NAHC was a great tournament. Not a lot of surprises as many players took on rolls on teams that they are not normally used to. For example, some goal scores where now checkers and vice versa some defensive guys were now looked upon to provide some offence.
As a scout, the most noticeable aspect of the games this weekend was for the ability of all players to play both sides (offensive and defensive) of the puck. This is a work in progress for many players, so rather then basing a players success on points, it is based on their play in all zones(offensive/neutral/defensive) and how they adapt to the play around them along with changing roles. These aspects which every bit as important going into this next year, which will be draft year for many of these players.
Logan Stankoven and Trevor Wong where the leaders of this team, as usually is the case. When paired together offensively they where potent. Both players are also defensively responsible and the hockey IQ is very good. Kobe Verbicky is a big bodied forward that is a good set up player that is good at seeing the play develop and uses his size well. Ty Mueller and Jack Chiasson had a good tournament as well. They played very well defensively and when given the opportunity would be able to put the puck in the net. Both players are good skaters and can see the ice very well. Chiasson is a good skater that progressively gets better. Craig Armstrong is a player to continue to watch as his progression to playing both sides of the puck has been heading in the right direction.
On defence, Nolan Bentham had a strong tournament. He is a big dman that can carry the puck up ice as well as any dman out there, but is also defensively responsible. Oliver Gabrielson also had a strong outing, play a defensive style of game. The defense core on the team was overall the deepest six pack in the tournament.
In net both goalies played well.
All players on this team were very strong on both sides of the puck and kept their feet moving. Their play on the defensive side of the puck is the edge they had on other teams, which ultimately lead to them winning the tournament
Detroit Little Caesars
Nikita Tarasevich had a very strong tournament. He is a great skater with speed and agility. Niklas Miller was also a player to notice with a bigger frame but played well on both sides of the puck. His skating abilities were also very noticeable. James Stefan also had a strong outing as he is offensively strong and as a nose for the net. Brett Harris, being more a defensive type player for this team, was often playing against oppositions top guys.
In defense, Luke Hughes played strong as tourney. In general this defense core was very reliable playing a stay at home style of defences.
DLC is a group that moves the puck well and uses each other very good. They play well positionally. Their top tender Zak Brice was not in net for the final 2 games, which may have been a bit of a letdown for the team. Regardless there back up tender filled in rather nicely. Ultimately loosing in the final to HPL, the DLC team did well as a unit.
Sean Tschgerl continues to show his value and was the teams strongest forward. A big strong forward that can skate and creates opportunities. If Sean uses his linemates more he will become even more dangerous. Cole Sillinger and Matt Savoie played on a line together and contributed offensively. Both players were dangerous. Cole is a goal scorer that finds the open space (ie. great hockey IQ) and has a great shot. He is a player that loves to get under the skin of opponents. Dylan Guenther has a knack to be an offensive threat. Often he was not playing with consistent linemates, however Guenther was still able to adapt to the play. A player to notice on this team that does not get a bunch of attention and that plays well defensively and offensively is Blake Swetlikoff. Blake is not a huge goal scorer but plays very well positionally and not often makes mistakes. Hayden Wilm is a big forward that likes physical play and can shoot the puck, but has an opportunity to improve his defensive play.
On defence, Carson Lambos is still a great skater that likes to join the rush. The gap has closed between Carson and other players and he is not as dominant as he once was. Carson will need to work hard to keep his overall #1 ranking this season. Carson Cuelemans had a strong weekend as well. Carson played defensively sound and is a big strong defenceman that picks his spots to create offence. Carson continues to get better as time goes on. Nolan Allen played well this weekend and continues to be a good skater that can have an edge. Allen has a great shot and can read the plays develop in front of him.
In net Owen Albers had a strong weekend in net, along with welcomed appearance by Jackson Fellner who showed he could hold his own as well.
Stars Elite was very offensively skilled and talented with their top line of Sillinger, Tschirgel and Savoie. But like Team MB, they needed to be a bit more scoring from depth players and needed to be more defensively responsible as a team, to get to the finals.
Eric Alarie had a great weekend offensively. Eric is very strong, protects the puck along the wall and creates opportunities for linemates. Eric is a very good skater with power and strength. He will be a top 5 pick or higher if things continue to progress as is. Eric makes players around him better and creates opportunities for them every shift. Skyler Bruce played on a line with Alarie and had an offensively great weekend. Skyler has always been a goal scorer and can finish as well as anyone and just did that. On the defensive side of the puck is where Bruce’s opportunity to improve lies ahead. Aidan Litke as well played on this line and can finish with a great shot and showed it when playing with linemates that create opportunity. Litkes play on the defensive side of the puck is definitely an area to improve upon as well. Mike Svenson had a good weekend. Svenson likes to carry the puck offensively and is a good skater. Svenson has an edge and likes physical play. Owen Weihs had a consistent weekend and was a strong PK guy. Owen is physically strong and continues to get better. Garett Zasitko coming off an
injury (broken collarbone) and got back into his groove as the tournament went on and played well on the defensive side of the puck.
Hudson Thornton lead this team on defence. Thornton was strong on the puck and played well defensively. Thornton continues to be more defensive and less offensive which has improved his game in the past months. Lucas Brenton a dman that does not get a lot of attention had a good weekend and played very defensively all weekend. He will be a player to watch this winter.
In net Tyler Brennan showed his worth as to why is one of the top tenders in the west, as he backstopped Team Mb in a couple games against 2 of the tournies best teams, the Starts Elite and HPL.
Team MB had a very potent offensive attack with the top line centered by Alarie. The defensive play of this line and lack of scoring on the other lines lead to their inability to beat HPL in the semis and advance to the finals.
Tyson Laventure played well this weekend leading his team offensively. Laventure can skate well, creating opportunities and can shoot the puck well. Laventure like others in the tournament will benefit as his defensive game improves. Blake Eastman had a great weekend and is a player to watch. With his size and ability to play with an edge, Eastman is a hard guy to play against. Kyle Bochek is a energy player who plays on that edge and likes physical play. Bocheks feet are always moving which catches the eye.
Michael Neumeier had a good weekend on the back end. Neumeier can see the ice well and can move the puck, he is consistent. Hunter Larocque also had a good weekend and is a bit more of an offensive dman and likes to shoot the puck.
SHA Rage where a better team then they presented. This team was put together and did not practice together. As the tournament went on they got stronger and where competitive, and their skill began to show.
Brad Lambert had a good weekend and is an offensive threat. Lambert is a great skater and likes to hold on to the puck and looks for plays to develop. He also has a great shot. As Lambert learns to use linemates he will become more of a complete package. Connor Roulette is an offensive talent, with an eye for getting open and getting to the right areas and has a good shot to finish. Rory Neill had a decent weekend and can create open ice as his skating is good. Neill often draws attention from the opposition which opens space up for team mates. Riley Niven a player that goes somewhat unnoticed but seems to find the open ice and can finish. Niven plays with an edge, that at times he needs to control. Jayden Weins is a very good 200ft player and backchecks as good as anyone. He is usually the first forward back on defensive coverage, and will be a player to keep an eye on.
William Irvine is a big strong defenceman that can skate and shoot. Irvine had a strong showing this weekend and continues to be defenceman that is making ground. Karter Prosofsky is also a very physical dman that loves the physical play and that can skate well. Prosofsky will need to work on controlling the physical play by knowing when and when not to engage. Adam Mcnutt started out strong but went down with a undisclosed injury which took him out of the tournament. With Mcnutt out, Marek Schneider stepped up and played well defensively and was a stay at home guy for most of the tournament.
In net Jaxon Taupert logged a lot of ice time and had a strong tournament. As the stings only goalie, Taupert got tired as the tournament went on, understandably so. Taupert is a goalie to watch this upcoming winter.
The Sting were a defence first team going into the tourney and were relying on that to carry them. With an injury and some players having to sit a few games through the tournament, they could just not turn things around and get any rhytham.