#19 Benoit-Olivier Groulx, C, Halifax (9/30/17)

vs. Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL)


2018 NHL Draft top prospect Benoit-Olivier Groulx takes a lead pass from his D man and goes exit-to-entry with significant steam in an impressive pro display. We see him release a shot in the slot, but what’s going to excite scouts is how he stops at the net and gets his own rebound and jams it home. That, friends, is an NHL caliber goal. With size, more speed, and more skill, he might just be what we all wanted Max Comtois to be last year.

#1 Alexis Gravel, G, Halifax (9/30/17)

vs. Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL)


Despite teammate and fellow 2018 NHL Draft prospect Jared McIsaac getting turned inside out badly, Alexis Gravel is fascinatingly still as he waits for the Titan’s Truchon-Viel to take the direct path/shot he’s waiting for. Gravel’s presence screams top prospect as he stays square, uses minimal effort on the L pad kick, and pushes off smoothly and quickly into standup facing his redirect.


Again, it’s not chaotic flair that catches you, it’s the fact that Gravel has such calm mannerism when surveying the developing play. He navigates the play around his zone, and is more than ready when that point shot is taken. Gravel makes a really difficult R leg kick save on a close range shot look easy.


This is a real simple frame demonstrating Gravel’s poise with Acadie-Bathurst bringing the puck and bodies at the net full force. He keeps his position with opponents barreling at him, and makes a easy L pad save.

#11 Filip Zadina, RW, Halifax (9/30/17)

vs. Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL)


2018 NHL Draft top prospect Filip Zadina has trouble opening himself up for a shot for most of the clip at the right circle, until Max Fortier finds him sneaking towards the crease. Zadina finishes off a beautiful backhand pass by Fortier by being ready with a sure shot.


Zadina doesn’t score on this effort, but he shows his possession ability on the perimeter and doesn’t stop there. Watch how he drives to the slot and goes after the play. With two Titan all over him, he’s relentless and won’t stop getting that second backhand shot off. A supremely skilled kid with that type of intense determination makes a star.


Zadina finishes off a play he started deep in the defensive zone. It wasn’t a clear solo push by Zadina in his own zone, but there’s no mistaking his posture when he first picks up the puck. He’s going to be an elite forward who can provide great defensive support over the year. A great play all around sees New York Islanders prospect Arnaud Durandeau thread a pretty tape-to-tape pass and sharp snipe on the go by Zadina.


More Zadina being a hound on the puck and causing a turnover with his effort and stickwork.


#53 Noah Dobson, D, Acadie-Bathurst (9/30/17)

vs. Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)


2018 NHL Draft top prospect Noah Dobson gaps up fellow draft eligible Benoit-Oliver Groulx, puts a stop to his left wing drive, and manages to pressure him into leading the puck out of the offensive zone right after the entry. Groulx’s a thick 6’1” 190 so it’s nice to see Dobson move confidently against him.


On this play, unlike the last, Dobson can’t handle the overwhelming closing speed of Benoit-Olivier Groulx and gets pressured into a turnover that is righted with the help of his teammates.


Dobson and Groulx are back at it again, this time with Dobson gapping up just like the first clip. While this is becoming an apparent matchup, keep watching. Dobson has the presence of mind to present himself right after the stop as a breakout option, delays for support, then takes off again in the neutral zone, and then stops himself at center ice and peels off. Very impressive offensive patterning with smart executional instincts.


This clip is about a minute long showcasing Dobson as a triggerman on the PP. He has a very secure handle on the puck, as the first reception and subsequent body angling for a shot shows.


Dobson loses the puck initially in the corner boards, but sticks with the play and is able to recover possession. From there, you can see his puck moving ability shine as he accelerates through a check in a dangerous spot behind the net and gains separation. He is able to swiftly hit the center point in his own zone with momentum and head man a crisp pass to his teammate streaking into the offensive zone.

#17 Justin Brazeau, RW, North Bay (10/5/17)

vs. Barrie Colts (OHL)


Undrafted 98DOB Justin Brazeau has shown to be a threat on the PK with ample size at 6’5”, reach, a lot of effort, and a little bit of skill. On this PK break, he shows competency with the puck in open ice to drive to the middle and create a shot.


On this play, Brazeau accents all of his positive traits with excellent hockey sense. He opens this clip up by intercepting a pass and immediately translating it into a scoring chance. Then, he goes after his rebound and closes in on not one, but two Colts in the same sequence. Brazeau gets after the last Colt to have the puck and swiftly takes it from him. Surrounded by four Colts, he loses the war, but not after he drains about :20 from the other team’s PP. Look for further development from this overage prospect as he has some nice qualities, in a pro frame, and most important of all work-rate.

#17 Alexei Lipanov, C, Barrie (10/5/17)

vs. North Bay Battalion (OHL)


Tampa Bay Lightning 2017 NHL Draft pick Alexei Lipanov drives the zone entry, and himself into a wall/corner after seemingly not having a plan of attack in mind. This was a surprisingly recurring theme in the game where he would clam up against resistance. Lipanov loses the puck here, kills time off his team’s PP clock with the ensuing flurry behind the net, and then even more when the puck gets cleared out.


Not only does Lipanov run himself into an easy turnover at the offensive blueline, but his possession fail leads directly to a scoring chance after Barrie gets trapped in their own zone – up a man.


This is just one more clip showing Lipanov’s suspect decision making on the ice. As a forward on the point on the PP, he attempts a weak stick check while skating past the Battalion’s McKenzie who very clearly will head off to the races. Svechnikov ends up rectifying his poor choice.

#14 Andrei Svechnikov, RW, Barrie (10/5/17)

vs. North Bay Battalion (OHL)


2018 NHL Draft top prospect Andrei Svechnikov takes a pass in stride on his backhand while flying up the right wing wall. He challenges the defender wide and when he gets a step on him at the edge, makes a hard cut to the net and scores through ensuing chaos.


In a play where Svechnikov is backed up to the opponent’s goal line to attempt a scoring chance, you wouldn’t expect him to be involved in a highlight defensive play. But he did just that. Svechnikov’s high IQ has him drift to the center point once he realizes the play’s risk. When the Battalion’s Brett McKenzie takes off, Svechnikov closes the gap with tremendous skating power and at the last second gets just enough of a stick check to jar the puck and thwart McKenzie’s chance.


Take a look at this clip broadly as there is no goal or highlight reel move. Appreciate how much the Colts’ offense funnels through Svechnikov with how they repeatedly get the puck to him in the right circle. Svechnikov has the makings of a prolific OHL scorer whose team’s game plan will undoubtedly feed him an incredible amount of rubber.

#4 Cam Dineen, D, North Bay (10/5/17)

vs. Barrie Colts (OHL)


Arizona Coyotes 2016 NHL Draft pick Cam Dineen is shown being chased down behind his net while on the PP by the Colts Andrei Svechnikov. The play ultimately gets progressed out of the zone, but that is not what you want to see out of a highly acclaimed puck mover.


Shown here is a fairly positive sequence where Dineen displays escapability from his own end, as well as being able to flip a play in the reverse direction fluidity with pressure on his back. Not the cleanest execution, but gets the job done.


In this clip, Dineen starts the play afraid to go after the puck with Colts monster forward Curtis Douglas bearing down on him, loses the battle, gains the puck back by luck, and then half asses it up the boards because of Douglas again. This resulted in extended possession by Barrie where we see Dineen completely dwarfed in front of the net and in the corners.

#19 K’Andre Miller, D, USA NTDP (9/30/17)

vs. Omaha Lancers (USHL)


On the PP, 2018 NHL Draft prospect K’Andre Miller shows some mobility with the puck and uses his long reach to keep a play from escaping the offensive zone.


Miller owns no shortage of confidence, as a massive blueliner who you don’t expect to lug the puck up ice. This play essentially doesn’t pan out, but his raw skating power and interest to drive the attack might point to future development in this area.