Ryan's been pretty busy lately, but he's still a good enough guy to supply us with his thoughts after seeing the Saginaw Spirit and Windsor Spitfires in Sarnia over the past couple of weeks. I for one always enjoy reading another perspective on things.
The thoughts on Saginaw come from games on the 30th of October and 5th of November. Saginaw dominated both games, winning the first game by a score of 6-1 and the second by a score of 4-1.
The thoughts on Windsor come from the Spitfires 7-1 victory over Sarnia last night (Friday, November 20).
After Sarnia started the year so strongly (much to the surprise of many), they've really cooled off lately. The Sting are only 2-8 in their last 10, winless in their last four, and now find themselves out of the playoffs in the Western Conference. Is it a slump or a return to reality for a young and rebuilding Sarnia hockey team. On a positive note, at least Ryan has a lot to tell us about the other team's top offensive players!
Here are Ryan's reports...
Sarnia vs. Saginaw - Oct/30/09 and Nov/5/09
T.J. Brodie - #79 - D - YOB: 1990 - 6’1” - 173lbs.
NHL: 4th Round - 114th Overall by Calgary in 2007
Report: Oct/30/09 & Nov/5/09: Brodie displays great speed even late in shifts and in games. On multiple occasions he displayed a very active stick applying pressure and forcing turnovers. Brodie appears to have off the charts hockey sense, and could be considered one of the best defencemen playing in the OHL this year. Brodie could work on being more physical and didn’t appear to have the hardest shot, but neither are things I’d consider to be flaws in his game.
(1G, 2A, +4, 2PIM in 2 Games)
Josh Shalla - #25 - LW - YOB: 1991 - 6’1” - 187lbs.
NHL: Eligible in 2010
Report: Oct/30/09 & Nov/5/09: Shalla is eligible for this year’s draft. Shalla has an absolute laser of a shot. He either seems to score, just miss by inches, or force the goaltender to make a great save every time he puts the puck towards the net. Shalla also worked hard in the defensive zone. However his transition from one to the other (offense to defence, or defence to offense) may become an issue. Shalla appears to be a bit of a weak skater. This affected his ability to win battles for the puck, especially on dump ins, and transition plays. He is good along the boards, but his skating again prevented him from being as able to engage in as many battles as he could have. On breakout plays Shalla would likely benefit from being the trailer as a screen for his great shot could be utilized, and his lack of speed could be masked by set plays such as that.
(1G, 1A, +4, 2 PIM in 2 Games)
Jordan Szwarz - #10 - RW - YOB: 1991 - 5’11” - 186lbs.
NHL: 4th Round - 97th Overall by Phoenix in 2009
Report: Oct/30/09 & Nov/5/09: After being very impressed last year I have to say I was a little disappointed with his play. Both games he was uninvolved in the plays and disappeared for long stretches. His goal he scored was not out of skill but out of being the 2nd opportunity guy who just happened to find himself with an open side. Hopefully Szwarz improves his game from here on in.
(1G, 1A, +1 IN 2 Games played)
Ivan Telegin - #24 - C - YOB: 1992 - 6’3” - 185lbs.
NHL: Eligible in 2010
Report: Oct/30/09 & Nov/5/09: Telegin was very impressive in both games. Great puck control, shot, decision making and is still only 17 years old. Telegin may have good speed, but is not your typical Russian. Telegin has great size and could fill out to a power forwards size. It isn’t his game but he is a decent hitter. Telegin utilizes his ability to control the puck, and his speed and shiftyness when moving up the ice to create scoring for himself. Telegin was Saginaw’s best forward in the 2 games played against Sarnia.
(2G, 2A, +5, 2 PIM in 2 games)
Cody Sol - #41 - D - YOB: 1991 - 6’5” - 214lbs.
NHL: 5th Round - 125th Overall by Atlanta in 2009
Report: Oct/30/09 & Nov/5/09: Sol has good speed and puck move movement abilities. For someone his size I’d go as far as consider it outstanding. His size after watching him the first half of last year left me wishing he’d use his size a bit more effectively, and he heard the bell on that one. He’s become a big physical presence using his size and was throwing hits all over his own zone during these two games. Also with his improve physical play he also showed he could hold his own against a Kyle Neuber who has a reputation as a good fighter (but we really haven’t seen that yet in Sarnia). Sol also showed off a decent shot from the point which he used a few times in these games. It doesn’t appear likely that Sol will become a top 4 defenceman at the NHL, but watching him develop I certainly see him making it as a very useful 3rd pairing defenceman.
(1A, +4, 9 PIM in 3 games)
Edward Pasquale - #80 - G - YOB: 1991 - 6’3” - 216lbs.
NHL: 4th Round - 117th Overall by Atlanta in 2009
Report: Oct/30/09 & Nov/5/09: Although he only let in 2 goals in 2 games, it was a tale of two goaltenders. In the first game Pasquale looked slow to react and relied heavily on size and his defense limiting scoring chances. He stayed deep in his net, but fortunately most shots went into his chest. He made a great save in the third period, but definitely did not look like a goaltender who was considered the #1 draft eligible goaltnder in North America 1 year ago at this time. The second game was much closer, and Pasquale was that much better. He came out to the top of his crease cutting down angles, responded better to shots in terms of his reflexes, and he came out of this game making several outstanding saves. This leaves me to wonder if consistency is the biggest thing for Pasquale to work on going forward.
(Stopped 63 of 65 shots in 2 games)
Sarnia vs. Windsor Nov/20/09
Taylor Hall - #4 - LW - YOB: 1991 - 6’1” - 185lbs.
NHL: Eligible in 2010
Report: Nov/20/09: After being amazed by Taylor Hall for 3 years I can say I wasn’t overly impressed with his efforts tonight. There’s no denying his top end skating, puck handling, and ability to rush the puck up the ice, but it never really translated into much until this game was already put away. However that one goal was one for the highlight reel, breaking out one on one short handed with a defenceman I hold pretty high in my rankings Nathan Chiarlitti, and just absolutely posterized him, then made a beautiful move on Campbell to slide the puck in. It was, to be honest coming from a Sarnia follower a Stamkos-like play that we saw for years here, there‘s no other way to compare it. However what happened after the goal was not Stamkos-like at all. Hall carried on with a huge celebration including the “Ovechkin leap“ into the glass. For a player of his caliber to do this when scoring the goal that makes the game 7-1 with less than 3 minutes left in the 3rd, especially for one that did very little for his team in this game the first 57 minutes of this game compared to the way he usually plays. It was fairly tasteless, ignorant, and to be honest I’ve been a fan of Hall since he was a 16 year old, but I lost a little respect for him, and his coach for that matter who would let one of their players carry on like that after scoring a meaningless goal. It was a highlight reel goal, but come on Taylor.
(Hall had 1G, +1 tonight)
Adam Henrique - #14 - C - YOB: 1990 - 6’1” - 196lbs.
NHL: 3rd Round - 82nd Overall by New Jersey in 2008
Report: Nov/20/09: “Most underrated player in the league” Is certainly a title worthy of describing Adam Henrique. He reminds me a lot of Matt Halischuk when he was with the OHL Champion Kitchener Rangers a few years back. He has great speed, plays hard in his own end, and just has a gift for putting the puck into the net. Henrique was key in face-offs, and just was; in my mind Windsor’s best forward all night. Not many people would know this but Henrique now has 22 goals in 25 games, an outstanding pace for someone who isn’t even recognized as one of Windsor’s top 5 players by many that are either not very in tuned with the OHL, or outside of Windsor. I would not be shocked to see Henrique in a 3rd line role in New Jersey as soon as next year.
(Henrique had 2G, 2 PIM tonight)
Kenny Ryan - #26 - RW - YOB: 1991 - 6’0” - 204lbs.
NHL: 2nd Round - 50th Overall by Toronto in 2009
Report: Nov/20/09: Kenny Ryan neither impressed or disappointed me in this game. I put in a report mainly because not that many people have seen him in person yet in the OHL. He seems to have decent but not great speed, good puck handling abilities and makes good decisions along the boards. He floated a lot in the neutral zone, looking for a pass to score and abandoned his defensive responsibilities, but overall Kenny Ryan leaves me thinking he’s one of those guys who, when Timmins and Mitchell, and likely a few of Nemisz, Henrique, and maybe Hall are gone, steps up and shows what he’s capable of.
(Ryan had 1G tonight)
Richard Panik - #28 - C/RW - YOB: 1991 - 6’2” - 197lbs.
NHL: 2nd Round - 52nd Overall by Tampa Bay in 2009
Report: Nov/20/09: Richard Panik has a lot of boom or bust perceptions around him. He would serve better as a Right Wing prospect, as supposed to the Center position he played for a few shifs this game. I have a hard time seeing him compete with Lecavilier or Stamkos in the top two in Tampa. Panik showed off some impressive speed, especially someone at his size that can fly like that. He was willing to play physical, and I know one of the knocks on him is laziness and not being good at his side of the red line, but he played hard in the defensive zone, and if he is still inconsistent, he certainly chose this to be one of the games he showed up to. He scored the first of two highlight reel goals for Windsor. He was coming out front around the back of the net, and he may have got tripped, or just dove for the puck, either way on his way down was able to slip the puck past Campbell short side. Panik would score again but would not be anything compared to his first goal. Overall I didn’t see any flaws in his game, but if his reputation is that he doesn’t show up to some games, then that may be a concern, but he certainly showed up tonight.
(Panik had 2G, +2 tonight)
Ryan Ellis - #6 - D - YOB: 1991 - 5’10” - 170lbs.
NHL: 1st Round - 11th Ovearll by Nashville in 2009
Report: Nov/20/09: Ellis did not really stand out the way he did last year in games I watched, however he wasn’t bad either. He certainly made a few Sting players wish they didn’t block his shot, but he really only got one to the net on the PP. Ellis does look a fair amount improved with his skating, but will either need to continue to improve, or add more of a physical element to his game if he ever wants to wear a Predator jersey, considering how many good defencemen they have, plus fellow prospect Jonathon Blum and Cody Franson who are both spending most of their time in Milwaukee and are ahead of Ellis in both development, and arguably overall potential if he can’t improve one of those two.
(Ellis had 2A, +1 tonight)
Cam Fowler - #6 - D - YOB: 1991 - 6’2” - 190lbs.
NHL: Eligible in 2010
Report: Nov/20/09: Fowler was hands down Windsor’s best defenceman tonight. He was skating great, threw some solid hits, shot the puck well, moved the puck well, there really wasn’t any flaws in his game. Add in the fact that his skating was so smooth for someone who looked bigger than 6’2”, and factor in that when he is done growing could wind up as big as 6’4” 220 is just amazing to project where he’ll be. I was set on Hall/Seguin going 1-2 in this draft, but Fowler will definitely make the top 3 very interesting. Not sure how much more I can elaborate, but his puck moving and skating were just better than everyone else from the blueline in this game, and didn’t really show any weaknesses in his game tonight.
(Fowler had 3A, +1 tonight)
Thanks to Ryan again. Any thoughts for him?