Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tigers Arm Chair NHL Scouting Report

Alright here is my Arm-chair GM scouting report on the Medicine Hat Tiger players NHL potential. I like to guess at how players talents will turn out in the future, this is mostly for me so in 3-10 years I can see how I did. If you wanna read it too have at 'er.

Before going on I'd just like to clarify that i have no affiliation with the tigers whatsoever and I'm just a fan of the Medicine Hat Tigers.

I'll give a general recap on some strengths and weaknesses and give my potential rating, something like AHL 2nd liner, or NHL 3rd liner based on what I think they can reach given an opportunity.

I know some players read this so dont take it personally If you dont agree, I have been wrong lots of times, and this is just an arm-chair fans opinion. Prove me wrong please and then say this was the post that motivated you so I get all the credit and win the Internets:P

While I've never wrote any thing down before some past examples where I've been wrong include: I never thought Derek Boogard would make the nhl(learned lots on that one). I thought Steve Marr would have had a better AHL career, and possibly be a fringe NHLer. I thought Darren Reid would be in the NHL by now, I thought Lupul would be an NHL 30 goal man, while he is still on track he hasn't reached it yet.

While I can't prove these, Off the top of my head a couple players I was very good at projecting: Clark MaCarthur, Steve Regier, Stefan Meyer, Cam Barker, Derek Dorsett, Darren Helm, Kris Russel's paths.

Undrafted and Draft Eligible Players

Emerson Etem - Forward - RW

It was obvious he had talent at the beginning of the season. He was a very fast player who had a knack for scoring, but like all players his game still had some holes. I thought over the course of the season he improved a ton. IT took him 30 games for him to learn to keep his head on a swivel. It also took him 85% of the season before he started consistently finishing his checks.

He started the season as a passive player, but he is now more willing to do what it takes to dig out the puck. He was never afraid of getting hit hard to finish off a pass in his own end. He is extremely aggressive when driving to the net, and uses his size very effectively. He has a long reach that has helped score a bunch of goals with loose pucks in the slot. His wrist shot while not the fastest is deadly accurate, he just doesn't miss the net.

You will rarely see him dangle past guys, he always tries to beat his defender with speed. One offensive weakness in his game is his one-on-one attempts where he's not accustomed to moving laterally and stickhandling to get the defender off his "center balance point" and then using his speed to blow past him. The "darren helm" type ability is in him, Emerson is just way more comfortable with the speed game, and doesn't like turning the puck over, therefore always tries to beat the defender wide.

I think another season in the whl will help bring this ability out, however I think he is pretty close to being NHL ready. I dont expect it will take him long to reach the nhl level. From what I understand he likes to study his game tapes and is a student of the game.

He is a rare player who never seems to make a gaffe with good scoring opportunities. He always positions himself in such a way that if the puck comes to him he can get a good shot off. His offensive instincts are very high. However sometimes their are games where their puck doesn't come his way, and he is not as noticeable.

IMO its no question that he will be an NHL player. His size, speed, strength at 17 are way above average at the WHL level, and I think the transition for him will be fairly smooth. I think he will turn into an NHL high scoring 2nd line winger.

Tyler Bunz - Goaltender

Not a goalie expert. But here is my take. I liked him from day 1.

I think there was a definite improvement of his ability in the second half of the season, as his confidence and consistency took big leaps forward. Two things that I like about Bunz game is that he has a high hockey IQ, has an above average lateral ability and positioning in goal. His reflexes IMO are above average but it took him some time to get used to the speed of the game, and develop an "experience database" on how to play different shots. I remember thinking during his 16 year old year he had amazing reflexes.

He is also a goalie that likes to help out defensman by playing the puck, something that unfortunately earned him the misplay of the week on sportsnet last week.

His rebound control was a concern in the early-middle parts of the season. He seems to have a better handle on that now, it may be something to watch for, but I think as he got more comfortable with the WHL speed his rebound control improved. He seems to play with a confident attitude. He wont get shaky hands when the game is on the line, or after a bad goal.

If he isn't taken in the NHL draft in June I'd recommend(lol @ armchair gm recommendations ) on giving him a camp invite. I haven't seen the other goalies and He may not be as polished as the other goalies going into the draft, but I think his potential factor is extremely high. I'm not exactly sure on his potential ceiling but I think at minimum he will be an AHL starter caliber goalie. I think he has the potential to be just as good as Matt Keetley was for the Tigers, perhaps better.


Wacey Hamilton - Center

Hamilton is a feisty dirty shirt type of player, fairly aggressive for a smaller frame.

He will go into all areas of the rink, and sacrifice himself for shot blocking. He has top quality whl speed. His size may be a bit of an issue, he doesn't get thrown around but he will have to get a lot stronger if he wants to make it to the NHL.

I think if he keeps going and works his butt off he may have an outside shot at cracking the nhl (fast grinder with scoring potential type). But more than likely I think he will turn into a 1st,2nd line AHL player."

Zdenek Okal - Forwad

As feisty as they come. His size is a big issue at 5'10 167 pounds, he gets pushed around fairly easy. I think we will see him go back and play in europe. I dont think he is quite good enough for the NHL.

Cole Grbavac - Forward

Cole will be 19 next year. He is definitely a late bloomer. When he came to the hat he didn't know if he wanted to continue playing hockey, and took some time off. When he finally did return he was much more motivated. Cole fits the power forward type role. He is very good at protecting the puck in the corners, and plays an aggressive game, heart and soul type player, always finishing his checks, and is a very hard worker. He started on the 4th line but in the playoffs was playing in a lot of situations.

I like his size and the way he uses his body to shield the puck. He seems to generate opportunities when he is on the ice, but his point production has been very low. He is not afraid to drop his gloves and fight. I believe he has the potential to play a 3rd/4th line responsible grinder type role at the ahl level.

I dont know why but there is something in him that intrigues my interest a little. Call me crazy but I do see a sliver of potential of him making a 4th line nhl type roll as a defensively reliable grinder, although I dont see how he would overcome people on the depth charts. I'd be interested to see him earn a rookie tourney invite as a filler just to see how he does, and see if its just his above average whl strength that has peaked my interest.

Joey Frazer - Forward

I hated his game during the early part of the season, but he turned that around and became a consistent hard worker. His size is a definite concern at 5'7 165lbs. He possesses good speed, acceleration, his turning skills need to improve to become a more greasy water-bug type player.

I think he would have a hard time at the next level as he is not as greasy as some of the other small guys, but he is starting to develop that attribute. I'm not ready to rule him out completely, but at this point I only see AHL/echl interest in him. He's gonna need to take on a much bigger role in his game next year if he wants to play pro hockey.

Bretton Cameron - Forward

A heart and soul type players. He will take on anyone to defend his teammates in a fight. He constantly makes good attempts to block shots. HE does all the little things right, and is a team player. His skating is a concern, as his speed is below average. He has a hard wrist shot but sometimes doesn't get it off very quick. He looks like a heavier set type player on the ice, however he only weighs 180 lbs. I think his potential is more of a 2nd/3rd/4th line type grinder role in the ahl. Although you can never rule out a player with a work ethic like his, especially one who has scored 40 goals in the whl.

Jace Coyle - Defense

He is (whl)average size for a defenceman 6 feet 190 lbs, but looks a little small on the ice. His best talent is his speed/stamina. He likes to skate the puck out of his zone, and is not afraid at jumping into the rush. He could use an improvement on his passing skills. If its not a short pass he has trouble consistently making tape to tape passes. He is not that physical, but when angered he will finish his checks. As for his potential I see him as an ahl 2nd/3rd D-line - 2nd line PP man.

Edit July 13th 2010: With him signing an NHL contract I Have thought a lot about his future potential. I still see him as being more of an AHL defender, although with his speed/skating and willingness to jump in the rush perhaps he has the potential to make the nhl. HE still needs a lot of improvement to make it, and he needs to improve his passing skills tenfold.

Edit: August 17th: His skating ability is head and shoulders above most whl defensman. IF he can improve his decision making his game could be described as Duncan Keith like. Coyle has similar potential in him but to a lesser degree, his game still needs quite a bit of work to reach that level.

Mathew Konan - Defense

A big tall, lanky stay at home defenceman, with small hints of offensive skill. He needs to put more muscle on to fill out his frame. He has a long reach and has decent top speed. I expected a little more out of him in his 18 year old season. He has a tendency to forget about the guy looming 5 feet away from him, and sometimes gets beat not coming to the front of the net fast enough.

He has an aggressive side and likes to smash forwards into the boards. He sometimes plays really well, but sometimes plays lazy and forgetful. He has two things going for him with his speed and size, and I think that will garner interest from some team, enough to put him in their system and see what he does with it. I'm a little uncertain as to what kind of future he will have. If he improves on sticking with his man and puts on some muscle he may have 3rd pairing nhl potential, but I see him as more of a 2nd/3rd pairing guy in the AHL.


Mark Isherwood - Defense

Cannon for a shot. This year he played on the top line, and against the other teams top lines. He was more of an offensive defenseman, but this year converted to more of a 2 way player. Two things really hold him back from being a potential nhl player. His foot speed and his decision making. He gets beat outside quite often and will make very poor decisions from time to time. In the past I have seen a feisty side to him and he will do some trash talking. I believe his potential stands as a 3rd line Dman / 1st line PP guy in the ahl.

Taylor Gal - Forward

Taylor had an amazing first half of the season, his point production dropped off in the second half of the season. He showed a lot of poise with the puck. I wouldn't describe him as either aggressive nor passive, but patient. Next year he will be a 20 year old. As for his max potential I see him as a 3rd line AHL checker type role.

Matt MacKay - Forward

Not really sure what to say about MacKay. I dont really remember keeping an eye on him that often. He attended Minnesota's rookie camp prior to this season. HE put up very respectable numbers as a tiger. He was used more often on the third line. Throughout the season he seemed to consistently earn points, and that's a good trait. He went from 9 points and a -28 rating with moose jaw To 52 points and a +16 rating with the Tigers.
Edit: May 18th
He does have some offensive skill, but sometimes I think he has confidence issues. I would describe him as as player that hasn't completely come out of his shell.

Scott McKay - Defense

5'11 190lbs Only dressed for 47 games this year, was in and out of the lineup, However he managed to muscle into the 6th d-man role in the playoffs. I think he is a player with a bright future for the Tigers. He is draft eligible this year, but I dont see any NHL teams taking him, simply because he didn't play enough.

I really like his hockey smarts, and overall game. I think he is poised to have a big year next year. Any future predictions on him are just way too early yet, because he didn't play enough.

Drafted Players

Linden Vey - Center

He was only a 4th round pick after going from 17 points to 72. Darren Helm had similar numbers however he was a year older.

When I think of Vey I think of a very good puck protector in the corners, a guy who posses above average skills in everything, and a player who has a higher hockey IQ than average. Vey is very good at handling 2on2, 3on2, 3on3 rushes. He threads the puck through sticks and skates and suddenly makes a 3on3 into a 2on1. This year he has also worked a ton on his defensive game. He seemed to make it a priority on being the first forward back into the zone. The only thing I dont like about his game is that he never finishes his checks

For his NHL potential I think he will need time to get stronger. I'd say he is a slight notch below former Tigers Clarke MaCarthur's offensive potential, but is more defensively reliable. I think Vey will be an NHLer one day. I see him as a third line scorer/checker type guy, possibly second line after 2-5 years in the nhl.

Tristan King - Forward

To be honest I was expecting much more out of him this season. He has shown he has a pretty good smooth stick-handling ability, however stick-handling right in the defensman feet is a tactic that may work in bantam but not at the whl level.

He looks like he has fairly good size, however he only uses it when he has the puck in the corner. TO me he has shown a lazy type attitude on the ice, and that's why he wasn't exactly a fan favorite. He always reaches instead of going in for a bodycheck. He needs to enter the enemies personal space and he has a hard time doing that. I thought the Tigers last game In Medicine Hat was his best game all year, if he can play like that more often he has a shot at the nhl.

I really like his wrist shot, it is very fast and he gets it off pretty quick, he needs to use it way more often.

AS for his potential this one may burn me. I see him having a hard time passing guys on the depth chart once he reaches the AHL. A 3rd line scorer on the first PP unit in the AHL.

Thomas Kundratek - Defense

He is a very good puck mover in his own end. He has a very hard shot from the point, but doesn't score a lot of goals. He likes to keep a very tight gap, and he has an above average speed, and agility to be able to play that way. He is a solid 2 way player.

He style of play would could be described as the skating/puck mobility of a European with a western hockey league flair to his game. He will look for an opportunity to lay hard open hits almost anywhere. This year he developed a very good ability at taking an incoming hit and keeping the puck. He has also improved/recognized not to get caught flat footed by keeping too tight a gap, as he was last season.

His potential I think most likely when he hits his prime he will be more of a 4th/5th defensman in the NHL, or 1st line AHL Defensman.

I may add small bits and pieces over the next couple hours/days.

Edit: May 18th

Tanner Sohn
Forgot about him Sohn was an unexpected surprise to camp I guess. I believe he was dropped from Saskatoon's list and picked up by the Tigers. Sohn only dressed for 29 games with the Tigers, used at the beginning of the year and rarely in injury situations.

Sohn is a very aggressive player, and for the few games he played he started becoming a bit of a home town favorite for his willingness to drop the mitts, and lay out some aggressive bodychecks. Any rating on his potential is too early, he only played 3 games in the second half of the season.


Anonymous said...

very good post you have here! :) do you have any thoughts of the guy's that will be coming to camp this fall.

TigerTurf said...

Unfortunately I haven't watched very many AAA bantam and Midget games. So my knowledge database of incoming players is pretty limited. Next season I am going to try and watch some AAA bantam games, and maybe a couple midget games.

The Tigers only had one exhibition game last year but what I remember is

Curtis Valk is like Tyler Ennis but not as skilled or greasy.

Boston Leier reminded me a lot of Brennan Bosch.