The Under-20/World Junior camps opened just last week with USA Hockey hosting a three nation tournament between Finland, Sweden and the US at Lake Placid with Canada holding an intra-squad camp at St. Johns. I caught the first USA-Finland game, the second USA-Sweden game and the first Canada game. These game notes from camp arenít as in-depth because ideally when scouting there are a handful of prospects you go to watch and thereby can get detailed notes of those players. In this case, just about everyone in the games were notable prospects so the details lacked as I tried to get a feel for everyone.
Jeremy Morin, Chicago: Morin is a guy who Iíve been high on for a while and he showed why at this camp. His combination of plus puck skills and shot helped him create a healthy dose of offense. In the first Finland-USA game he came down from the left circle and wired a wrist shot top shelf short side on the Finnish netminder Iilahti. He also had a goal called back in the second game versus Sweden after he fired a one timer past Lehner because the net came off its moorings. When people gave him space he was able to line some solid passes and along the boards he protected the puck very well.
Derek Forbort, Los Angeles: A first round pick of the last draft, Forbort was up and down from my viewings of him this camp. There were times he showed signs of his excellent tools such as with regards to how well he moves in a straight line for a defender and how he can lead the rush. Furthermore, he has good puck distribution skills. He had a few defensive lapses, mainly with handling the smaller, faster forwards such as when he got turned around by Julius Juntilla who beat him cleanly to the outside, which led to a breakaway. I did like how Forbort controlled the puck on the power play.
Chris Kreider, New York Rangers: Kreider was a guy who didnít show up on the radar that much but when he did it was in great fashion. His off the puck play wasnít great and at times would be out of position and just seem lost in the play. He did aggressively attack the puck when it was near him and he jumped on potential scoring chances. The second Kreider got an inch of space and his skating created clear separation from the defenders and allowed him to wire his plus shot.
Nick Bjugstad, Florida: A first round pick this year, I watched Nick closely to see how he would transist from high school hockey to playing with some of the most refined and talented 18 and 19 year olds. At times his hockey sense was off, especially in the defensive zone with his positioning and his attempt at doing a little too much offensively albeit. This guy bleeds tools though, with size/skating combination, soft hands and the ability to maneuver through traffic. If he fills out and develops right the Panthers will have hit a home run.
Justin Faulk, Carolina: Faulk in the offensive zone showed great poise on the blueline and was a focal point for the US power play. He really held the puck well and opened lanes. I only saw him unleash his slap shot once, which is his best weapon as opponents keyed in on him. He showed solid passing ability in all zones. Defensively he had some trouble handling his gaps and let forwards gain the zone a little too easily.
Jason Zucker, Minnesota: A returning member of last yearís squad. I didnít get to see much of him and in the Finland game he was relegated to killing penalties mainly but he was very effective at it. A true pest to deal with, he is fast on his skates and knows how to position his stick well to disrupt the puck carrier.
Brandon Saad, 2011 Draft Eligible: Saad was a guy I watched keenly mainly due to his draft eligibility. He impressed me with above-average skating and straight line speed. He also used his size well and battled along the boards. In the Finland game, after receiving a cross-ice pass from Derek Forbort on the power play, while under pressure he one-touched it to Brock Nelson in the slot which led to a goal. He didnít have a ton of opportunities, but he displayed the tools that are making him coveted for the 2011 draft.
Chris Brown, Phoenix: This guy was all over the place in the Finland game. He was used in a defensive role, but really shined. He was disruptive on the penalty kill and showed a tremendous work ethic on every shift. After a poor read by a Finnish defender, Brown was able to get a breakaway and finished it with a nice wrist shot. He sacrificed his body on the penalty kill with a diving block.
Andy Iles, Undrafted 2010: A guy who was overlooked mainly due to his size (5í9", 179 lbs.). Iles was very aggressive and challenged high on his crease which is what he needs to do to cut off angles as Finland scored on him after they forced him deeper into his crease. He showed quick, strong lateral movements to the point he slid across too much on a lateral pass.
Brock Nelson, New York Islanders: Nelson a first rounder of this yearís draft stuck out well. He moved well for a guy his size and was a physical force that exerted himself well. He was very hard for defenders to handle when he established himself in front of the net, and he coupled that with a hard-nosed game in the corners as well. He didnít exhibit any notable puck skills, although from the perimeter he made the basic plays and held onto the puck sufficiently.
Beau Bennett, Pittsburgh: Bennett stuck out to me and was very hard to contain along the perimeter, although the issue was and has been before with Beau that he almost always sticks to the perimeter. He showed soft hands and made it hard on defenders to get the puck from him. He anticipated the play well and always seemed to find ways to be around the puck.
Patrick Wey, Washington: He wasnít given a lot of ice time but held his own defensively. He closed his gaps well, played with a physical edge and showed decent puck distribution.
Adam Clendenning, 2011 Draft Eligible: Another 2011 guy who, while I tried to pay detailed attention to, simply didnít give me much notes. His skating looked fine although I saw nothing notable (good or bad). His puck skills and hockey sense stuck out to me as he was very calm with the puck, making heady and precise passes in all zones. On the power play he drew attackers to him and dished it off to an open winger.
Magnus Paajarvi, Sweden: One of the gameís elite prospects and it was apparent why here. If he ever got the puck in stride he couldnít be stopped with his 70 skating (on the 20-80 scale). Held the puck well on the left side and made good plays from awkward angles. He had a couple of bad turnovers, but overall offense was created whenever he was around the puck.
Adam Larsson, 2011 Draft Eligible: Larsson is in the running for the #1 spot in the 2011 Draft and will be looked to as a key guy for this Swedish Under-20 team. Larsson is never a guy who is going to do something really flashy, but his great hockey sense combined with a skill set that is all at least average, if not more, in every aspect of skating, puck skills, shot and physical game is what makes him so valuable. Heís so calm on the backend and even when under pressure you wouldnít be able to tell it from how he reacts and easily makes the right plays. He played all situations and logged a ton of minutes. Noticed he attempted high difficulty passes a tad too much.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Phoenix: Another high-end prospect on this Sweden club who stood out in the USA-Sweden game. He made long-distance passes look easy and created offense from multiple sources be it the break out, on the power play or by rushing the puck himself. He showed a physical edge to his game that I hadnít seen much of before and got a few roughing penalties. His great all-around skating let him stay with forwards well and he played well in his own end.
Calle Jarnkrok, Detroit: Jarnkrok had a great game versus the US and had quite a few quality scoring chances. He anticipated the play well and jumped at the puck when he got his chances. He showed quality puck skills and his speed created space for him. Calle sniped a goal past Zane Gothberg from the left circle.
Adam Almqvist, Detroit: Almqvist has created a fair amount of hype around him after he dominated the Swedish Elite League playoffs and the 7th round pick of Detroit in 2009 may have the critics saying ďNot again!Ē if he continues to develop well. A very calm puck handler with good hockey sense, he never stood out in a flashy manner but consistently made the right plays and was in good position defensively with his stick and body although he was just at times overmatched physically. After receiving a pass from Magnus Paajarvi in the high slot on the power play, he quickly fed it to his right to Anton Lander which led to a goal.
Robin Lehner, Ottawa: Lehner wasnít challenged much versus the US, but when he was he generally was up to the challenge. Very solid positioning and with his big frame he was able to swallow up a lot of the pucks thrown his way. Only major mishap I noticed was when tracking the puck laterally which Jeremy Morin one-timed, he didnít get his left pad down flat which resulted in the puck getting through his five-hole.
Gabriel Landeskog, 2011 Draft Eligible: Gabriel has made a name for himself aa a skilled player who has an edge of nastiness to his game. It showed in the camp as he was on the puck very aggressively and played people hard along the boards. He didnít show anything notable in terms of offensive puck skill as every time he got the puck he just made a beeline for the net or when off the puck he went to the front of the net.
Jacon Josefson, New Jersey: I didnít pay keen attention to Jacob but he looked solid in all aspects. He quietly went about his business and consistently made the right plays when either he was carrying the puck in, working it along the sideboards, passing it up or when he was off the puck altogether.
For Canadaís inter-squad game my notes werenít as in-depth so instead of profiles I decided to use bullet points aside from Couturier:
Sean Couturier, 2011 Draft Eligible: Sean was a guy I had my eye keen on due to the fact he, at the moment, is considered an elite 2011 prospect. He did his best working along the boards, coming out with the puck a good number of times and moving the puck off the boards. At one point on the rush he pulled off a fancy toe drag that left the defender flat-footed and let him get a straight run at the net. On the power play he fired a hard wrister past J.F. Berube from his weak side far off near the sideboards. He showed defensive awareness and hustled to get back. His weakness is his skating and while not bad, it is the most apparent thing that will keep him from going number one next summer.
- Seguin was criticized for his performance in the game, but in my opinion he gained the zone well and had a few chances, but when he looked to make plays there werenít any open options. He looked a little lackluster at times.
- Skinner showed a few displays of above-average skill, even at one point doing a 180 degree spin around a defender on the rush. Although, his physical game is still something to watch going forward as he can get mauled.
- Linden Vey impressed me as he was all over the play. He was able to pressure the opposition on the forecheck and he also showed good puck skills creating multiple chances.
- Mark Pysyk had a good game; he showed a physical edge, jumped into the offense occasionally and was solid defensively.
- Stefan Elliot showed some nice passes and got the puck on net, but had a few bad turnovers.
- Ryan Johansen showed some of the passing skills that made Columbus covet him at #4 by executing several passes of moderate difficulty.
- I wasnít impressed with Simon Depres, he had a few good rushes, but defensively he had quite a few lapses.
- Brandon Gormley had a nice, quiet game defensively, didnít produce offense, but he was good in his own end.
- I thought Dylan Olsen played bad; he had one brutal turnover in his own end on top of a couple of other bad decisions.
- Olivier Roy exhibited some of the athleticism and reflexes that make me believe he will be the #1 guy in Canada this winter.
- Jaden Schwartz and Ryan Howse played well together and moved the puck well. They never got many great chances, but they opened things up well and got pucks to the net.
- Louis Leblanc had a solid game with a couple of cheap goals to go along with a hard-working game on the forecheck and he was the engine of the best line of the night (Howden-Couturier-Leblanc).
For Finland I didnít take many notes because they didnít bring over many notable prospects such as Granlund or Pulkinnen. If you have any questions on a particular guy from Finland, Sweden, the USA or Canada that I didnít cover feel free to contact me and I can give you what I have. Iíll likely catch the rest of the camps at a later date.
Upcoming here at Puck Prospectus, Iím planning to rank the NHL farm systems, do a Top 50 for the 2011 Draft and post a list of the Top 50 Prospects from the upcoming Puck Prospectus Annual.
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Corey Pronman is an author of Puck Prospectus, runs the statistical hockey site The Hock Project and is the President of Premium Scouting. You can contact him at CPronman@gmail.com.
Corey Pronman is an author of Hockey Prospectus.
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