Wednesday, January 28, 2015

1994's Of Interest

Each and every year we see NHL teams reach out and sign previously un-owned 20 year olds who are finishing up their junior hockey careers. These players include some “late bloomers” and guys who were previously drafted by NHL teams, but ended up being unsigned at 19.

While not all 20 year olds end up going to play pro hockey the year after they graduate junior, most of the good ones at least get the opportunity to try out in a lower-tiered professional league if they have that desire.

So, who are some of the WHL players who might be drawing interest from professional clubs, including NHL organizations? Let’s take a look at a few.

Travis Brown – LD – Victoria Royals – 6’2 – 198

Brown was previously drafted in the 5th round of the 2012 NHL Draft by the Chicago Blackhawks, going unsigned at the beginning of last summer. Brown is a big body who skates well and owns a wide array of offensive skills. In fact, he currently leads all WHL defencemen in scoring with 47 points in 48 games. His 16 goals are also 4 better than any other blueliner in the league. I had him rated as my 27th best WHL player ahead of his first draft year in 2012. If I was pegging one WHL player to be signed by an NHL team in the next couple of months, Brown would be the guy I would bet on.

Brandon Magee – RW – Victoria Royals – 5’9 – 185

Only 7 players in the WHL currently have a point-per-game average over 1.50 in 2014-15 and Magee is among them. The product of Edmonton might not be the tallest player but he possesses a low centre of gravity and has a dynamic skillset. Magee is also known to mix it up and play with an edge, with the disciplinary evidence speaking for itself (he has missed 19 games the last two years due to suspension). He’s not afraid to get under the opposing team’s skin, to put it nicely. I had him rated as my 39th best WHL player in his first year of NHL Draft eligibility back in 2012. He attended rookie camp with the Calgary Flames this past fall.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

WHL Lines - Jan. 28


These lines provide an outline of each team’s depth chart through player usage.  




They are not projections. They are based on the actual lines used in the team’s last game played.  










Note that the * signifies a repeated trend. If the star is located at the top of a team’s header it signifies

an identical lineup has been used for at least two games in a row. A star beside a specific line


or defensive pairing means the group has been together for at least two consecutive games, with the

number beside the star saying exactly how many games it’s been.




“Others” are players who were not in the lineup last game due to being injured, scratched or recently traded.
Questions and comments are greatly appreciated. Reach me at cnickolet@gmail.com.























BRANDON (Last updated Jan. 28)  















Forwards















#13 Bukarts (95) #23 McGauley (95) #22 Shmyr (97)





#18 Klimchuk (95) #19 Patrick (98) #15 Quenneville (94) *3




#28 Lisoway (95) #27 Duke (96) #21 Coulter (96)





#16 Kaspick (98) #25 Campbell (96)














Other F: 
#8 Hawryluk (96) #17 Quenneville (96)















Defence
















#9 Provorov (97) #6 Pilon (96) *8





#5 Waltz (95) #7 Roy (94) *29





#12 Gow (94) #20 Erkamps (95) *8





#29 Matsuba (97)














Other D:
#10 Clague (98) #3 Taraschuk (97)















Goalies
















#33 Papirny (96)







#35 Moodie (95)














Notes:  Made their first lineup changes in the past 3 games.





17-27-15 have been together for 11 of the past 19.





17-19-8 have been together for 4 of the past 8 games.





9-6 have been together for 23 straight when both are dressed.















HC: Kelly McCrimmon







GM: Kelly McCrimmon







Sunday, January 25, 2015

WHL Lines - Jan. 26


These lines provide an outline of each team’s depth chart through player usage.  




They are not projections. They are based on the actual lines used in the team’s last game played.  










Note that the * signifies a repeated trend. If the star is located at the top of a team’s header it signifies

an identical lineup has been used for at least two games in a row. A star beside a specific line


or defensive pairing means the group has been together for at least two consecutive games, with the

number beside the star saying exactly how many games it’s been.




“Others” are players who were not in the lineup last game due to being injured, scratched or recently traded.
Questions and comments are greatly appreciated. Reach me at cnickolet@gmail.com.























BRANDON (Last updated Jan. 25)  *2















Forwards















#22 Shmyr (97) #23 McGauley (95) #27 Duke (96) *2




#18 Klimchuk (95) #19 Patrick (98) #15 Quenneville (94) *2




#13 Bukarts (95) #17 Quenneville (96) #21 Coulter (96) *2




#28 Lisoway (95) #25 Campbell (96) #16 Kaspick (98) *5












Other F: 
#8 Hawryluk (96)
















Defence
















#9 Provorov (97) #6 Pilon (96) *7





#5 Waltz (95) #7 Roy (94) *28





#12 Gow (94) #20 Erkamps (95) *7












Other D: #29 Matsuba (97) #10 Clague (98) #3 Taraschuk (97)















Goalies
















#33 Papirny (96)







#35 Moodie (95)














Notes:  Have used the same lineup in back to back games.





17-27-15 have been together for 11 of the past 18.





17-19-8 have been together for 4 of the past 7 games.





9-6 have been together for 22 straight when both are dressed.















HC: Kelly McCrimmon







GM: Kelly McCrimmon







Saturday, January 24, 2015

WHL Lines - Jan. 25


These lines provide an outline of each team’s depth chart through player usage.  




They are not projections. They are based on the actual lines used in the team’s last game played.  










Note that the * signifies a repeated trend. If the star is located at the top of a team’s header it signifies

an identical lineup has been used for at least two games in a row. A star beside a specific line


or defensive pairing means the group has been together for at least two consecutive games, with the

number beside the star saying exactly how many games it’s been.




“Others” are players who were not in the lineup last game due to being injured, scratched or recently traded.
Questions and comments are greatly appreciated. Reach me at cnickolet@gmail.com.























BRANDON (Last updated Jan. 25)  *2















Forwards















#22 Shmyr (97) #23 McGauley (95) #27 Duke (96) *2




#18 Klimchuk (95) #19 Patrick (98) #15 Quenneville (94) *2




#13 Bukarts (95) #17 Quenneville (96) #21 Coulter (96) *2




#28 Lisoway (95) #25 Campbell (96) #16 Kaspick (98) *5












Other F: 
#8 Hawryluk (96)
















Defence
















#9 Provorov (97) #6 Pilon (96) *7





#5 Waltz (95) #7 Roy (94) *28





#12 Gow (94) #20 Erkamps (95) *7












Other D: #29 Matsuba (97) #10 Clague (98) #3 Taraschuk (97)















Goalies
















#33 Papirny (96)







#35 Moodie (95)














Notes:  Have used the same lineup in back to back games.





17-27-15 have been together for 11 of the past 18.





17-19-8 have been together for 4 of the past 7 games.





9-6 have been together for 22 straight when both are dressed.















HC: Kelly McCrimmon







GM: Kelly McCrimmon







WHL Lines - Jan. 24


These lines provide an outline of each team’s depth chart through player usage.  




They are not projections. They are based on the actual lines used in the team’s last game played.  










Note that the * signifies a repeated trend. If the star is located at the top of a team’s header it signifies

an identical lineup has been used for at least two games in a row. A star beside a specific line


or defensive pairing means the group has been together for at least two consecutive games, with the

number beside the star saying exactly how many games it’s been.




“Others” are players who were not in the lineup last game due to being injured, scratched or recently traded.
Questions and comments are greatly appreciated. Reach me at cnickolet@gmail.com.























BRANDON (Last updated Jan. 24)  















Forwards















#22 Shmyr (97) #23 McGauley (95) #27 Duke (96)





#18 Klimchuk (95) #19 Patrick (98) #15 Quenneville (94)





#13 Bukarts (95) #17 Quenneville (96) #21 Coulter (96)





#28 Lisoway (95) #25 Campbell (96) #16 Kaspick (98) *4












Other F: 
#8 Hawryluk (96)
















Defence
















#9 Provorov (97) #6 Pilon (96) *6





#5 Waltz (95) #7 Roy (94) *27





#12 Gow (94) #20 Erkamps (95) *6












Other D: #29 Matsuba (97) #10 Clague (98) #3 Taraschuk (97)















Goalies
















#33 Papirny (96)







#35 Moodie (95)














Notes:  8 remains out with injury. Plenty of shuffling among their F group.





17-27-15 have been together for 11 of the past 17.





17-19-8 have been together for 4 of the past 6 games.





9-6 have been together for 21 straight when both are dressed.















HC: Kelly McCrimmon







GM: Kelly McCrimmon







Friday, January 23, 2015

My Scouting Philosophies And Checklist

I often get asked questions about scouting hockey. How do you get into it? How do you know what to look for when you are watching players?

While things obviously change depending on the level of the game you are scouting, I have gone ahead and formed a rough checklist of things that weigh into my decision making when it comes to analyzing a potential NHL prospect. The decision on how to weigh these specific traits, skills and statistical factors has been slowly tweaked and altered over the last number of years as my opinion on various parts of the game change.

That’s something I would stress for someone looking to improve as an analyst of almost anything, sports included. Don’t be afraid to change your views, but only do it for the right reasons after seeing things from a different perspective. Always look to improve the way you think and subsequently, the way you make decisions.

Before I get into my “checklist”, I will provide a bit of a rough idea of why I feel like I have such a strong draw towards scouting.

Like many Canadians, I grew up playing hockey. My dad and grandpa were huge hockey fans and they had me skating by the time I was around 4 years old. After a few years shuffling between forward and defence, I gravitated towards becoming a goalie. I made the switch to the position around the time I was 9 or 10 and I believe that’s at the basis of my drive to scout the game. I think the fact that I was constantly watching and analyzing the game from back in my own crease is at the root of my scouting passion. I always knew the strengths and weaknesses of my teammates and liked to do the same type of analysis of all the teams we played. I knew which guys in the league had the best shot, which player was the fastest skater, and which one I didn’t want to see coming in on me for a breakaway.

Eventually I started to watch more hockey on TV and those same thought processes morphed into me taking notes on players I saw, keeping track of trades that NHL teams were making, following how certain teams attempted to build a championship calibre squad. 

Fast forward to this point and I continue to love analyzing players and attempting to quantify which ones might end up being the best in 5 or 10 years time, and ultimately, why they might be the best player. My desire is to work for an NHL team in a scouting capacity, so hopefully that’s the next step in the process.

Thanks for allowing me to ramble for a bit and with that, here are the qualities I look for when scouting a potential NHL draft pick.
The basics:






 The advanced:









Goalies:




When watching games, I take a lot of notes. I probably write more during a game than any scout I see at the rink from a game to game basis. I do it because I think it's important. It's been proven that a person's brain can only process so much data, often forgetting plenty of minor details while remembering the "bigger moments". With that it mind, I find it very important to right brief notes on individual players at nearly every stoppage. Keeping tabs on the little things can make a big difference. 

After all this is said and done, the goal becomes finding the proper balance for each item in the above checklist during the search to find the best players for an NHL organization.

Thanks for reading and I appreciate any and all feedback.


Thursday, January 22, 2015

WHL Lines - Jan. 23


These lines provide an outline of each team’s depth chart through player usage.  




They are not projections. They are based on the actual lines used in the team’s last game played.  










Note that the * signifies a repeated trend. If the star is located at the top of a team’s header it signifies

an identical lineup has been used for at least two games in a row. A star beside a specific line


or defensive pairing means the group has been together for at least two consecutive games, with the

number beside the star saying exactly how many games it’s been.




“Others” are players who were not in the lineup last game due to being injured, scratched or recently traded.
Questions and comments are greatly appreciated. Reach me at cnickolet@gmail.com.























BRANDON (Last updated Jan. 18)  















Forwards















#22 Shmyr (97) #23 McGauley (95) #18 Klimchuk (95) *2




#17 Quenneville (96) #19 Patrick (98) #21 Coulter (96)





#13 Bukarts (95) #27 Duke (96) #15 Quenneville (94)





#28 Lisoway (95) #25 Campbell (96) #16 Kaspick (98) *3












Other F: 
#8 Hawryluk (96)
















Defence
















#9 Provorov (97) #6 Pilon (96) *5





#5 Waltz (95) #7 Roy (94) *26





#12 Gow (94) #20 Erkamps (95) *5












Other D: #29 Matsuba (97) #10 Clague (98) #3 Taraschuk (97)















Goalies
















#33 Papirny (96)







#35 Moodie (95)














Notes:  13 came in for 8, who was out with injury.






17-27-15 have been together for 11 of the past 16.





17-19-8 have been together for 4 of the past 5 games.





9-6 have been together for 20 straight when both are dressed.





Acquired Gow from Spokane on Jan. 5.
















HC: Kelly McCrimmon







GM: Kelly McCrimmon







Wednesday, January 21, 2015

WHL Lines - Jan. 22


These lines provide an outline of each team’s depth chart through player usage.  




They are not projections. They are based on the actual lines used in the team’s last game played.  










Note that the * signifies a repeated trend. If the star is located at the top of a team’s header it signifies

an identical lineup has been used for at least two games in a row. A star beside a specific line


or defensive pairing means the group has been together for at least two consecutive games, with the

number beside the star saying exactly how many games it’s been.




“Others” are players who were not in the lineup last game due to being injured, scratched or recently traded.
Questions and comments are greatly appreciated. Reach me at cnickolet@gmail.com.























BRANDON (Last updated Jan. 18)  















Forwards















#22 Shmyr (97) #23 McGauley (95) #18 Klimchuk (95) *2




#17 Quenneville (96) #19 Patrick (98) #21 Coulter (96)





#13 Bukarts (95) #27 Duke (96) #15 Quenneville (94)





#28 Lisoway (95) #25 Campbell (96) #16 Kaspick (98) *3












Other F: 
#8 Hawryluk (96)
















Defence
















#9 Provorov (97) #6 Pilon (96) *5





#5 Waltz (95) #7 Roy (94) *26





#12 Gow (94) #20 Erkamps (95) *5












Other D: #29 Matsuba (97) #10 Clague (98) #3 Taraschuk (97)















Goalies
















#33 Papirny (96)







#35 Moodie (95)














Notes:  13 came in for 8, who was out with injury.






17-27-15 have been together for 11 of the past 16.





17-19-8 have been together for 4 of the past 5 games.





9-6 have been together for 20 straight when both are dressed.





Acquired Gow from Spokane on Jan. 5.
















HC: Kelly McCrimmon







GM: Kelly McCrimmon