Game Report: Nov 25 – Everett Silvertips at Portland Winterhawks

Portland Winterhawks

Game Report: Nov 25 – Everett Silvertips at Portland Winterhawks

My quick thoughts on the 2000 and 2001 born NHL Draft Eligible Players’ performance on Sunday night:

Everett Silvertips Forwards:

#7 Martin Fasko-Rudas – Opened the scoring by taking a pass at the top of the circles and drove to the net. He used his body well to protect the puck, then his speed and reach to get around Shane Farkas. His second goal he stripped the puck from Farkas behind the net and wrapped the puck around for the goal. He got into position using his top-end speed to beat the Portland defense to the icing line. Martin doesn’t play on the penalty kill, but is the first forward on the ice after a penalty. I was impressed by his quickness and his hands in tight spaces. The edge work he displays shows potential to play at the next level.

#9 Dawson Butt – Dawson is hard in the corners and positions his body well to shield the puck. His defensive positioning shows his hockey IQ. He played several shifts in the first period against Cody Glass and Joachim Blichfeld’s line; he didn’t look out of place or lost. The two signed NHL players use a lot of area passes to create time and space. Dawson was able to track the play and not be caught out of position. Several times tonight he showed his agitator side and was able to get under several player’s skin after the whistle.  

Reece Vitelli (Everett Silvertips/Christopher Mast)

#26 Reece Vitelli – Vitelli was perhaps the faster skater on the ice tonight. Reece’s quick feet and  first three strides allow him to win puck races more often than not. The top-end speed was on full display in the first period when he beat the Portland forecheck. He took a bump pass at the red line in full stride. Reece continued in a 2-on-1, looked off the pass, and then fired a wrist shot glove side for his second goal of the season. I counted two icing calls beaten out by his skating ability. The most notable aspect of Vitelli’s skating is he gets faster when carrying the puck, there is no break in the stride. Reece was able to be bumped off the puck along the wall, but as with most younger players, the strength hasn’t developed yet against the older players.  

#27 Jalen Price – I was not able to track enough of his shifts to offer a fair assessment of his play

#28 Conrad Mitchell – Did not play; scratched

#39 Gage Goncalves – I was not able to track enough of his shifts to offer a fair assessment of his play

Everett Silvertips Defensemen:

#4 Ian Walker – One word to describe his game, reliable. I didn’t see any flashy or special plays, but every time he was on the ice, the right play was made. His defensive positioning was perfect and wasn’t afraid to play the body. Ian clears the front of the net for his goalie to see the puck. After watching several shifts in a row, at no point did he lose a puck battle or foot race. Everett has a few defenders who contribute offensively, but Walker isn’t known for his offensive ability. His hockey IQ though keeps him in the right place to keep pucks in the offensive zone though.

#24 Gianni Fairbrother – Did not play; scratched

Everett Silvertips Goalie:

#32 Dustin Wolf – Dustin was rated a “C” prospect in the latest NHL Central Scouting Players to Watch List. First goal was from the top of the circles and beat him on the glove side, he was leaning to the right as the shot went left. Good coverage down low and works hard to see around the screens presented in front of him. Wolf’s puck playing ability is one of the best in the WHL for goalie. In the second period he caught Portland on a line change sending a pass to the far blue line. The pass allowed Everett a 2-on-1 offensively.  Portland had two breakaways on Sunday and Wolf stopped both with his blocker. Dustin made a spectular diving save on Blichfeld on the power play when he stopped the puck with what appeared to be the inside of his blocker hand. I interviewed a couple of Winterhawks after the game and they mentioned in order to beat Wolf there needs to be traffic in front; if he can see the shot, he will make the save.

Portland Winterhawks Forwards:

#7 Michal Kvasnica – Tonight, and yesterday against Seattle, Kvasnica started playing the body significantly more than he had earlier in the season. His shot is heavy, but takes him a little while to get the shot to the net. His accuracy will need to continue to improve as he gets older, his shot location has been in the center of the net lately. Kvasnica is still adjusting to the North American game, and is working on getting the front of net more often. As a bigger bodied player, he can out muscle players in front of the net. In the second period a loose puck ended up at his feet, he showed poise with the puck, took two strides towards the center of the ice, and beat Wolf for his second goal of the WHL season.

#12 Reece Newkirk – Reece was rated a “C” prospect in the latest NHL Central Scouting Players to Watch List. Reece wasn’t rated on the initial report; however, a strong first 25 games for 17-year-old Moose Jaw native got his name added to the list. Newkirk has been moved around Portland’s lineup this season. Reece has played top line with Vegas 1st Round Pick Cody Glass and San Jose Sharks’ signed prospect Joachim Blichfeld. Newkirk proved he could play with NHL talent as he put up significant numbers with Glass and Blichfeld. Some of his critics pointed out the only reason he was producing was a result of playing on the top line. However, Newkirk has eight goals assisted by Glass and six from anyone else. Depending on who was on the ice recently determines if Newkirk is in the first or second pair of forwards on the penalty kill. This includes the 5-on-3 kill. Portland uses two defensemen on the two-man disadvantage and Reece doesn’t look out of place. Newkirk was 3/3 on first-time clears when he had the opportunity.

Jaydon Dureau (Portland Winterhawks/Ben Ludeman)

#22 Jaydon Dureau – Dureau isn’t a flashy player, but is one who competes for every second of his shift. Jaydon’s backcheck was the strongest of any player on the ice tonight. In the second period a Silvertip was alone in the slot and Dureau hustled back preventing a sure goal. He is a smaller forward but isn’t afraid to use his body in the corners or along the wall. Tonight he protected the puck for several seconds before showing his agility in tight to get away from his man. Dureau spun towards the net and sent a cross-ice pass to Jarvis. As Dureau adds muscle more of these plays will be sure to develop.  

#26 Mason Mannek – Mason is a high-energy, puck retriever with enough offense ability to contribute on the scoresheet. Playing right wing on Portland’s second line positions him well to receive stretch passes. In the first period he took a stretch pass and broke in down the left wall beating the defenseman to the faceoff dot. He waited patiently for the play to develop, and kept his head up. Mannek spotted defenseman Jared Freadrich arriving late in the zone and delivered a pass through three players perfectly on the tape of Freadrich. The assist was Mannek’s fifth this season.

#37 Haydn Delorme – Did not play; scratched

Portland Winterhawks Defensemen:

#2 Kade Nolan – Kade has rotated in and out of the Portland lineup as three defensemen are competing for one spot. Nolan, Nick Perna, and Nick Cicek each see the ice depending on the matchup and Mike Johnston and Kyle Gustafson’s decision. Nolan, like Walker, isn’t a flashy player with or without the puck. Kade’s strongest aspect to his game is his puck retrievals and first pass ability. Nolan’s pivots and edge work continue to improve as he sees more game action. Portland was pinned in their own zone several times throughout the night, but he was calm under pressure. The first pass for Nolan is easier for him when he is on the strong side. When he is asked to make a backhand pass, Kade has a tendency to want to skate the puck out of the zone instead.

#3 Nick Perna – Did not play; scratched

John Ludvig (Portland Winterhawks/Ben Ludeman)

#15 John Ludvig – Ludvig was rated a “C” prospect in the latest NHL Central Scouting Players to Watch list. Prior to the season he attended the Boston Bruins development camp. During his time with the Bruins he played some forward in addition to his normal defensive position. Ludvig has a solid frame and leans on players in the corners, along the wall, and in front of the net. John is without a doubt the strongest Winterhawks defenseman, and uses it to his advantage more often than not. Tonight he received a minor penalty for cross checking, a player without the upper body strength of Ludvig won’t get called. However, due to his strength, the Silvertips player wasn’t able to stay on his feet. John wasn’t pleased with the call and ended up being assessed a ten minute misconduct in addition. While shot blocks aren’t an officially kept statistic in the WHL, Ludvig leads the teams in shot blocks. I’ve interviewed the majority of the Winterhawks and each says John is fearless when it comes to blocking shots. Blichfeld calls him a “steel door” because nothing gets by him and the puck “just bounces off him causing no damage.”

#29 Nick Cicek – Did not play; scratched

#58 Clay Hanus – Hanus was rated a “C” prospect in the initial NHL Central Scouting Players to Watch list but wasn’t rated in the most recent publication. Clay worked hard in the corners and positions himself well. He was defending against some of the bigger Silvertips so lost some puck battles. As he adds some muscle to his frame, he will won more of those situations. Hanus is showing the ability to skate the puck out of the zone on the breakouts just as much as making an outlet pass. Clay wheels around the net and makes a jump cut in the neutral zone to create additional space for himself. Last weekend this move resulted in his second goal of the season. Hanus’ offensive hockey IQ is perhaps the strongest component of his game. He plays on the second power play unit and helps direct traffic from the blue line. He needs to continue working on getting shot by the first forward, but when the puck gets through, there are often rebound chances for Portland. While the offensive numbers aren’t showing on the boxscore, when Hanus is on the ice, the puck is more often than not in the offensive zone.