Monday, 17 December 2012

Player Profile: Nikita Korostelev (Toronto Jr. Canadiens)

Nikita Korostelev
Toronto Jr. Canadiens
Year of Birth: 1997

Nikita Korostelev is testament to the range of improvement that can occur from the Bantam age group to Minor Midget. Korostelev seemed out of place at times last year playing with the 1996 Vaughan Kings but seems to have discovered how to better utilize his strengths as a forward. Not the fastest skater on the ice, nor the most agile, Korostelev has good balance making it difficult to separate him from the puck. Innate hockey sense allows Korostelev to visualize puck advancement along the length of the ice and this somewhat offsets his limited speed. Time spent on the power play is highly efficient as Korostelev uses one touch passes and rapid execution to move the puck while wielding a powerful one-time slap shot from the top of the face-off circle.  A right-handed shooter, his wrist shot and snap shot may be the hardest in the age group making him effective in open ice, yet Korostelev will not shy away from going to the slot or creating his own space. Korostelev displays strong puck skills, retrieving the disc from his feet and shielding it well in traffic while attempting near 90 degree turns into the slot to place a shot. Not surprisingly, Korostelev likely has one of the higher scoring chances / shift ratios among his peers. Improvements to his edges and 1st steps will likely vault Korostelev to the next level. Korostelev will find success at the next level lined up alongside a strong playmaking centre.
Twitter: @416_musings

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Player Profile: Travis Konecny (2013 OHL Draft)

Travis Konecny
Elgin Middlesex Chiefs
Year of Birth: 1997

The most consistently physical of the top tier skilled forwards from Ontario. Konecny is also the most engaged, from shift to shift, of the upper echelon. While his penchant to hit in all three zones may not translate at the junior level due to the limitations of his frame, the rest of his skill set does. An asset in tight checking games, Konecny possesses very quick hands and feet which allow him to disarm opponents in a stealthy manner, contributing to his defensive strength - an underrated aspect of his profile. Konecny anticipates the flow of the game very well and combines his speed, advanced puck skills, and a quick release to create scoring opportunities. His acceleration is fluid and among the best in the age group and is clearly evident when Konecny deliberately comes to a complete halt while face to face with a defender, only to fake one way, and speed by in another direction with no chance of being caught. The ability to find a second gear and strong edge work makes Konecny even more dangerous through the neutral zone as his vision of the ice permits him to skate up the middle through traffic as well as around defenders down low. The skill and the grit, which is a large part of Konecny’s impact in the game, makes him a truly unique prospect for the 2013 OHL Priority Selection.
twitter: @416_musings

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Player Profile: Sean Day (Detroit Compuware)

Sean Day
Detroit Compuware
Year of Birth: 1998

Sean Day appears to have distinguished himself from a very talented age group of US based talent. While often standing out in games against players a year older, it remains difficult to gauge the breadth of his advanced development.

How far ahead of the curve is Sean Day? What is his potential? The problem in answering questions like these is attached, in my opinion, to the lack of challenge presented to Day thus far.

In terms of size, Day fits in at the minor midget level and can play physical within shifts as the need arises, opting to effectively neutralize his assignment by pinning them against the boards. Defensively, Day is positionally sound and remarkably efficient using the appropriate technique for the situation. Perhaps the most immediate eye-catching aspect of Day’s play is his skating which can be considered elite for age groups higher than the one he currently plays at. Day is a fluid multi-directional skater and makes it look truly effortless. The practical upshot of this comes into consideration when it connects with his very high hockey sense – resulting in Day having to merely glide or coast into position while others around him race to do the same with the contrast being stark. Not surprisingly, Day plays a poised game, even to the point of giving the impression that he is playing with a younger age group.

Day executes crisp tape to tape passes but can comfortably rush the puck from one end of the ice to the other just as well, often times controlling the pace of the play around him. Day sees the ice well and also sees plays before they develop, akin to those who have mastered their level of competition. Strong stick handling skills allow for deft puck movement in tight quarters and especially in front of the opposing net. Also dangerous on the power play, minimal stick movement allows Day to shoot from the point while reducing tracking time for goaltenders.

The lack of trying competition for Day limits the scout’s ability to compare him accurately to his peers. The question to be asked, however, is how high do we have to look to find Sean Day’s ceiling?

Based on performance, Sean Day should have very little difficulty receiving OHL exceptional player status should he apply.
twitter: @416_musings