The CHL Top Prospects game in Windsor has just come and gone with Team Cherry defeating Team Orr 4-2 in a game involving some of the best 2010 NHL Draft prospects. Elite prospects such as Taylor Hall, Tyler Seguin and Cam Fowler were featured along with not as talented players like Brad Ross and Louis-Marc Aubry.
The Top Prospects game is one of the top events for scouts to watch the 2010 prospects because akin to the U-18ís and the World Junior Championships, the competition level is higher than normal. It was about the CHLís best versus the CHLís best. This game as always featured elite skill shows, hard hits, great saves, and at times, teammates going toe to toe as the kids jostled to put on a show for the many scouts and NHL executives in the building. Below is a list of several players featured in the game, their respective rankings for the 2010 NHL Entry Draft from Puck Prospectus, the International Scouting Services and the Central Scouting Service, and commentary on how they played in the game:
Taylor Hall, LW, Windsor -OHL PP #1, ISS #1, CSS #1 NA
Comment: Just more of the same from the top prospect of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. Hall was sublime again in this game, showing many aspects that will make him sought after in late June. He displayed his great skating ability, bursting up the ice and showing high-end acceleration frequently. He was ferocious on the puck in both ends, disturbing plays routinely and creating turnovers and pressure on the other team. Hall also made a couple of nice passes including on Ryan Spoonerís goal in the third period.
Stanislav Galiev, Left Wing, Saint John- QMJHL PP #23, CSS #23 NA
Comment: To quote one scout when I asked him about Galievís performance in the game, ďDid he even play?Ē In all seriousness though, Stanislav did not have a good game. He rarely if ever made himself noticeable and when he did have the puck he tried to do way too much and usually just turned the puck over easily or wound up on his behind.
Nino Niederreiter, Right Wing, Portland- WHL PP #17, ISS #16, CSS #14 NA
Comment: A guy who has seen his stock start to rise since the beginning of the season with (so far) a good year in Portland, a great World Juniors for Switzerland and another good showing in this game. Nino had many, many scoring chances in this game and also scored a goal in the first period as well. He displayed soft hands, good awareness and strong feet.
Mark Pysyk, Defense, Edmonton- WHL PP #7, ISS #9, CSS #9 NA
Comment: Lining up routinely with fellow top prospect Brandon Gormley, Pysyk played his usual, steady defensive game that so many are used to seeing. He shutdown great offensive players and controlled the pace of the game, but made one mistake by letting Taylor Hall get behind him. Overall, very solid night.
Alexander Burmistrov, Center, Barrie- OHL PP #27, ISS #11, CSS #7 NA
Comment: Burmistrov was flying for a large portion of the night, showing great speed and hands that has helped the Russian native raise his stock this year. Burmistrov was the anchor for what was probably the best line of the night with Niederreiter and Skinner. He had no points but he definitely created many opportunities for others out on the ice.
Tyler Toffoli, Right Wing, Ottawa- OHL PP #18, CSS #22 NA
Comment: Pretty underwhelming game from Toffoli as a whole, he had the occasional good forecheck or pass but was pretty invisible for the majority of the game which was pretty hard for him to do since his linemate Tyler Seguin was flying and creating a ton of room. Toffoliís hockey sense was definitely in question this game.
Brad Ross, Left Wing, Portland- WHL PP #63, CSS #69 NA
Comment: For where he was rated compared to the rest of his competition, Brad Ross is a guy who impressed many in this game. He isnít flashy or technical, but he showed a physical, agitating style in this game. He was constantly banging bodies and delivering big blows, including one on his Portland teammate Nino Niederreiter. He agitated goalies and opposing skaters, while eyes were on him from all kinds of scouts.
Stephen Silas, Defense, Belleville- OHL PP #48, CSS #44 NA
Comment: Silas was definitely impressive in this game. He was constantly getting in the way of plays, displayed good gap control on incoming forwards, rushed the puck up on occasion and played a decent game despite what his -3 may indicate.
Austin Watson, Right Wing, Peterborough- OHL PP #32, ISS #18, CSS #25 NA
Comment: Watson had a great game for Team Cherry, contributing at both sides of the rink. Watson showed a solid power game driving to the high traffic areas in the offensive zone, while on defense he broke up multiple plays and was a great penalty killer, especially in the late third period making some brave blocks.
Ryan Martindale, Center, Ottawa- OHL PP #37, CSS #24 NA
Comment: Martindale was less than stellar in this game. While he didnít exactly have the best linemates that were available on Team Orr, he didnít do anything with what he was given. He did get the odd chance and hit a post but was not up to the speed of the game and the competition.
Cam Fowler, Defense, Windsor- OHL PP #3, ISS #3, CSS #3 NA
Comment: Fowler missed a bit of the game towards the beginning of the third, but when he was in it was yet another great game from one of this yearís elite prospects. He displaying calm and smooth puck-handling and distribution moving up from his backend, and showed good stickwork in his own end when defending.
Devante Smith-Pelly, Right Wing, Mississauga- OHL PP #24, CSS #67 NA
Comment: One of the biggest knocks on Smith-Pelly is his size coming in at 5í11, 180 lbs. and his ability to play with the big boys (no pun intended). Well Devante definitely showed he can handle the physical stuff; he seemed to shoulder-check every opposing player that got within five feet of him. He also showed some soft hands, a hard shot and good skating ability. That is a big reason why we have him ranked in the first round.
Calvin Pickard, Goalie, Seattle- WHL PP #54, CSS #1 Goalie NA
Comment: One of the top goaltending prospects this year along with Jack Campbell, Pickard has a very solid game. He was square to the puck and used his size well. Pickard gave up an occasional bad rebound, but it was an overall good game from the Thunderbird netminder.
John McFarland, Center, Sudbury- OHL PP #12, ISS #12, CSS #10 NA
Comment: McFarland showed some good and some bad qualities in this game. He looked a tad out of place at times and uncomfortable, but that's primarily because the natural center was on the wing. He showed some offensive flash and did have a breakaway (in which he didnít score) and moved the puck around decently in the offensive zone. We all know he has the skills, but he has to show it more often.
Tyler Seguin, Center, Plymouth- OHL PP #2, ISS #2, CSS #2 NA
Comment: Seguin was pretty good in this game and displayed some of his touted offensive skills. He was skating and creating separation from the defenders, used his body to protect the puck and showed good stick moves. He appeared to be a little too selfish at times, but it seemed more to be a case of his linemates inability to keep up with him rather than the center choosing not to involve his linemates.
Maxime Clermont, Goalie, Gatineau- QMJHL PP #97, CSS # 10 Goalie NA
Comment: Clermont was very good this game in net for Team Cherry. He made several high-quality saves and kept his team in the game even during a late five on three situation, where he was consistently defending the net against Team Orrís top forwards. Impressive reflexes and battle in the young Clermont as he never gave up on a play and fought to find the puck.
Emerson Etem, Center, Medicine Hat- WHL PP #28, ISS #29, CSS #13 NA
Comment: Etem showed absolutely fantastic skating ability in this game. While he wasnít the gameís best standout when he had the puck on his stick, you certainly noticed him quickly. His rushes were at a very high-speed and it was his skating ability that led to the space he was able to create for himself on the shorthanded goal he wristed past Clermont.
Jordan Weal, Center, Regina- WHL PP #21, CSS #45 NA
Comment: Jordan Weal is yet another one of those small, skilled forwards that scouts have to watch closely to determine if he could handle the pro game. While his size might scare some away, his skills shouldn't as Wealís skills were definitely on display during the game, with one goal and one assist on the night, while creating some very good offensive opportunities.
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Corey Pronman is a contributor to Puck Prospectus, an Associate Scout for the USHL Sioux Falls Stampede and runs the statistical hockey site The Hock Project. You can contact him at CPronman@fau.edu.
Corey Pronman is an author of Hockey Prospectus.
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