Thursday, December 23, 2010

Mid-Season Player Thoughts

I'm going to give out my version of a player scout report cards this year. I'm going to give each player two different grades: A team Grade, and an NHL Grade.

The team grade is based upon the players ability and more-so towards how the player is performing up to his ability.

With the NHL Grade I'm going to use the Hockey's Future rating scale. It is a rating out of 1-10 for the players NHL ability, and a grade from A-F on their potential of hitting their expected ability.

Linden Vey

Team Grade: A+
Nothing more can be asked of him. Some games he is a man among boys on the ice. Coming to games as a fan you expect him to get a point or two a game, and he usually delivers. Kills penalties, plays the powerplay, his only knock is his physicality,
however he has a touch of Pavel Datsyuk in him, he would rather steal the puck cleanly than ride a player into the boards and it works for him.

NHL Grade: 7B
Above average skill in every facet. He is incredibly smart, has excellent body positioning, adapts well to changes, excellent conditioning, and skilled which is why I think he will be in the nhl someday.

He is one of those guys that wont necessarily be on the Kings radar to make an immediate high impact and become a superstar but he will get a couple years in the minors then work his way up. I think eventually he will be good enough to be a 2nd-3rd line caliber player. His smarts and adaptability make me beleive that he could possibly be a surprise player and have an outside shot at first line material.

Hunter Shinkaruk

Team Grade: A

After missing his 15 yr old season in midget he has made a pretty big impression on the Tigers roster. It took him 10 games or so before he had the confidence to take that next step. The Tigers had a small hole in trying to fit a skill player into
the top 6 and Shinkaruk has filled that hole rather well. His offensive potential looks bright, and he plays that dirty shirt style hockey. He has offensive smarts and is one of the better Tigers at blocking shooting and passing lanes, and has the
potential to be an effective penalty killer.

NHL Grade: 7.5D (Still a little too early to tell, hence the D)

With his draft year not until 2013 he will be on the radar for quite sometime. I could see him being a really high nhl pick in the future if he can keep improving.

Emerson Etem

Team Grade: A+
A Slow start but that has long passed, he is a threat to score every night. Etem and Vey have developed incredible chemistry together on the ice, and it is a pleasure to watch them perform. Emerson Leads the league in short handed goals with 5.

NHL Grade: 7.5B
Incredible straight line speed. Very accurate shot, and long reach.
Some scouts have yellow flags about him saying his game is one dimensional, but he has added another tool as a potential penalty killer. His long reach and straight line speed makes him a good defensive weapon as well as he's someone who can go on the offense if given a chance and still get back in time. I think his transition from the whl to nhl will be fairly quick, in that he wont spend a lot of time in the ahl, maybe a year at most. Its either NHL or WHL with him next year.

Devan Dubyk

Team Grade: A-
Cant ask for more from a backup goaltender, he was challenging Bunz to become the starter when Bunz was finding his game. I think he is the perfect backup goalie. He is a Positional goalie, and likes to shove rebounds into the corners or out of play.

NHL Grade: 2.5 C
I dont think he has what it takes to be an NHL goalie. There is a slight glimmer of potential, but I'm not sure if he can keep up a strong starter type pace for an entire season on a minor pro team.

He played phenomenal hockey and single handily earned the Tigers 4 points against Red Deer early in the season. I think Dubyk should find those game tapes and re-watch them. If he can find that form on a consistent basis he might be able to turn some heads in the pro level, But a whl goalie who has never been a starter might have trouble finding a pro team to play on.

Wacey Hamilton

Team Grade: A+

His leadership on and off the ice is outstanding. He gets an A by default by coming back to the Tigers and turning down 2 AHL contracts. He is very good at creating room in the neutral zone, and for a smaller type body on the ice displays a physical ability. He shows toughness playing through injuries and has a higher than average skillset at the whl level. I wonder if he needs different elbow pads he is always adjusting them on the ice :)

NHL Grade: 4.5B
He is one of those players that his potential is in between the NHL and AHL. Wacey does have a high determination and work ethic which is why I think he would be a definite asset on an ahl team. I see him as more of a career minor league type player, but I am in favor of throwing him in the ahl farm team and seeing what he can do with it. When I think of Wacey I think of Former Tiger Vernon Fiddler.

Cole Grbavac

Team Grade: A-

He brings energy, and plays a power forward type grinding role. Not afraid to drop the mitts when he needs to. He has tripled his numbers from last year and that has come from hard work. I like his energy level and he is an aggressive and protects the puck well along the boards.

NHL Grade: 3C
I like his size, his toughness, his energy and his play in the corners, however his offensive ability at the next level is pretty limited. He is the prototypical 3rd line player.

I think he has the potential to stick around in the ahl playing a middleweight crash bang grinder unsung hero type role. He could develop into a 3rd/4th line ahl'er but I would hate to see him loose a potential college scholarship over a couple years in the ahl. From what I heard Grbavac had a solid camp with the Dallas stars in pre-season I wonder if they invite him back next year.

Tyler Bunz

Team Grade: A-

A bit of an inconsistent start but he has made a ton of high quality saves. He has gotten real hot lately and has been a big factor in the Tigers recent success. He is an elite level whl goalie.

NHL Grade: 7.5 C

Extremely mobile and athletic in net, he is a positional goalie with very good reflexes.

He has the ability to make high quality saves look routine, he also has a pretty good one on one ability. He likes to handle the puck and help out the defensman. I'm not really an expert on goaltenders but I think he has the potential to be at least an nhl backup.

Tyler Pitlick

Team Grade: B+
The former NCAA'er had a pretty slow start but lately he has been playing really well. For the Tigers to make some noise in the playoffs they will need both scoring lines to score regularly. Tyler Pitlick brings a dynamic offensive ability 5 on 5 and if Pitlick were to catch fire it would help vault the Tigers into an elite level whl team.

NHL Grade: 7.5 C
He has the size and skill to play in a top 6 role. He has a big body presence and the capability to throw punishing hits. If he keeps his feet moving, and can keep a constant effort level in both zones he may have second line, possibly first line potential. I like him better as a winger over a center.

Ryan Harrison

Team Grade: B

Speedster impressed in early parts of the season. He is a bit overshadowed when he plays alongside Linden Vey and Emerson Etem, but he has the speed and skill to score at the whl. I think he plays fairly consistent but I'd like to see him emerge and become a bigger scoring threat. I think he is a similar player to Wacey Hamilton, albeit 2 years younger.

NHL Grade: 4.5C

Mathew Konan

Team Grade: A-

I think his game has improved by huge margins this year. He has a mean streak in him like Robyn Regher of the flames and tries to smash people into the boards. His long reach and quickness has swatted away many opponent scoring chances. I think he is the Tigers most valuable defender.

NHL Grade: 5.5 C
A defensive defenceman. He looks like he still needs to grow into his frame a little. I like his quickness and his reach. I also like his shot from the point as its usually a foot and a half off the ice perfect for tipping, however he doesn't get to use it much. One knack i have on him is that sometimes he takes his time getting back to the front of the net after pinning a guy along the boards.

Similar to former Tiger Gord Baldwin except konan is slightly quickerl, and slightly taller. He has also shown in the past a willingness to fight. I think he is good enough to get a shot in the ahl, and with time and seasoning he could possibly get a shot as an nhl depth defenceman.

Thomas Carr 3B

Team Grade: B
Incredible start to the season, then fell off the map with inconsistent play, and now he is back to being relatively consistent. He is able to take a hit and not retaliate. He needs to focus on playing a smart defensive game and make good first passes.

NHL Grade: 3C
He works hard, and will stand up for teammates. His defensive hockey sense is above average, his skill and skating is average. I think it would be good for him to play CIS hockey next year.

Dylan Bredo

Team Grade: B+
Bredo has made big strides in his game this year. He does a lot of the little things right. He plays a smart game. When everyone is healthy he fits in to the Tigers 3rd line really well.

NHL Grade: Unsure 5.5D (Subject To change)
Big body, skill isn't overwhelming but he is a smart player. Not afraid to fight. He would project as a 3rd line defensive checker. He might be worth a late round pick.

Reid Petryk

Team Grade B+

Reid has done a good job on the 4th line with rotating rookies. He was anchoring the 4th line, but lately with a couple guys away at camps and shinkaruk out with the flu Petryk has been giving more ice time and he has potted a few goals.

NHL Grade: Unsure
I do see an offensive ability in him that hasn't quite come out yet, he might be a bit of a late bloomer, and he has pretty good size. I think he needs to show a little more scoring prowess to be a late round draft pick, as he projects to be more of a 3rd/4th line scorer.

Scott McKay

Team Grade: B
+/- ratio is very good. I like his defensive smarts. The Tigers have recently put him on forward with Etem,shinkaruk, and Dezman out of the lineup.

NHL Grade: Unsure / 3C
Similar to Thomas Carr. I'd like to watch him more as the season progresses, but right now I dont see anything that stands out.

Dylan Bunsinius

Team Grade: B
A lot more mobile this year. Sometimes a victim to the Tigers defensive numbers. He does make rookie mistakes every once in a while.

NHL Grade: 6.5 D
A bit early to tell. But I like a lot of things about his potential. I think he is a bit underrated, but his skill is still a little raw. He has shown flashes of skill and smarts that remind me of jay bouwmeester.

He has a very good first pass ability. He has big body type at 6'2 and skates fairly well. I think he has a shot at getting drafted because of the potential he shows.

Kale Kessey

Team Grade: B

This wont be a popular opinion but I expected a little more from him this year. Prior to the season I saw him as a potential 2nd round power forward type pick. My opinion of him has slid down as he seems to only display a physical grinder/enforcer type role as his puck control isn't that great.

I'd like to see him add more than just the physical element. Lately he has been picking and choosing when to amp up and throw a big hit, as its either a big hit or none at all, But he is an intimidating factor on the ice.

NHL Grade: 5.5 C
His biggest asset is his physical play and his physical smarts. He also not afraid to fight, and displays a confident attitude on the ice. This alone I think will get him drafted in the middle to late rounds.

Sebastien Owuya

Team Grade: B

I expected more off him at the start, as he came in quite raw and It has taken a bit for him to adjust. The last month he has been playing with a lot more confidence. He has a long reach and has been making a good first pass.

NHL Grade: Unsure 5D
With the Tigers road trip in November I haven't seen him enough to make an accurate decision. He is a big kid, but needs to work on his balance. Also has a tendency to turn away from physical confrontations. He has a lot of things to work on before He makes it into an nhl lineup.

Vahe Zakaryan

Team Grade: B

He is behind the top 6 and is not a physical 3rd liner, so by default he gets dropped to the 4th line and rotates with some of the rookies. Next year he will be expected to take on more of an offensive role. He has shown flashes of brilliance and I think once playoff comes he will be a constant on the 4th line. He hasn't seen a whole lot of icetime with his injuries but I think he is capable of putting up a few more points.

NHL Grade: Unsure
He has some speed and skill but as an 18 year late bloomer he wont be on the nhl radar until he can put up some numbers.

Boston Leier

Team Grade: B+

Leier has been a victim to the numbers game at the forward position. But he has tried to do whatever is necessary to get icetime. He has tried to play a physical role on the ice, and he has shown that he is an above average fighter.

NHL Grade: Unsure
A 17 who hasn't seen a whole lot of icetime with the Tigers. I do see a bit of upside in him at the whl level but with limited ice in the WHL he hasn't played enough to show he is draft material.

Patrik Parkkonen

Team Grade: B
I thought the Tigers used him a tad too much early in the season. He has skill but he wasn't nearly quite adjusted to the whl speed. He has been playing ok recently. Patrik shows an impressive ability at digging the puck out of the corners, and the ability to take a hit really well against guys much bigger than him. For a small guy he plays pretty well in the corners, and I like his defensive instincts.

NHL Grade: Unsure
He has some skill but his size will be a big disadvantage he will need to overcome. This is also Patrik's draft year but I dont see enough to warrant a pick at this point.

Sam Dezman

Team Grade: B+

Very good upper body physical strength. He knows his role and despite missing a couple years with concussion problems he is willing to do the dirty work if needed. He has a hint of skill that he displays every once in a while but his 2 years injured from hockey has limited that ability in coming out. Along with zakaryan barring trades I think he will be a constant on the 4th line once the playoffs rolls around. He took a big unsuspecting hit a couple games ago and I believe he is out with a concussion.

NHL Grade: 1.5 D
A first year whl'er at 19 is pretty rare. Dezman sees limited ice with the Tigers. Its too bad he had concussion problems because who knows what he could have accomplished with a couple more years of whl experience.

Jace Coyle

Team Grade: B-

The reason I dropped him so low is because of a couple things. He had a poor start to the season, and I think he is capable of much more compared to his ability. He also given up to many unforced errors to my liking. I think he is over-evaluating his ability and not playing up to par.

NHL Grade: 3.5 B
Jace Coyle's first pass, passing instincts is a huge weakness. He frequently ignores the first open man then rifles a wrist shot half a foot off the ice to relatively covered players.

He has also made to many giveaways for a 20 year old nhl prospet. He posseses elite level nhl speed and stamina, but his hockey sense is below average. His style is more of an offensive defenceman but his shot is just average. I dont see that much to get excited about.

Curtis Valk

Team Grade: B-
Valk has been victim of the numbers game on forward, and has seen limited ice. Unless he can find a way to generate more chances he will continue to see spot duty and he could be the odd man out during playoff time. He has however had a couple pretty good games lately.

When opponents see Valk on the ice their eyes tend to light up thinking they can get in a good hit, and Valk hasn't been able to use a quick lateral ability to get out of the way. He will be expected to produce more points next year. This year is a year for him to get his feet wet.

NHL Grade: Unsure

Tigers Christmas list
1. They are playing better defensively as of late. However I would still like a solid #1 two way defenseman to play along with Matt Konan as the top shut down pair.

Coyle and Carr would be better served as a solid #2 pairing. Then Owuya, and Bunsinius/McKay/parkonnen would fight it out for the last spot. Although there would be a slight complication of having too many defenceman.

2.I would also like to see quicker puck movement on their powerplay. 3 or 4 quick passes then a shot.

3. More scoring from sources other than Vey and Etem or they will be heavily keyed on. I'd like to see more low shots from the point that aren't shot right into a defenders shinpads.

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