vs. Canada East (WJAC)
2018 NHL Draft prospect Grigory Denisenko had 1G-2A-3PTS vs. Canada East (WJAC) and earned it through impressive displays shift after shift. On this play, he shows great speed through the neutral zone to spring a teammate in the O zone. Then, he shows tenacity to strip steal and re-enter the zone again. He doesn’t pick the best option, but he sure put in the work to not criticize him too much on this shift.
Here you can see him deke the pants off an opponent, register a scoring chance off the post, follow the play intently for a takeaway keeping play alive for extended possession, then caps off the shift by sneaking in behind the defense and showing how dangerous he is given a step. He scores driving to the net.
Denisenko provides support along the right wall defensively, breaks out, stays available, and then proceeds to enact a sweet backhand drop pass give and go for the assist through a crowd on the goal.
vs. Moose Jaw
Stud 2018 NHL Draft eligible defenseman Ty Smith plays the two on one perfectly and has a very clean break up on the puck that sends it right to trailing teammate JAD.
This is a clip you will want to bookmark – it’s Smith from start to finish. Off the face-off he picks up his streaking check with focus, sticks to him and denies him the puck and clears it. Then, he follows up the play through the neutral and intercepts the puck sidestepping a teammate while delivering a tape pass for the ensuing scoring chance.
Smith takes a pass in stride despite being a little off target, enters the offensive zone, and dishes a backhand pass. Backing up into the defensive zone, you can see his skating command as his mobility in reverse is super fluid and smooth. He picks up the puck and uses his great lateral explosiveness with the puck to evade the tight check and hit his winger with a zone exiting pass.
Smith spin cuts and the forechecker blows a tire, and you see him wheel through the neutral zone. He dumps the puck in as he gets converged on, which is fine considering circumstance though not ideal with his skillset. You also see him rush the follow-up right board sequence, where he could pull out with the puck and avoid the stoppage in play.
This is a complex storyboard for the fact that you see highlights, errors, and negative yet insignificant result. On one hand you don’t like to see that solo offensive zone giveaway turned into a rush against, but it did go offside. On the other, you see lights out puck rushing ability where he splits not ONE pair, but TWO pairs of attackers (then loses the puck to the D). This is one of those high hockey sense kids that you let go, and let him try these unbelievable plays because it doesn’t really impact his overall decision making if the result isn’t perfect now.
Intentionally or not, it’s impressive how close to the blueline he nonchalantly walks it giving him extra space to operate. His pass is butter, but his shot mechanic’s a little slow/delayed and light. Once the play is sent the other way, he shows some more reliability as a supreme breakout defender.
vs. Moose Jaw (WHL)
This is a complex clip that encapsulates Los Angeles Kings prospect Jaret Anderson-Dolan’ game: efficiently skilled two-way center with attacking mentality and some offensive limitation creatively. As a center, he’s naturally going to swoop through the middle and present as a pass option for his D to break the puck out. However, the D unit has a ton of confidence in JAD, and he was noticeably reliable here throughout the game. He transitions through the neutral zone with a good handle, but loses the puck when the attack converges on him. Can’t ding him there really, but there were other opportunities in one-on-one situations where he wasn’t able to escape either so worth monitoring development there. Despite losing the puck, you see his competitiveness when he gets it right back, grinds up the boards through a check, and hits his point man with a pass.
JAD starts the play causing yet another turnover, this time in the neutral zone, and takes off as F2. They eventually lose the puck, but he circles back and takes a stretch pass into a breakaway scenario. He almost splits the D, but jumps to the outside and loses the handle where he ends corralling it around the boards to the other side of the ice. Without the puck, you see his hockey sense to support the play and find a pocket – that is until he can’t restrain himself from giving the closest PK’er a light, distracting push!
You’re looking at a pro play right here with the puck behind the net. JAD battles behind the cage where he emerges with possession, protects the puck well giving him space to get the pass off the boards to the point man. His hard work results in a teammate’s center point shot, as well as another’s rebound shot. This screams NHL handiwork.
vs. Moose Jaw (WHL)
2018 NHL Draft prospect Filip Kral slips two checks as the defender who initiated a clean, well executed breakout. On the missed pass reception, you see his feet limit him ever so slightly despite the safe dump in.
Smooth handle, smooth delivery cross ice. Might not be the best pure skater out there, but he looks very confident on the move with the puck (and time).
Kral eventually finds himself in a tenuous spot in the L corner boards after fellow 2018 draft eligible Luka Burzan tracks him down. The play is progressed out of the zone only because of his D partner, who he’s lucky circles behind their net and provides support in the right spot. This clip shows slight shortcoming in terms of anticipation as well as, again, skating ability.
Right off of the faceoff, Kral takes off with the puck and shows a tight grip on it as he goes exit to entry. Here he is able to create a scoring chance on his own and show desire offensively.
Kral shows the same exiting burst only this time on the PK where he kills off time. He has a knack for pouncing on loose puck opportunities and translating them into plus plays because of his hands.
Here’s the top 10 re-rank for 2016:
- Auston Matthews, C, TOR, 1
- Patrik Laine, RW, WPG, 2
- Matthew Tkachuk, LW, CGY, 6
- Jakob Chychrun, D, ARI, 16
- Clayton Keller, C, ARI, 7
- Charlie McAvoy, D, BOS, 14
- Mikhail Sergachev, D, TBAY, 9
- Jesse Puljujarvi, RW, EDM, 4
- Pierre-Luc Dubois, C, CBJ, 3
- Olli Juolevi, D, VAN, 5
Here’s the top 10 re-rank for 2015:
- Connor McDavid, C, EDM, 1
- Jack Eichel, C, BUF, 2
- Mitchell Marner, RW, TOR, 4
- Zach Werenski, D, CBJ, 8
- Sebastian Aho, LW, CAR, 35
- Mikko Rantanen, RW, COL, 10
- Noah Hanifin, D, CAR, 4
- Ivan Provorov, D, PHI, 7
- Dylan Strome, C, ARI, 3
- Pavel Zacha, C, NJD, 6