Draft Eligibles of the Month – October 2021
FCHockey’s scouts can be found in all corners of the globe, watching players at the professional level, right down to junior.
They see a countless number of players in action, but there are always those that shine.
Through the 2021-22 hockey season, our team will collect the names of those prospects that have caught their eyes. From standing out in their leagues to impressing at tournaments, from making history to accomplishing remarkable feats for their age, we’ll take a look at the 2022 NHL Draft-eligibles making waves in the hockey world each month.
Here are FCHockey’s top-five draft-eligible prospects for October 2021, alphabetically listed.
David Goyette, C, Sudbury Wolves (OHL)
FCHockey Rank: 89th
October stat line: 11GP – 4G, 7A, 11PTS
After a full OHL season, anticipation was high for the 2021-22 campaign, especially surrounding top prospect, Shane Wright. Well, the season is underway and the draft-eligible currently leading the scoring race is… David Goyette. The Sudbury Wolves forward is playing at a point-per-game pace through the first month of the campaign.
It seems unlikely that the centerman will maintain this top spot throughout, as all bets are on Wright to explode at some point, but Goyette’s start has been pretty impressive. He’s been spending the majority of his time on the top line, playing on both the power play and the penalty kill, and has been looking good doing it. While he might not end up as the top-scoring draft-eligible in the OHL, he may very well be in the race if he continues this pace.
“Goyette is a two-way forward who possesses great mobility and awareness on the ice,” FCHockey regional scout Mat Sheridan recently reported. “His mobility and ability to make plays with the puck are clearly evident. He has a great low stance and a quick first step which allows him to accelerate quickly and beat defenders wide. He has great edgework and can elude opponents with ease.
“With the puck on his stick, Goyette showed off his vision, showcasing an ability to find teammates in the slot with a quick hard pass. Without the puck, Goyette showed an ability to make quick reads and break up passing lanes.”
Joakim Kemell, RW, JYP (Liiga)
FCHockey Rank: 10th
October stat line: 8GP – 6G, 3A, 9PTS
In the second edition of the season for this series, Joakim Kemell becomes the lone two-time member of the 2021-22 season. For now. The Finnish forward has been stealing the show of nearly all draft-eligibles, recently being named the Player of the Month in the Liiga – the youngest player ever to earn the honour.
Kemell has been outplaying top-prospect Brad Lambert this season, even earning a spot on the U20 roster for the Four NAtionals tournament, while Lambert was left off. It will be interesting to see how the battle for the top prospect out of Finland continues this season, as right now, it surprisingly looks like Kemell has that spot.
“Kemell is an absolutely electrifying player to watch with his blend of speed, puckhandling and finishing ability,” reported FCHockey regional scout Rasmus Tornqvist, “He always seems to find ways to make plays and go for goal even when there seemingly is nothing there. He has been lights-out during the beginning of the season and is definitely one of, if not the hottest prospect right now.
“His ability to protect the puck while going up the ice was very impressive, considering he is on the smaller side. Kemell also had a couple of really nice sequences with the puck, breaking through the defence to create his own scoring chances.”
Matthew Savoie, C, Winnipeg Ice (WHL)
FCHockey Rank: 6th
October stat line: 13GP – 6G, 10A, 16PTS
Once thought to be in the conversation with Wright and Lambert as a top contender for this class, Matthew Savoie has been showing why this season. Leading all North American draft-eligibles in points through the month of October, Savoie has been lights out in the WHL.
Along with teammate and fellow draft-eligible Conor Geekie, Savoie has been a top player in the league this season, sitting fifth in the league in assists and seventh in points. He’s continuing to impress night in and night out, collecting points in nine of his 13 games, including three three-point nights.
“He is an incredibly confident forward who loves having the puck and being an offensive focal point,” FCHockey head Western scout Derek Neumeier wrote in a recent report. “There is a real flow to how he moves around the ice and how in tune he is with the pace of play. He can play the game fast or slow, depending on the situation.
“His anticipation, drive and acceleration are all great, which helps him create times where he’ll blow past or through opponents to generate scoring chances. He handles the puck very well in full flight, controlling it well enough to fend off opponents, pull off dekes and make sure he gets a shot off.”
Juraj Slafkovsky, LW, TPS (U20 SM-sarja/Liiga)
FCHockey Rank: 7th
October stat line: 7GP (U20 SM-sarja) – 5G, 9A, 14PTS; 5GP (Liiga) – 2A, 2PTS
Coming into the season, there’s been a ton of excitement around the trio of Slovaks that are all near the top of the class. The first one to break through on this list for the season, Juraj Slafkovsky may have split the season between two leagues, but he’s looked very good doing it – in both leagues.
While Slafkovsky may only have had two points in the Liiga this month, he’s been continuously seeing his minutes increase and picked up his two points in his last four games. In the U20 SM-sarja, the forward has proven to be too good for the league, collecting points in every game this month, including one six-point performance. He’s continuing to turn heads and will continue to do so as the season progresses. He looks to be deserving of a larger role at the top level.
“Slafkovksy is a strong winger who plays a power forward game with great offensive instincts,” FCHockey regional scout Ville Holopainen said. “His most notable asset was his size combined with his strong skating and soft hands. He was, at times, impossible to get the puck away from when he started protecting it in the corners and kept his feet moving.
“He showed consistently great willingness to get to the hard-fought areas with or without the puck. He doesn’t seem like the fastest skater, but his strong stride makes him quick enough to challenge defensemen and if he gets just a little opening his strong edgework makes him really hard to keep outside on the rush.”
Alexander Suzdalev, HV71 (J20 Nationell/HockeyAllsvenskan)
FCHockey Rank: 72nd
October stat line: 11GP (J20 Nationell) – 6G, 10A, 16PTS; 2GP (HockeyAllsvenskan)
Perhaps the lone name that will truly surprise on this list, Alexander Suzdalev actually led all draft-eligibles in points this month. Spending most of his time in the J20 Nationell, Suzdalev is currently riding a nine-game point streak in the league, highlighted by a five-point night on October 10.
He was moved to the J18 Region for one game, getting three points, following that up with two games in the HockeyAllsvenskan. Despite playing in three leagues this month, Suzdalev is currently eighth in the league in points. Perhaps a look at the SHL level could be on the horizon for Suzdalev as well.
“Suzdalev is an offensive winger with good size and great hands who uses his technical skills to be a dangerous weapon every time he enters the offensive zone,” FCHockey regional scout Fredrik Haak reported. “He has great reach and when he combines speed with his puckhandling he often succeeds to bring the puck into the offensive zone with control.
“Suzdalev is very creative and a good passer and could be useful on the power play, for example. He likes to come down deep to gain speed and makes himself playable for defenders and his linemates.”