Kaedan Korczak (NHL Draft 2019) – Versatile two-way defenseman who was on the Rockets second power play unit and top penalty killing. Matched up against Trey Fix-Wolansky and did an excellent job keeping him to the perimeter and limiting his ability to drag pucks to scoring areas. Korczak intuitiveness in his defensive zone was on full display, he boxes out in front of his net and limited scoring chances. Didn’t over complicate retrievals in his defensive zone, would put pucks off the glass whenever he felt pressure mount to ensure pucks got out. Made some nice reads, generated the game winning goal by stepping up in the neutral zone to cut off the outlet pass and quickly transitioned the puck back to offensive before Nolan Foote scored a few passes late. Good positioning in his defensive zone. Korczak looks like he will be a dominant player next year in the WHL, his footspeed lack’s first round requirements but he makes up for that by putting himself between the puck and man in foot races to ensure he wins the battle. His puck discipline wasn’t great, had a few turnovers that caught him out of position. Overall I thought Korczak looked like a high second to potential late first round calibre player.
Lassi Thompson (NHL Draft 2019) – A better puck moving defenseman than Korczak, could make complicated passes out of his zone with ease. I liked his patience in transition, didn’t force pucks and played with efficiency. Quick nifty release on the blue line, would throw quick shots on net. Good gap control in his defensive zone, got caught puck watching a few times and shying away from physical battles. Versatile skating abilities but isn’t strong on his edge’s. Would allow clean zone entries for the Oil Kings and didn’t close in puck carrier’s. Thompson has some intriguing offensive tools but hasn’t really translated to the North American defensive zone game. Doesn’t show a lot of urgency. Value him as a late second to middle third round pick.
Liam Kindree (NHL Draft 2019) – Had a goal in this game. Kindree is a dominate forward who exploit his small frame and slippery nature to move through traffic in the offensive zone. Constantly moving his feet and setting himself up in shooting positions. Has a quick receive and shot release that stunned Bilous’s timing on his goal. Slick puck handling and intuitive offensive play. Likes having the puck on his stick off the rush, more of a playmaker than a scorer. Clever with time and space.
Roman Basran (NHL Draft 2019) – See’s the puck well and displayed a bit of an old school kind of net minder. Mobile in his crease and does whatever it takes to stop pucks. High end reflexes and dynamic footwork. Wasn’t always square to the shot but made stops by throwing himself in front of pucks. Able to find pucks around his net. Didn’t do a good job with rebound control, had several scramble pucks around his crease.
Nolan Foote (NHL Draft 2019) – Blends his strength, scoring, vision, and structured game into a dangerous offensive presence. Elite from the ringette line down, has outstanding vision and puck control from below the goal line and could fend off pressure with a strong lower body base and puck protection. Good body positioning in the offensive zone, puts himself in soft spots and utilized his quick release that Bilous would struggle with. Picks up errant passes, controls the pace when he has the puck and likes to slow down the game. Foote is still in that late first round for me, I was more impressed by Kaedan Korczak in this ne.
Libor Zabransky (NHL Draft 2019) – Only noticed him in the offensive zone. Loved throwing pucks on net from the blue line but was wide on every one I noticed. Cut’s pucks off on the blue line and can drive possession. Compact skater that’s explosive with his first three steps, makes him tough to beat in puck races. Liked his competitive nature.
Leif Mattson (NHL Draft 2019) – Had a goal and an assist in this game, Mattson combined with Nolan Foote to really break down the Oil Kings defensive zone coverage. Displayed offensive prowess with his one dimensional game. Mattson adhered to the perimeter, utilizing his vision from below the goal line and along the wall to create scoring opportunities. Opportunistic in transition, would accelerate up ice when his team gained possession. Works hard in battles along the wall and can roll off the cycle into a productive shooting lane. Mattson’s skating could still use some fine tuning, has a bit knock knee’d and doesn’t generate a lot of acceleration in his stride but can change direction quickly. I was impressed by Mattson’s positioning in the offensive zone.
Braydyn Chizen (Minnesota Wild – 7th Round) – Chizen’s skating has improved since I had last seen him. His long legs and long stick were utilized to its fullest as he defended the rush well. A stay at home defenseman, doesn’t get caught out of position. Didn’t really notice him that much outside of that. Ties up sticks in front of his net. Was scrambly in his defensive zone and would throw pucks to the wall when pressure mounted. Missed on a few simple outlet passes that would tie up the forward’s momentum.
Edmonton Oil Kings
Matthew Robertson (NHL Draft 2019) – One of the better viewings I have seen from Robertson this season. He played a conservative game, didn’t try transporting the puck as much but instead made crisp precise passes which were in full display in his transitional game. Versatility, played on Edmonton’s top power play and penalty killing units. A structured defensive game, had better awareness in front of his net and cut off a few passes cross ice with a good stick. Threw more pucks on net from the blue line and showed confidence walking the line and creating shooting lanes for himself. Stride starting to look more powerful, helping him win puck races off the blue line or in defensive retrievals.
Trey Fix Wolansky (Columbus Blue Jackets – 7th round) – Oil Kings most noticeable forward, Wolansky continues to drive the offense of Edmonton. Stuck to a perimeter game, threading passes through coverage and generating scoring opportunities with his vision. Had a couple of shots but only got one through on net. Wolansky had several clean zone exits to clean zone entries, playing with efficiency. Didn’t generate a point in this game.
Vladimir Alistrov (NHL Draft 2019) – Displayed a bit more confidence with the puck where he would be a bit more creative with his puck handling. Had a few clean zone entries, out in the final minute of the game. Starting to be a bit more discipline under pressure. Stride continues to look more powerful game to game.
Jalen Luypen (NHL Draft 2020) – Best viewing I have had on Luypen in the WHL, played a regular shift as the third or fourth centerman. Luypen was engaged in all three zones’ and applied pressure to puck carriers in the defensive zone. Played high in the offensive zone, reads developing chances and would look to creep himself in the slot. Was out to take the draw in the last two minutes when they were down by two.