Notebook: Chayka, Clarke, Dean & 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.
Daniil Chayka, D, Team Russia (World Juniors)
Russia 5 – USA 3 – December 25, 2020
Scouting report by Olivia McArter
My first look at Daniil Chayka this season and it is at the World Junior Championship. Chayka had a slow start to the game. He didn’t have the best puck possession and his edge work was also not very good. Further into the period, he looked like he got more comfortable, cued into the speed and skill of the game and was able to help carry the play. Chayka’s net-front presence was pretty good. He was able to hold off his opponents in front of his own net and was often able to get in the way of the goalie and block him. Chayka is good at backchecking and is able to transition with ease skating forward. In the second period, he didn’t play much but when he did he wasn’t very good in the defensive zone, almost posed as a threat. In the final period, he looked slow and sluggish, wasn’t really with the play. He hustled when he needed to but it wasn’t a consistent hustle. However, his passing in this game was very good. Accurate, tape to tape passes, rarely made suicide passes and knew when to make passing plays and stay opponent to receive. I noticed that instead of getting into battles in the slot or along the boards he’d stick his stick in to try and get the puck, he wouldn’t physically get into the play.
Brandt Clarke, D, Barrie Colts (OHL)
Kitchener 4 – Barrie 6 – March 6, 2020
Scouting report by Joel Henderson
Brandt Clarke spent most of the time in the defensive zone trying to break up plays or rushes and I found that he wasn’t necessarily high level at doing either. The speed of his reaction time was just a bit slow and it led to guys being able to get shots off in front of him or just being out of reach of passes to the slot. He did block a shot and did tie up a defender using his stick decently well. This seemed to be a common theme defensively as he wouldn’t be keeping track of who was in front of him or behind him. He lost track of coverage a number of times. I would like to see his gap control improve as well particular when players are being aggressive off the rush. When he uses his stick first to break up possession I think he could be highly effective. His passing transition game is wonderful though. When the puck is on his stick, he has his head up and often showed his ability to make tape to tape passes look easy whether they were crisp or softer and weighted. He also attempted to sneak in backdoor a few times which seems to be very effective being right handed and the length of his stick and stride. Combining his puck protection in the offensive zone with his ability to see passing lanes open up and he can be very dangerous by joining that rush. This wasn’t the best game for showcasing his individual skills or his potential as an elite player down the road. His defensive reading of space and pressure were lacking and he didn’t get a lot of opportunity to showcase his ability to move through traffic and space. His finesse in handling the puck off the rush and at the point intrigue me though. He can certainly keep possession and distribute once he gets the chance.
Zach Dean, C, Gatineau Olympiques (QMJHL)
Gatineau 1 – Victoriaville 4 – November 27, 2020
Scouting report by Dylan Galloway
Zach Dean is a quick, creative centreman who excels at transitioning the puck through the neutral zone and getting controlled zone entries. In this game though, that’s about all Dean was. He struggled in the faceoff circle and wasn’t able to overpower his opponents and lost a number of key draws in the OZ. In addition, Dean mightly struggled to gain entry to the centre lanes of the ice and was consistently kept to the edges of the ice when in possession of the puck. He made a number of attempts to use his soft hands to get around defenders but was physically incapable of gaining the centre lane with nearly every attempt. He lacked the strength to push through and even though he showed creativity, he was to puck focused and was swatted away with relative ease. Dean is an excellent skater on the offensive side of the puck. He has quick feet and his fast recovery time allows him to get a high number of pushes which helps him accelerate to his top speed in short order. This also makes him agile and his starts and stops can help him maneuver fairly well through traffic. This is best seen through the NZ and on OZ entries. He maintains his quick turns through the OZ and is able to make quick directional changes, but still operates largely on the perimeter. I found though that his speed and agility didn’t really translate well to the defensive side of the puck. He stopped moving his feet on the backcheck and was often reaching in with his stick, ripe for hooking and tripping calls. He showed some ability to be a good play disrupter through the NZ but in the DZ he circled listlessly, unsure of where he needed to be effective at changing possession. Overall there’s something there with Dean in terms of a creative puck distributor and transition player, but in almost every sense I was looking for much much more from him.
Ray Fust, LW, Chilliwack Chiefs (BCHL)
Surrey 2 – Chilliwack 5 – October 17, 2020
Scouting report by Justin Froese
Ray Fust is a rangy offensive winger with a raw makeup but has the looks of a kid who could improve as he gets accustomed to the BCHL. Playing on the opposite wing of fellow draft prospect and rookie Artyom Martino, Fust showed some ability to leverage his best assets but still requires work to extract consistent efforts within his game. His skating style isn’t textbook but there’s a lot of elements ranging from weak to high end. He’s got periods where he has short, choppy strides and he looks awkwardly positioned with no width when going into a short race but has the ability to open up into an effective top speed and alter skating paths with linear crossovers combined with a wide track skating style. He can make some real questionable reads in play and can compound problems by making half-assed efforts. He does tend to limit his ability to skill stack by shutting off his feet when he’s looking to assess where to put pucks without pressure but in the next breath, he’s showing manipulative features to his footwork and controlling feet of his check, living on his edges to open up space and showing the ability to move to an inside lane, head up to make a play. Fust does a fairly good job of attaching pucks to his hip pocket and playing strong physically on the puck when under pressure and looking to make a play. He’s a bit tentative at times making puck plays in tight space, not really showing a high-level ability to lure opponents out of position and his vision at times seems to lack. He does prefer to be a complimentary support player in transition for the most part and in rush and zone scenarios likes to be the player going to the net with or without the puck to generate scoring chances. I think his ability to support play does vary but has some good moments. He can struggle to pick up assignments defensively, how to angle opponents, reading handedness and applying consistent pressure but is a highly competitive factor who is still able to pressure play to the boards if he’s got his man cornered and forces decisions. He’s a really hard player to predict what he will do from play to play, for good and poor reasons. He’s shown he’s competent in changing angles, timing his routes and going to high danger areas where he can put his tools to use, but consistently making the right play is a work in progress. He’s getting special teams minutes early on and consistent deployment at even strength. He’s going to be an interesting player to track.
Scott Morrow, D, Shattuck St. Mary’s (USHS)
Blades 18U AAA 1 – Shattuck 10 – October 28, 2020
Scouting report by Brandon Holmes
From the drop of the puck, it was pretty clear that Scott Morrow was not only the best player on the ice, but is also likely too good for this level of play. Morrow skated as Shattuck’s top defenseman, logging 21 minutes of time-on-ice while playing in situations, recording two assists in the process in Shattuck’s 10-1 route of the Minnesota Blades. Where Morrow shined was in the offensive zone and particularly in his ability to read and create offense from the blue line. Morrow was a constant offensive catalyst for his team, using fantastic vision to set up teammates in the offensive zone for shooting opportunities while also doing a great job of finding shooting lanes through traffic, getting six shots on goal on nine attempts. Morrow’s greatest offensive asset is his skating ability, he’s very fluid on his skates and was able to evade pressure well with quick turns and smooth crossovers. In addition to strong mobility, Morrow also demonstrated very good offensive awareness and instincts, seeing the offensive zone very well and picking his spots to step in from the point well to contribute to offensive zone possession and generate scoring opportunities. Shattuck did not spend much time in its own zone while Morrow was on the ice, but Morrow did demonstrate some blemishes in his decision making while handling the puck in his own zone. On a few occasions, Morrow got far too cute with the puck while attempting to carry the puck out of his own zone, attempting very risky plays very deep in his own zone and in front of his own net that led to turnovers and dangerous scoring chances against. Morrow is able to get himself out of a lot of trouble with his skating and skill, but he will need to be much smarter and more careful with the puck in future viewings, especially as he moves further into his career as competition gets stiffer.
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