December 30, 2012
First, I would like to wish everyone a safe and happy 2013. Back in May of 2012, Dobberprospects.com was launched after weeks of making prospect lists and writing profiles. Since May, the site has grown massively in both content as well as the number of hockey fans coming to the site. On behalf of all of the staff here at DP, I want to thank you for making DP part of your online routine. We will grow bigger and better in 2013, as we continue our quest to be THE site for hockey prospect information.
Now, on to my random notes for the week, presented by prospect, in no particular order:
John Gibson (ANA) - Gibson was been spectacular for Team USA at the WJC, logging a shutout against Germany and holding high-powered offenses for Russia and Canada to just two goals each. Technically sound and seemingly unflappable, Gibson could be the starter Anaheim as soon as the 2014-15 season.
Malcolm Subban (BOS) - Staying with goaltenders, Subban has received mixed reviews at the WJC. Playing behind the very talented Canadian squad, Subban didn't see consistent action until the USA game, where he was fantastic. He is athletically gifted but doesn't always maintain his focus. Case in point- Subban received a tripping penalty in the game against the US, and threw his arms up and starting arguing with the ref while the play was continuing in his zone. It didn't cost him, but certainly could have.
Jacob Trouba (WPG) - Easily the best skater for the Americans through their first three games, Trouba is showing off the strides he has made offensively the past two years, scoring three goals so far. The scouts who projected Trouba as a stay-at-home guy in the NHL prior to last summer's draft (including myself) appear to have been wrong. Trouba has a hard, accurate shot and knows when to use it. He won't play four years at Michigan.
Nathan MacKinnon (2013) - It's hard to figure the people who are bemoaning MacKinnon's role, or lack thereof, on Canada's WJC team. Some even say he would have been better off not being selected. I disagree. MacKinnon is gaining valuable experience even if he isn't seeing much ice. He will be an important piece of next year's squad and will have had a taste of what it will be like. You really didn't expect him to be playing over Nugent-Hopkins, Strome or Huberdeau did you? All he is missing out on by being in Russia is putting up some points in junior hockey, which we already know he can do.
Seth Jones (2013) - Maybe the folks upset about MacKinnon are worried that he will lose the coveted first overall position to Jones. Jones is incredibly skilled and has enormous offensive upside. However, he doesn't seem to be a very instinctive player in my opinion. Example: With ten seconds left in the Canada game, he went way wide to take a shot from above the circle. Only two things can happen from that spot: you score a goal from an extremely unlikely angle or the puck comes out the other side and out of the zone, which is what happened. Jones also inexplicably stopped moving his feet a couple of times in one-on-one situations, leaving his goalie to face a close-in chance. He played very well against Germany, but may have been exposed a little in the third period against Russia and the game against Canada. Jones is a very good player with a ceiling as high as anyone out there, but may struggle defensively when he reaches the NHL.
Morgan Rielly (TOR) - Rielly is as good an offensive defenseman as there is in the junior age group. He reminds me of Bryan Berard at the same age, with Rielly perhaps a bit better defensively. Berard was a bit of a disappointment at the NHL level,but I don't think Rielly will be. He can take over a game with his skill, and needs to be owned in every keeper league.
John Gaudreau (CGY) - Gaudreau, who had been lighting it up for Boston College, has been MIA for the Americans at the WJC. He has zero points in three games and is minus -2. I don't remember him having any scoring chances at all against Russia or Canada. Much has been said about the lack of size up front for the US, and Gaudreau's play won't make it stop.
Rocco Grimaldi (FLA) - Grimaldi has been only slightly better than Gaudreau,with one assist in the three games so far. His speed has been noticeable, but even when moved up to play with Galchenyuk has failed to produce thus far.
Vince Trocheck (FLA) - One of the biggest surprises for the USA has been the play of Trocheck. He plays a solid all-around game and adds a little bit of offense. Trocheck may play his way to a third or fourth line position in Florida in the future, but isn't a fantasy prospect.
Jake McCabe (BUF) - McCabe has been a defensive standout for USA in the tournament, called on to play against the other team's top forwards and doing very well. He was especially good against Russia, suppressing Nail Yakupov throughout the game. McCabe won't be a point producer at the NHL level however.
Adam Clendening (CHI) - What's he doing here? Hey, I never promised this would be a WJC-only Ramblings. I've had the opportunity to watch Clendening play for Rockford and came away very impressed. The guy can quarterback a power-play and has excellent offensive instincts. Rockford pairs Clendening and Nick Leddy on the points and they are one of the best tandems in the AHL this season. If you're in a deep keeper league, grab Clendening before someone else does.
Tyler Johnson (TB) - Johnson continues to prove everyone wrong, scoring in bunches in the AHL and forcing his way to prospect status. Not big or super fast, Johnson does do one thing very well - produces. I suspect that once he gets an opportunity in Tampa he will continue to force the issue.
Alex Killorn (TB) - Those of you who follow me know that I've been a fan of Killorn. The Harvard alum would probably receive more attention in an organization that wasn't as prospect-rich as the Lightning. He is a very intelligent (no surprise) player and is equally adept at setting up plays as finishing them. The only thing that will possibly hold him back will be opportunity.
Austin Watson (NSH) - The 20-year old Watson is performing well in his rookie pro season in Milwaukee with nine goals and 16 points in 29 games. Once he fills out his 6'3 frame Watson will be a force.
That's all for today, thanks for reading. I'll be back with more prospect news and notes next year. Okay, later in the week.