NHL Draft Stock Watch: CHL Top Prospects Game

by Eldon MacDonald (edited by @ChrisRalphTHW)

Travis Konecny
Travis Konecny: CHL Top Prospects game MVP (Photo: OHL Images)

BMO CHL Top Prospects Game

The single game events (e.g. BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game) or short series events (e.g. U18s) should not affect a player’s draft ranking dramatically because scouts use the whole season’s body of work to evaluate a prospect. At least this is what you hear getting pumped by the scouting fraternity. This statement is only partially true for two reasons:

  • The top guy, the guy who actually makes the final drafting day decision is usually there. While the decision maker may draft based on his scout’s recommendation, a prospect that performs at or above the scout’s assessment is likely to give more weight to that scout’s recommendation.
  • The top players are on the ice at the same time. This makes comparative evaluations between prospects much easier no matter how good you are as a scout or how much scouting you may have done on a prospect.

With this in mind, here are five players who may have helped themselves with their performance at the BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game and three players who may not have.

 

Five Players Who May Have Elevated Draft Stock

(NHL Central Scouting rank; THW War Room ranking)

NHL – 13th (E-Mac – 13th) – Timo Meier, Halifax, QMJHL (1g 2a +3)

Timo Meier
Timo Meier: The most underrated prospect in the 2015 NHL Draft class? (David Chan Photography)

Any scout who doubted whether Timo Meier was deserving of his high ranking (13th overall) got a strong message from Timo Meier during the game – doubt no more. This is what Timo showed:

  • Hard, accurate shot – One goal, one crossbar
  • Tapers (short and long) – Two tapers resulting in goals by Travis Konecny.
  • Hard forecheck
  • Energy and compete
  • Strong skating
  • Determined backcheck
  • Vision and creativity
  • Results and success – 6-0 win for his team.

In fact, the only doubt that Timo might have caused scouts to have with his performance was: “Is 13th a high enough ranking?”

 

NHL – 16th (E-Mac – 21st) – Thomas Chabot, Saint John, WHL (0g 0a +3)

Team Orr’s defense was just too much for Team Cherry – all six were excellent. However, the blueliner who probably gained the most with scouts was Thomas Chabot of the Saint John Sea Dogs. Thomas is a player that was little known and even less appreciated at the start of the season. He was reed-thin, he was not physical and could be hemmed in easily. Gradually that changed, Thomas started to show pro-type poise, his breakouts went from good to excellent, his game went from timid to game controlling. While he is still not physical (needs to add weight and strength) he no longer gets hemmed in the d-zone often and is the guy that you want to have the puck when you need to get it out of your zone. All of the above was evident at the Top Prospects Game and showed why Thomas Chabot has been such a big riser during the year.

 

NHL – 30th (E-Mac – 16th) – Travis Konecny, Ottawa, OHL (2g 1a +3)

What player helped his draft chances the most from participating in the BMO NHL/CHL Top Prospects Game? Could the answer be the player who won player of the game for Team Orr? Could it also be the guy who scored two goals and an assist in the game as well as laid out the most devastating hit (on Filip Chlapik)? Could it be the guy who finished first in off-ice testing and third in on-ice testing prior to the game? The answer is yes to all the above answers if your name is Travis Konecny. If they only had played the theme from “Rocky”, the game would have been perfect for Konecny. What I loved about Travis’s game was that it showed all the elements to his game that his followers have come to expect:

  • Leader – Captain of the Ottawa 67’s and Team Canada at the Ivan Hlinka Tournament last summer
  • Difference maker – Two goals and one assist
  • Skating prowess – Acceleration and top speed
  • Shot – Hard, accurate, quick and deadly
  • Willingness to get involved – Watch his hit on Filip Chlapik
  • Motor always running and wheels a-turning

 

NHL – 36th (E-Mac – 75th) – Guillaume Brisebois, Acadie-Bathurst, QMJHL (0g 0a +1)

Guillaume Brisebois is a player I really liked from the Ivan Hlinka tournament this past summer. He was poised, safe with the puck, did not make any mistakes, did not try to exceed his abilities, made the safe and simple play every time. However, back in the QMJHL, he was the best or close to best player on a not so good team – the Acadie-Bathurst Titan. Whether it was because he was asked to do too much or he took upon himself or partly both, he tried to achieve or play beyond his abilities and consequently made more mistakes than he should have. He does not possess high-end offensive capabilities and is not particularly physical. He possesses decent size at 6’2, is agile, skates well, has good vision and defensive acumen so he can be a very serviceable second pairing guy. Paired with Nicolas Meloche for the game Guillaume reminded me of the things I really liked about him from the summer and made me re-evaluate the moderate ranking I currently have for him. Guillaume has a good chance of being drafted in the second round.

 

NHL – 104th (E-Mac – 82nd) – Brendan Guhle, Prince Albert, WJHL (0g 0a -1)

The player that improved his draft stock the most not named Travis Konency was Brendan Guhle. Not only did he display some effortless skating and nice rushes during the game, he also came fifth in the on-ice testing before the game as well as fourth in the off-ice testing. Watch the video of the on-ice testing and you will see how effortless he looks compared to some of the more highly touted prospects. Brendan seems to have taken his game to a new level since his mentor, Winnipeg Jets prospect Josh Morrissey, was traded to the Kelowna Rockets. If he can continue to progress, the limit for Brendan could be quite high – 2nd round. I say 2nd round with some trepidation because last year’s late riser, Philadelphia Flyers prospect Travis Sanheim, ended up 17th overall.

Honourable mentions would include Connor McDavid (how much more can he impress), Ivan Provorov, Ryan Pilon and Jérémy Roy.

 

Three Players Who May Have Hurt Their Draft Stock

NHL – 22nd (E-Mac – 24th) – Daniel Sprong, Charlottetown, QMJHL (0g 0a -1)

Daniel Sprong is a player with great potential. He has drawn comparisons to Patrick Kane and Phil Kessel. However, all the things in Daniel’s game that scouts have concerns about were amplified in the BMO NHL/CHL Top Prospects Game. In particular, the team aspect to his game was elusive – most of his passes went awry, he just didn’t fit in with his teammates, he just didn’t have near the performance a player with his physical talent should hope to achieve. Daniel will have to improve the team aspect to his game (which I believe is a mental thing and not a physical thing) if he wishes to continue his high standing in the draft.

 

NHL – 39th (E-Mac – 56th) – Adam Musil, Red Deer, WHL (0g 0a -2)

Musil is in the middle of a big time slump offensively with just nine points in his last twenty-six WHL games. The BMO NHL/CHL Top Prospects game was just another game in that slump. Adam seemed to start the year with all the qualities of a potential first rounder – size (6’3, 208), physicality, forechecking, pedigree (his father, Frantisek Musil, spent 14 seasons in the NHL), results (17 points in his first 15 games). Adam remains an intriguing prospect, but will have to get it back together if he wishes to maintain his high draft standing.

https://twitter.com/DubFromAbove/status/556672859938906112

 

NHL – 66 (E-Mac – 66) – Yakov Trenin, Gatineau, QMJHL (0g 0a -2)

Yakov Trenin is a player beginning to fall out of favour in THW’s Draft War Room. He was practically invisible during the game and when you did see him he was a step behind the action. He also appeared to be one of the slowest players in the on-ice testing prior to the game. Yakov needs to shoot more as well. However, his coach (Gatineau and Team Canada Coach, Benoit Groulx) still speaks very highly of him so we should not write him off just yet.

 

Game Highlights

Video link: here