service out there.

Game Overview

Patrick has an NHL body that still will be filling out and is already checking off the big boxes that teams want to see. Great in all three zones, high motor, great hockey IQ, outstanding vision, possesses and protects the puck well. Yes, Patrick has missed a large chunk of the season to injury this year, but he has 46 points in 33 games and has done nothing but dominate the WHL this season. He will go in the top two, if not the first overall. Here are the goods on Patrick from the scouts.

Jeff Marek:

Since returning from injury has shown that he deserved to stay atop draft lists. Does everything so well, not flashy but has a pro style about him already. Think Jonathan Toews-lite.

Future Considerations:

A lethal combo of size, speed and skill; plays a power game and possesses one of the most well-rounded skill sets in the CHL…has great wheels and is able to surprise with his speed…hands and ability to protect the puck is high end…plays very responsibly with the puck, but also makes something happen each time he possesses it…uses his strength and reach to guard the puck, driving his way around the offensive zone…a heads-up, confident passer…has a sharp release on his wrist shot and is capable of beating a goaltender from anywhere in the offensive zone.

ISS Hockey:

Draftsite.com:

To most he is the 2017 draft class front-runner who does everything well. His greatest strengths at this point are his on-ice vision, maturity and competitiveness. Hopefully he will continue to improve into a three-zone player. He is already big and has displayed a notable improvement in his skating, mobility and strength. Excellent stop and start skater who explodes away from defenders. Light on his edges; difficult to contain when on the fly. Patrick is a terrific passer who holds the puck until just the right moment and then finds his spot. Goes to the net hungrily and with all possible dispatch.. A good decision maker; his development is coming along nicely, especially skating and on-ice pacing.

The Hockey Writers:

Numbers

Highlights

Should the Avalanche Draft Him?

Patrick brings a lot of things with him that the Avalanche are currently lacking. He doesn’t take shifts off, he has an engine that doesn’t stop, good size that also has the speed and skill to go with it, plays all three zones well, excellent passer and can score. Watching his highlights, I’m reminded a great deal of Chris Drury, especially in his skating.

There is no doubt that Patrick doesn’t contain the game breaking, once-in-a-generation style skill that Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews both possess, but he’s a player that still has all the necessary skills to be a star in the NHL. Young blood should be a mainstay on the Avalanche next season, and if it’s a player like Patrick, with all the above qualities, then it’s really hard to find a reason not to draft him. About the only reason to not draft him I can think of, assuming that the Avalanche are going to keep the top overall pick, is that the Avalanche believe another player has higher end talent. All in all, if the Avs do keep the top pick, it’s really hard to not like Nolan Patrick as the guy.

Burgundy Brigade Podcast: Post Draft Edition

Aaron is back in the country again, and he joins Kevin to discuss the recent NHL Draft for the Colorado Avalanche. The boys talk about each pick and give an overall impression of the entire draft, which includes moves that the Avalanche both did and didn’t make.

Once the draft runs its course, Kevin and Aaron preview the impending unrestricted free agency to identify a few players the Avalanche should target. And, as always, they answer your questions from Twitter, Facebook, and The Burgundy Brigade hotline (720)477-3762.

Articles referenced:
Round by Round selections: http://bit.ly/29iGWYa
2016 NHL Draft Overview: http://bit.ly/28ZJJWj
Important of a Goalie Pipeline: http://bit.ly/290LczH

Colorado Avalanche Draft Round 7: Travis Barron

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With their final pick of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, the Colorado Avalanche select Travis Barron. Barron played in the OHL with the Ottawa 67s and is a left-shooting left wing.

Barron is 6’1″ and 187 lbs, so he has a bit of growing to do to fill out a pretty good frame. He’s a two-way player that has some good offensive finish to his game but it hasn’t really shown to be as consistent as teams would like. A project with a good middle/bottom-six potential.

Scouting Reports

Draftsite.com:

Powerful tenacious winger. and grinder candidate who loves to jam the front with abandon. At times has shown nice stick-handling skills and at times some elusiveness, but the fact remains there have been long stretches where he seems slow, behind the play and unable to form a cohesiveness with teammates to make “looks” that go into the back of the net. Truly disappointing growth, and his 15 goals (two in the five playoff games) can’t be viewed as reason to be excited if he still on the board in the third round.

The Hockey Writers:

Barron is an all-situations type of player, one who can excel on top penalty killing or power play units. After playing centre in midget, Barron has transitioned to a wing position in Ottawa, where his strong defensive play makes him a great asset. While he isn’t the type of player that can carry an offense by himself, Barron has soft hands and a fantastic shot that allow him to play in a top-six role. While only slightly above average in size (187 pounds), Barron isn’t afraid to throw his weight around and use his body to protect pucks down low.

While the physical play and two-way game are certainly there, it’s certainly a little disappointing to see Barron’s production not take off like many anticipated. However, the potential for more is definitely there, and if Barron can show more flashes of high-end potential down the stretch and into the playoffs, it might be enough for a team to take a chance on him before the end of the third round.

The Draft Analyst:

Barron is a feisty two-way winger who settled into a support role for the 67’s when it became apparent he wasn’t living up to his potential on offense. He has good size to compliment an unquestionable work ethic, and even though he was a bit of a streaky player, Barron was able to stick within Ottawa’s top-six as the games became more important. He was the third overall pick in the 2014 OHL Priority Selection and one of the 67’s top players in the postseason. Barron is bound to find gainful employment in the NHL. The question is in what capacity?

Numbers

Highlights

 

Colorado Avalanche Draft Round 6: Nathan Clurman

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With their sixth round selection in the 2016 NHL Draft, the Colorado Avalanche draft Nathan Clurman, another big defenseman but this time with a right shot. He was born in Boulder, CO and attended Culver Military Academy Prep.

He is 6’2″ and 198lbs., and will be attending Notre Dame next season.

Game Overview

Not much to see on Clurman as far as scouting reports are concerned. Basically, he’s god good size and is a pretty good skater but still has a bit of a project. Notre Damn will be good for him.

Numbers

Highlights

Colorado Avalanche Draft Round 5: Adam Werner

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With their fifth round selection in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, the Colorado Avalanche select Adam Werner, goaltender out of Sweden.

Werner is a HUGE goalie at 6’5″ and 198 lbs. He catches with his left hand and does have a good amount of international experience in his time playing.

Scouting Reports

There is very little out there on the web, but his numbers are fairly strong. The most I can find is on one of the HFBoards. He’s described as technically sound but still developing. His size is obviously an upside to his game.

Werner is 19 years old and, since he plays in Europe, is eligible to play in the AHL next season. Whether or not he will is yet to be seen.

Numbers

I could not find any highlights for him. Will be interesting to see what he does.

Colorado Avalanche Round 3: Josh Anderson

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With their third round selection in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, the Colorado Avalanche select defenseman Josh Anderson. Anderson plays in the WHL with the Prince George Cougars.

He has pretty good size at 6’1″ and 220lbs. Anderson is a defensive defenseman who punishes opponents in his own end. He is also not afraid to drop the gloves. Anderson definitely has a mean streak and opposing players know when he’s on the ice because they will be on their back side if they don’t.

Scouting Reports

The Draft Analyst:

Anderson is a heavy-hitting defensive defenseman with above average mobility who loves to mix it up and provide reliable play inside his own end. He’s an excellent crease-clearer who ensures any forward gets a wood massage to the back if daring enough to venture his way. Anderson’s upper body strength is significant — he is strong enough to tie up his man (and often someone elses) long enough to allow his goalie to react or clear a loose puck in the goal mouth. He hasn’t completely recovered from the back injury but was invited to participate in the interviews at the pre-draft combine. In terms of offense, don’t expect much of anything from Anderson, as he owns an average shot and in quintessential stay-at-home type fashion, only uses it when the puck finds him rather than the other way around. All things considered, he still has NHL potential thanks to his footwork and size.

Draftsite.com:

A big defender who basically handles his end and then some. Has a nasty streak as wide as his shoulders. Has very little up ice push, but makes his end a challenge for opposing players who are looking for him as much as the puck. A steady stay home guy who logs plenty of ice time, because of his feared presence. One of the younger prospects in the class.

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Highlights

 

Colorado Avalanche Round 2: Cam Morrison

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With the 40th overall selection of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, the Colorado Avalanche selected Cam Morrison. Morrison is a left wing with good size that played in the USHL this past season and will be attending Notre Dame.

He is 6’2″, 207 lbs. This is size that the Avalanche have to love though his skating is going to need a little bit of work as he develops. A bruising power forward, Morrison brings some serious muscle to his game. He creates havoc in front of the net and can bang home a lot of garbage goals.

Scouting Reports

EliteProspects:

A big, strong all-around player who thinks the game at a high level and executes plays with purpose and drive. Accelerates well and has no issues getting around the ice with haste; transition game will need some tweaks. Very good vision and puck skills, and has the size to make a difference driving to the net and causing havoc for the opposition’s defence. Defensively sound, using his size to his advantage along the boards and getting his stick in place to deflect passes out of harm’s way. Moving forward, Morrison will have every opportunity to develop into a smart power forward who can play in all situations and make it difficult on the opposition.

The Draft Analyst:

You might as well start calling him Mr. Touchdown, because watching this South Bend-bound monster on the ice is reminiscent of a bruising tight end who always finds the end zone. Morrison was named the USHL’s 2016 top rookie after winning the OJHL Rookie of the Year in 2015. He’s a classic power forward with a strong desire to get to the net and position himself to receive the puck in optimal scoring areas. Morrison, who boasts a heavy, accurate shot, plays like a bull in a china shop, but it’s generally done while under control and with his head up at all times. He can play either wing or center, but did the most damage on the flank of the Phantoms’ top line. While he’s known for collecting garbage goals from time to time, his vision and understanding of play development make him a legitimate playmaking threat as well. Morrison doesn’t have good separation speed, but he protects the puck well and makes sharp cuts to buy himself an extra second or two. Only 17 on Draft Day, Morrison will continue to bulk up as he utilizes the NCAA schedule while playing against older opponents.

Last Worst On Sports:

Cam Morrison is developing a solid two-way, power game. A natural goal scorer, Morrison has an excellent array of shots.  His wrist shot and snap shot are both hard and accurate, and feature a quick release. He is willing to use his size to drive the net, and has the hands to pounce on rebounds and get deflections when he is there. He is able to find soft spots in the opposition defence and get himself in open positions to get that shot off. Morrison is not a particularly creative passer, but he does create for his teammates through chasing down loose pucks, winning battles in the corners and then getting pucks to the front of the net. While he does not make a lot of fancy plays, he does make a lot of smart ones. At 6-foot 2-inches tall, and 203 pounds, Morrison is the rare prospect who already has a good amount of muscle on his frame. Of course he could add a little bit more, but he is well ahead of most of this draft class.  He takes advantage of this in battles along the boards and in front of the net, as well as in maintaining possession in the cycle game.

…Morrison is also effective in the defensive zone, often being used to match up against other teams lines, as well as playing a role as a key penalty killer. He continues to show his hockey IQ in the defensive zone, reading the play and creating turnovers and transition offense. Morrison is also good in supporting the defence down low, and helping to contain opponents in the cycle game.  Morrison also shows good face-off skills.

Numbers

Highlights

 

2016 NHL Draft: Colorado Avalanche Select Tyson Jost

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With their first selection of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, the Colorado Avalanche select Tyson Jost of the BCHL’s Penticton Vee’s.

See his prospect profile here.

Upside

There is a lot to like about Jost’s game. He’s an offensive catalyst that sees the game incredibly well. He’s creative, slippery, has outstanding vision and also plays well in his own zone.

Jost’s numbers are absolutely outstanding, tallying 104 points in the BCHL this past season. He also put up fantastic numbers at the World U18’s for Team Canada, for which he was also the captain. He was also voted to be the player in the draft most likely to become a captain in the NHL.

Jost will be attending the University of North Dakota in the fall, which will be outstanding for his development. The NCHC is the best conference in college hockey and North Dakota has a great history of developing great NHL players, including Jost’s idol Jonathan Toews.

Downside

Jost’s size isn’t a terrible downside, but it isn’t really a big upside. He’s 5’11” and 192 lbs, so that’s pretty okay, but packing a bit more muscle on his frame will be good for him.

About the only other thing to mention negatively for him is the fact that he played this past season in a distinctly inferior league, the BCHL. Quite simply, Jost was just flat better than everybody else, but it is hard to get a feel for how he is versus comparable talent. We got a picture of it at the U18s, but still, there is a lot that needs to be seen from Jost. Again, North Dakota will be very good for him.

Happy With the Pick?

Yeah, mostly. He’s definitely a pick that is going to take a couple of seasons before we know exactly how good he will be, but he’s going to a great program and has a big upside. For now, I’m okay with this pick.

Highlights