Notebook: Arcuri, Clarke, Robidas & More
Every season, FCHockey’s scouts are scouring the globe to get eyes on prospects eligible for the 2021 NHL Draft and beyond.
They spend countless hours watching both live games and game tape to get the best possible analysis on the prospects entering the NHL Draft. Our Unpacking the Notebook series takes a look at some of the reports that FCHockey’s scouts have filed over the past week.
Here’s a glimpse at our scout’s analysis.
Fransesco Arcuri, C, Kingtson Frontenacs (OHL)
Kingston 3 – Sault Ste. Marie 5 – March 7, 2020
Scouting report by Chris Ostrander
Fransesco Arcuri showed flashes of his offensive upside in the OHL last season but struggled with consistency. He has good skating and has the speed and acceleration to get in behind the defense for a breakaway or create separation. He has a decent shot that can find the net when it’s supposed but doesn’t yet have the power to consistently score from range. Where Arcuri really looks solid is his playmaking. He has solid vision and looks to find open teammates in the offensive zone for scoring chances. He looks to move the puck up the ice quick in transition and is great at finding the open man with speed on the breakout. He has great offensive awareness and is usually in the right position in the offensive zone. Defensively, he can be caught looking for his man and hesitating but once he picks up the system, that may change. Arcuri needs to put on some muscle to be able to win more puck battles in front of the net and play more physically down the middle but once he does, I see him being a really solid prospect with good offensive upside.
Brandt Clarke, D, HC Nove Zamky (Slovakia) – LOAN
Trencin 3 – HC Nove Zamsky 0 – January 5, 2021
Scouting report by Mat Sheridan
Brandt Clarke had a decent showing against Trencin, as he did not look out of place playing in Slovakia’s top league. Suiting up on a pairing with Markus Vastila, Clarke had a slow start but improved as the game went on. Offensively, Clarke’s skating ability and confidence with the puck really stood out. He has a great, low stance, perfect for accelerating really quickly and he was not afraid to jump into the rush. He was able to pick up speed through the neutral zone and dart in and out of traffic to open up passing lanes for his teammates. One play that stood out was in the second period when he received a pass from his brother Graeme Clarke at the blue line. He danced around his opponent and displayed great confidence with the puck. He also made a great read, intercepting a pass in the neutral zone which proceeded to him getting a high danger scoring chance on net, which was stopped. Defensively, though he had a mixed bag of results. Early on in the game, he struggled to find his footing. On one occasion, he was playing too high, in and around the faceoff dot, and allowed a forward to corral the puck and put it into the net. His defensive partner was covering a player who was coming into the high slot for a pass, so Clarke misread the play. He did, however, show some promise as the game went on. On a play late in the first period, he was able to use his quick feet to close the gap on his opponent and prevented a likely goal. His night ended early as he ended up getting ejected from the game for a hit to the head in the second period but looked good overall. Clarke is going to take some time to get back to game shape as this is only his second game since being loaned but he definitely has shown promise early on.
Ethan del Mastro, D, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL)
Mississauga 4 – Sudbury 3 – March 1, 2020
Scouting report by Chris Smith
Ethan Del Mastro is an imposing defender with great size and slightly above average skating/mobility. His stride is a bit unorthodox but his mobility is not hindered too much by it. He plays a very smothering, physical game down low in his zone. He defends the rush well as he has a very good active stick and gap control, he stays up on the play and doesn’t give up his blue line easily. Down low he defends very well, good positioning and uses his size well to tie up or box out his man in front. Can make skilled passes in tight areas and his ability to evade pressure is only going to improve, but he needs to make better decisions on a consistent basis. As a 16-year-old defenseman in the OHL he played big minutes in a more shutdown and PK role, it will be interesting to see if he can improve upon his offensive game and puck moving abilities as he grows as a player.
Samuel Helenius, C, Team Finland (WJC)
Team USA 4 – Team Finland 3 – January 4, 2021
Scouting report by Olivia McArter
This has been a pretty evenly matched game between the two teams. Samuel Helenius has had a slow start to the game which I don’t find his skating to be too strong. Although, he does find speed in his cross overs and then cruises on the speed he generates. Helenius, with his height, has a long reach which helped him in the defensive zone by breaking up his opponents’ play. In comparison to the last game I watched of Helenius’, I still really like how hard of a shot he has that is often accurate. In the second period of the game, Helenius was quick to the puck and had really good accurate passing to his teammates. I noticed he often stayed open and skated up ice so he’d be able to be open to receive a pass to get into the offensive zone. Helenius doesn’t have the best control of the puck, when he gains possession his opponents sneak in and take possession away. Something I noticed in this game that hasn’t been like others was he wasn’t able to hold his opponents off as well as he could have. In the last period of the game, Helenius picked up the pace a little more and specifically in the last 3 minutes he was a lot quicker and competed harder than he had the whole game. After watching his performance in this tournament I’m not sure he’s NHL ready.
Luke Mittelstadt, D, Lincoln Stars (USHL)
Lincoln 2 – Fargo 6 – December 5, 2020
Scouting report by Dylan Krill
This was Luke Mittelstadt’s last game with the Stars before leaving to complete his high school season with Eden Prairie High. He is expected to return after that season is completed. Mittelstadt is an efficient skater and has the mobility to keep up with most opponents. He is strong on his edges, able to change direction smoothly to react to plays quickly. He has the agility to consistently be apart of the play and is able to create his own space efficiently. Mittelstadt reads the ice well, making plays very quickly and efficiently in all zones of the ice. He understands when to be conservative and aggressive, being able to control play at high and slow pace. He makes a lot of effective passes to move the puck out of the defensive zone and into the offensive zone. Also being able to complete accurate stretch passes consistently. He is very effective at taking away opponents’ space and time quickly, applying good pressure on the puck carrier and making it difficult to find space to make a play with the puck. He battles hard for space in front of the net and clears room for his goalie to see better. He uses his stick actively to poke pucks away and is effective at closing off opponents along the boards. He is consistently looking to taking away space in the defensive zone and is very aware of where he needs to be, closing passing lanes and willing to block shots for his team. He competes hard for the puck in board battles and comes on top with the puck consistently. Mittelstadt is very defensively reliable and is very impactful at getting pucks out of the defensive zone and keeping them out. He needs to improve on his offensive game if he wants to be a complete defenseman and be able to produce points and contribute more in the offensive zone.
Justin Robidas, C, Val d’Or Foreurs (QMJHL)
Val d’Or 5 – Rouyn-Noranda 4 – November 13, 2020
Scouting report by Dylan Galloway
When Justin Robidas’ on, he can be incredibly exciting to watch. The diminutive center has an excellent motor and his compete on and off the puck makes him a fun player to watch. But it’s when he’s off he can be a bit hard to spot in the game and blends into the background a bit. He’s relatively quick but doesn’t have elite top-end speed. His first few strides are decently explosive and enable him to jump on loose pucks quickly and allows him to dart around the ice in short bursts and disrupt opponents often. Robidas is also dynamic with the puck and his edges allow him to change direction quickly and allow him to throw defenders off his tracks. In terms of his thought process, I generally like how he sees the ice and can make some really great passing plays in various different ways. He’s able to handle passes with ease most of the time allowing him to transition the play from the back of his stick to his forehand while in motion. His processing is almost there, but he sometimes lets his vision focus on the biggest play, but also can bring the risk of turnovers. He can sometimes have tunnel vision and try and execute plays that he simply needs to slow down and evaluate a bit more. The nice thing about Robidas is that he has fairly good habits. With the puck on his stick, he keeps it in the pocket allowing him to make quick pass/shoot decisions without much movement. He can also compete extremely hard all over the ice. He smartly has his head on a swivel, shoulder checking often to ensure he’s not needed in a more defensive position when supporting the puck. He always puts in maximum effort on the draw and often comes out on top. Overall I think a lot of what Robidas does when he’s on his game is what makes a player, even a small one, more projectible than others. It’s the consistency of his involvement in the play that makes me hesitant. He needs to come with this effort level each and every shift and game to make it at the next level.
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