Notebook: Ceulemans, Olausson, Rolofs & 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.
Shai Buium, D, Sioux City Musketeers (USHL)
Sioux City 5 – Sioux Falls 0 – March 31, 2021
Scouting report from Josh Bell
Shai Buium started this game fairly quiet, by started to really come on as it went on. The big defender looks to be a strong two-way defender, with skating his largest weak spot at times. He can be a little sluggish at times, not properly utilizing his powerful legs to create fluid skating motion. This greatly takes away from his speed. However, he does show some good lateral mobility, highlighted by play along the offensive blue line to maintain possession and pressure. He knows how to utilize his edges well. He’s a strong playmaker, really opening up the ice with his passes and creating opportunities for his team. Both from his own zone and in the cycle, he moves the puck around well. His puckhandling is surprisingly high-end, with the ability to dance along the blue line and around attackers on display in this game. His strength is his biggest asset, easily pinning players to the boards and using his body to protect the puck. He competes hard, never letting his foot off the gas. A player got around him once in the third, and Buium spun around, used his long reach to lift the opponent’s stick and quickly turned the play back the other way. He’s not afraid to jump in the offensive zone and make something happen. Buium could be a candidate to be selected earlier than expected in the 2021 NHL Draft.
Corson Ceulemans, D, Brooks Bandits (AJHL)
Okotoks 5 – Brooks 1 – March 13, 2021
Scouting report by Donesh Mazloum
Early in this game, there was a sequence where a teammate turned the puck over and Corson Ceulemans turned on the jets, chased down the opposition puck carrier, and stripped the puck to break up the opposition’s 2-on-1. That shift gave a glimpse of the magnitude of impact that he can have when he is playing with maximum effort. The biggest issue with Ceulemans however is that there is a distinct lack of consistency when it comes to that effort level, especially on the defensive end. Only a couple shifts after his excellent backcheck, Ceulemans was lollygagging with possession got caught from behind, turned the puck over, and made a half-hearted attempt to track back and make up for his mistake. Ceulemans offensive potential is undeniable. There is nothing routine when he has possession. He has supreme confidence with the puck on his stick and he is always a threat to charge up the ice to create an opportunity. I liken him to an option quarterback where the simple threat of him taking off creates time and space, as forecheckers are leery to fully commit against him. This aura combined with top-notch spatial awareness and pristine balance in transitions allows him to diffuse pressure and escape up ice incredibly effectively. His shot and goalscoring capabilities are elite. He puts himself in higher danger areas than your average defenseman, possesses a heavy and quick release, and has his head up to pick corners. If the effort level can become more consistent at both ends of the ice and he can figure out how to use his immense physical tools to better effect in his own zone, the sky is the limit for Ceulemans. Overall, I’m still a believer in his skillset and on a different team and in a tougher league I think we start to see more consistency and focus on the defensive end. Brooks is a step ahead of most teams in the AJHL and plays a very aggressive freewheeling brand of hockey. He’s still a mid-to-late first-round talent in my eyes.
Cole Huckins, C, Acadie-Bathurst Titan (QMJHL)
Acadie-Bathurst 8 – Saint John 2 – March 27, 2021
Scouting report by Tomas Zubrus
Cole Huckins first couple shifts were rather dull as he didn’t have the puck all too much and there weren’t any chances being created. Also during said shifts, he gave the puck away twice which isn’t an ideal start to a game. Despite this, he showcased high-end speed when straight skating which isn’t easy to come by when looking at players with Huckins’ frame. Additionally, Huckins did display a very good passing game when it came to him being the distributor of the puck, but there were times when his passes wouldn’t connect to his intended target and often times, his passes would turn into giveaways. Huckins did however present a sense of poise into the faceoff circle, winning draws consistently and generating chances in the offensive zone. He also was able to showcase his sharpshooting abilities as he turned an opposition’s giveaway into a 3-on-1, which did lead to him getting his goal. His puck control seemingly got better as the game went on as his passes started to connect more as the game approached its conclusion. One thing that surprised me was that considering Huckins’ size and frame, he hardly threw his weight around. He is very offensively oriented but also does have some good defensive potential considering what he displayed in tonight’s game. He’s been catching eyes, including mine, and he will be a name to watch heading into the NHL Draft and the 2021 QMJHL Playoffs as he’s more than capable of rising in this summer’s draft.
Simon Knak, RW, Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
Portland 2 – Tri-City 3 – March 18, 2021
Scouting report by Donesh Mazloum
After a solid performance at the World Juniors, I was excited to see Simon Knak take his game to the next level for Portland. My enthusiasm for Knak, however, as a D+1 draft pick is waning slightly after this performance. On the positive side, Knak has really improved his skating over the last couple of seasons. He’s using his hips much more effectively and the added length in his stride is noticeable. He’s still not the quickest off the hop however I’m not super concerned that his foot-speed will be the limiting factor in his progression to the pro ranks. Where Knak really hasn’t progressed as much as I hoped or expected is on the offensive side of the puck. He consistently lacks precision when in the offensive zone. In this game, he was throwing passes to general areas around teammates as opposed to hitting the tape. He was hanging around the net but wasn’t working to find soft spots or get his stick open. He was generally poised along the wall and handled pressure fairly well but struggled to turn zone time into chances. He was fighting the puck when stickhandling in open ice. It was overall just a frustrating performance from a player who seems to have the tools in a vacuum. Liking what Knak brings to the stage at the international level then being slightly disappointed at the major junior level is starting to become a pattern for me at this point. Knak’s effort level, physicality, two-way play, and consistency shine through when he’s playing the Team Canada’s of the world and simple survival is the goal however my expectation that he will then turn that into dominance against lesser opponents has never really been met. He seems to plug along as the same player regardless of the calibre of the opposition. I’m starting to get the sense that the offensive potential I once saw in Knak just isn’t there. There is still value in the smart, simple, and mistake-free hockey that Knak plays but I’m not seeing a ton of growth outside of his skating since last season. I still think he might be worth a look in the late rounds however there are other D+1’s I’d currently slot ahead of him.
Oskar Olausson, RW, Sodertalje (HockeyAllsvenskan)
Kristianstad 1 – Sodertalje 4 – April 1, 2021
Scouting report by Derek Neumeier
I’ve seen Oskar Olausson a few times now, and he just never seems to do it for me. I definitely do see the tools that other scouts see. He has a nice frame to work with, he moves around the ice easily and can create some separation with his higher gears, and he’s a very potent shooter when he has the puck in a dangerous area. Scored a nice goal in this one by finding a loose puck, dusting it off and burying it. That being said, though, he’s just not a player who leaves a positive impact on a shift-by-shift basis. His awareness and hockey sense are an issue to me, as there are some shifts where he totally losses sight of his defensive check or skates himself into bad places offensively. There are shifts in both ends where he’ll make a nice read or a creative play, but they need to happen more often. There are many times when he skates to where the puck is, not where it’s going. Seems to lack spatial awareness, getting caught up in bad traffic, and needs to shoulder check more often. He also floats a bit and doesn’t show a whole lot of urgency or play with a high pace. Does very little to win pucks from opponents. Doesn’t use the power elements to his game nearly as much as he should, and can get pushed around. Could be more balanced on his feet. Puck handling is good at times, worse at others. I think the best case with Olausson is that you can develop him up enough to be a sheltered second-line winger and power play supporter, but there’s a lot of work that would need to be done and there’s a good risk that the job never quite gets completed.
Stuart Rolofs, LW, London Knights (OHL)
London 3 – Owen Sound 1 – March 7, 2020
Scouting report by Mat Sheridan
Stuart Rolofs had a decent showing against the Attack. Suiting up on a line with Nathan Dunkley and Antonio Stranges, he managed to make his impact felt on both ends of the ice. Rolofs is a decent skater who lacks acceleration and top-end speed but he was always moving his feet. He has a good base but he would be able to maximize his speed more if his posture was a bit lower to the ice. He showed a willingness to attack open lanes with the puck on his stick and was always looking around and scanning the ice to find the open man. Rolofs was good at starting the transition out of the defensive zone but he tended to miss his man and ended up turning over the puck to the opposition. One aspect of his game that did impress me was his positioning in the defensive zone. He was good at reading the play and using his active stick to break up passing lanes. One play that stood out came in the first period. The Attack had the puck in the defensive zone and Rolofs was able to read the play, intercept the pass and start the transition out of the zone. Overall, Rolofs has some solid tools that he can work with to better his game. He is good at reading the play and being in the right spot at the right time. He still needs to improve some aspects of his game if he wishes to make an impact at the next level but he will definitely attract NHL teams come draft day.
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