Notebook: Bar, Plandowski, Sillinger & 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.
Jack Bar, D, Chicago Steel (USHL)
Chicago 4 – USA U18 5 – March 7, 2021
Scouting report by Joseph Aleong
Jack Bar has transitioned well from a Canadian prep school to an elite junior league, jumping in with the USHL-leading Chicago Steel as an all-situations defenseman. A strong skater with advanced strength for his age, showing great extension in his strides and solid edgework to move laterally and stop on a dime. Bar is a confident puckhandler and shows good poise under pressure, evading forecheckers with stickhandling moves and using his body to shield the puck. He shows a good understanding of spacing in the offensive end and had a couple of aggressive pinches down below the goal line in this game. He has great straight-line speed, despite average foot speed, thanks to his great lower-body form in his stride, and he is able to get back into position in transition after an aggressive pinch. His puckhandling helps him create chances and take advantage of loose pucks when he pinches into the zone, but he’s still pretty limited when pressured and can force passes through the middle of the ice in the offensive zone. Defensively, he defends off the rush well, not utilizing many crossovers and keeping a tight gap. He seemed to be making a concerted effort to be physical when defending; he was able to separate his man from the puck with a forceful shove or cross-check along the boards on more than one occasion. There were times when he didn’t play his check very tight on the cycle, leading to extended possessions on defense. Overall, however, Bar was making an impact on the puck at both ends and utilizing his feet and puck skills to move play efficiently out of his own zone against arguably the toughest opponent he’ll face all season.
Dmitri Kostenko, D, Lada Togliatti (VHL)
Zvezda 3 – Togliatti 2 – January 27, 2021
Scouting report by Brandon Holmes
It was a challenging game for Dmitri Kostenko in Lada Togliatti’s VHL matchup against Zvezda, as the young defenseman showed plenty of inconsistencies in his game and areas for improvement, however, he also showed flashes of what could be a reliable puck-moving defenseman. With the puck on his stick, what stood out the most with Kostenko was his footwork and ability to pull away from checks using his edgework. Kostenko’s ability to play on his edges factored positively into his transitional ability while carrying the puck out of his own zone and through the neutral zone, while also allowing him to open up shooting lanes while walking the offensive blue line. While Kostenko’s edgework was rather sound, his ability to quickly start-and-stop was a bit lacking, oftentimes showing a bit of a choppiness to his skating stride while accelerating. While defending, Kostenko controlled his gaps reasonably well, however, there were instances where he was guilty of planting his feet while defending one-on-one which in turn resulted in him getting beat while defending in his own zone or while defending the rush. Kostenko displayed efficient passing ability while moving the puck, though there were times where he missed his mark and caused turnovers in the neutral zone as a result. Turnovers were the big blemish on this game for Kostenko, as far too often he would either turn the puck over while attempting a dangerous pass in transition or have his pocket picked while holding the puck for too long, which is what resulted in a goal against with him on the ice that ended up being the game winner. All-in-all, there were some tools to appreciate from Kostenko in this showing, but he will need to clean up aspects in his one-on-one defending and work on reducing his number of turnovers as he grows as a pro defenseman.
Jack Matier, D, Ottawa 67’s (OHL)
Niagara 1 – Ottawa 9 – March 10, 2020
Scouting report by Olivia McArtur
Jack Matier had a decently strong game against Niagara. He was able to find quiet ice and receive good clean passes to gain possession. He was able, throughout the game, to stick on his opponents to try and knock them off the puck. He has a decent backcheck and does well in the defensive zone. Matier has a good hard shot and has several shots on goal attacking on the rebound and scoring on the opportunity. When holding possession, he’s able to pass off to his teammate before getting hit and or knocked away from the puck. Matier is a wide-stance skater and during the middle of the game, I often saw him behind the play heading into the offensive zone but had decent transitions from front to back.
Oscar Plandowski, D, Charlottetown Islanders (QMJHL)
Cap Breton 3 – Charlottetown 4 – November 14, 2020
Scouting report by Theo Lambert
It was a difficult game for Oscar Plandowski, as he created a lot of turnovers and he was not successful on breakout plays. In fact, he was at the wrong end of at least 4 turnovers, and he completed only one clean breakout pass during this game. I love defenders who can move the puck quickly and efficiently from their zones, and unfortunately, Plandowski did not show enough in that regard in this game. I felt like his poor decision-making with the puck, but also without the puck, could be the reason of the abundance of turnovers and the lack of puck-moving ability on his part. Indeed, he sometimes looked like he could not make quick decisions. I felt like he was always reactive more than proactive, in the sense that he could only see the play if it were actually happening in front of him. In other words, I think his game lacks anticipation skills; he always looked one or two plays behind. For instance, there were too many times when he got caught flat-footed or going in the wrong direction because he could not see how the play was developing in front of him. I did hear that in other games, his decision-making was better, so maybe he just had a bad time reading plays in this game. Plandowski also looked like he lacked strength, as he was getting pushed around pretty easily. He really looks like he has got a lot of space to grow, so it might be interesting to see how his game gets affected as he gets stronger and stronger. Having talked about the aspects of his game that I did not like, I can move on to the positive parts of his game, starting with his very good skating ability. He has some nice speed and agility, and he can also use his edges very effectively. I also am a big fan of his offensive mindset, as he constantly supports the attack and goes deeps in the offensive zone on the power play. He showed that he had some decent hands, shot and puck-moving ability. He did not do anything complicated, but his passes in the offensive zone were accurate and the release of his shot was relatively quick, while maybe not being the strongest or the most accurate one. Another interesting aspect is his physical game. As I said, he is not the biggest or the strongest player, but he is not scared to take hits or to deliver them, and that helped him break two zone entries from his opponents, as he maintained a good gap, and wisely chose his moments to cut them off along the boards with good hits. If we forget the turnovers, I thought his overall play in his zone was good, as he kept an active stick and was quite effective in front of his net. I just felt like his positioning, like I said with his decision-making ability, was just a bit inconsistent. Overall, I think Plandowski is an interesting prospect, but I really want to see him being more consistent in his ability to move the puck out of his zone, maybe just a little more successful in his risk-taking, and maybe add a little bit of creativity with the puck in the offensive zone. If he can get a little bit better in those three points, and continue to work on his strength, he could be an interesting prospect.
Cole Sillinger, C, Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL)
Des Moines 5 – Sioux Falls 4 – March 13, 2021
Scouting report by Dylan Galloway
Cole Sillinger played a solid two-way game in this contest and some of his best work was when clogging up the neutral zone and in his defensive zone support. One of the best parts of Sillinger’s game is his processing of the play and understanding of where he’s most needed. He constantly shoulders checks and is surveying the ice to assess the play and move into either a better supporting position for the puck carrier or close a seam in the neutral zone. His support in the defensive zone is a noticeable feature of his game, he doesn’t simply offer passive support. He keeps mobile through support and makes himself a clear option for teammates before making a good exit, or outlet pass. On the PK, Sillinger showed off some great mobility and played with some aggressive positioning making his opponents rush their decisions a bit a create some havoc and missed opportunities for the PP. On the offensive side of the puck, I was hoping to see a bit more dynamism from Sillinger, but he proved to me how effective he can be in a more supportive role. His passing all over the ice was excellent, he was executing great outlet passes, cross-ice NZ passes, entry passes, and one of his low-to-high passes resulted in a goal for. His ability to read the play, see the ice and execute a good play consistently is something that really stood out for me in this game. He did show some flashes of some dynamism in the offensive zone. His edgework in tight spaces, as well as his puck control, were flashed on a few plays but he only attempted these plays when really put in a corner to pull it out. In general, his offence came from great processing of the play and deceiving the D. His skating could be a bit sharper, but he made a great punch stop to lose a defender and create time and space for himself. Though he didn’t show a ton of creativity I liked hte flashes I saw in this game and in combination with his good two-way play makes him look like a player who could really excel as he continues to refine his game and compete at higher levels.
Victor Stjernborg, C, Växjo HC (SHL)
Orebro 2 – Vaxjo 6 – January 26, 2021
Scouting report by Viktor Bergman
Victor Stjernborg played right wing on Vaxjo’s third line against Orebro. Even if Stjernborg played as a left winger and not center in this game — and doesn’t have the same role now as he has with Vaxjo U20 — he has accepted his role and adapted well to SHL level. He had a decent game and got one assist. Stjernborg’s assist came in the final minute of the first period. He skated up the ice with the puck and had just entered the neutral zone when he made a quick direction change to create space and open the passing lane. He finds his teammate with a nice, long pass right on his stick. His teammate then took a quick shot from the top of the left circle and scored. Stjernborg has short, quite heavy strides, which gives him a top speed that is nothing special. Since he doesn’t get much power in his strides, it doesn’t make him the fastest skater on the ice. But Stjernborg’s great understanding of the game made up for his limited skating, and he was never out of position in this game. He can play at any pace and often adapt his speed to find and open up space. When he had the puck on his stick, he often attacked the middle of the ice to create scoring chances. He has great vision and finds space on the ice to find teammates with hard, accurate passes. Stjernborg is an effective forechecker, good with his stick and has a high compete level.
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