Notebook: Dean, Iorio, Mailloux & 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.
Tyler Boucher, W, USNTDP (USHL)
Chicago 4 – USA U18 5 – March 6, 2021
Scouting report by Dylan Krill
After watching this game, I came away thinking Tyler Boucher is the type of player I would feel comfortable playing all throughout my lineup, being able to contribute offense and play with skilled players or also playing on the bottom 6, bringing energy and physicality every shift. Boucher’s skating instantly caught my eye. He is constantly moving, having quick feet to gain acceleration efficiently, using crossovers effectively and having good strength in his edges. He struggled at times handling the puck through the neutral zone and while making offensive zone entries but was effective along the boards. Using his body to protect the puck, he was able to make smart plays and not get overwhelmed. He made many smart passes throughout this game, rarely taking unnecessary risks and forcing passes. Although he does need to be more consistent on his passing accuracy. He created two good scoring chances in front of the net, being able to get into good positioning and set up his stick for a tap-in goal, but he, unfortunately, didn’t get all of the puck and missed. On another play, he planted himself and made it difficult on the defender to move and was able to catch a pass and make a nice pull and drag move in-tight to get a quality chance on net. There were a couple plays where Boucher was applying great pressure and attacking his opponents, trying to strip the puck away, but this was not consistent. There were times in the defensive and neutral zone where he didn’t seem engaged and was even holding up his stick away from the ice, puck watching and not actively taking passing lanes and options away from opponents. Boucher was able to use his body effectively many times in this game, making sure his opponents felt his presence. Although on one play he didn’t keep his elbow down and made head contact, resulting in a 5-minute major for elbowing. I do like the intensity and physicality he brings, but over time he will need to understand when it’s appropriate and not to follow through with a hit. Overall, I believe the play style and tools that Boucher possesses will make him an intriguing target at the draft. At this moment I would start considering selecting him in the third round.
Zach Dean, C, Gatineau Olympiques (QMJHL)
Sherbrooke 3 – Gatineau 2 – March 2, 2021
Scouting report by Josh Bell
Missing the start of the 2020-21 season to an injury, Zach Dean has seems to fall out of favour in the public sphere. Entering the season, he was in the conversation for the top-QMJHL prospect with Zach L’Heureux and Zach Bolduc but fell out of that discussion. It’s time to put him back there. Dean looks absolutely dominant on the ice, like a man among boys. He’s absolutely fearless in his play. He’ll head into traffic/battles with or without the puck and more often than not, he comes out with it. His playmaking may be among the best in class, from his quick, short passes to maneuver traffic, to long stretch passes to open up ice. He has a nose for the net, always looking for the open ice to crash the goalie. His skating is just as impressive, using crossovers through transition, changing his direction and pace constantly, making him extremely difficult to defend. In his forward strides, he gets full extensions and fully rolls his shoulders. He has excellent vision, awareness in both ends, and positioning. He makes creating space look easy, drawing defenders in and using deceptive passing (between-the-legs, hook, no-look, etc) to get the puck to his open teammates. He keeps his head up, always scanning the rink for open ice, teammates and defenders. He did get caught with some of his trick passes, resulting in turnovers, but he always rushed back to help regain possession. Dean had a nice goal in this one to open the scoring, splitting the defender and getting a quick, accurate snapshot off. He tried a one-timer later in the game with a wide-open net, missing his chance. Overall, I get Tim Stutzle vibes from Dean. Maybe not quite at the same level, but that style of play. Expect a big finish in his season as it seems like he’s really found his game.
Vincent Iorio, D, Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)
Winnipeg 2 – Brandon 3 – March 13, 2021
Scouting report by Justin Froese
Vincent Iorio is a guy who looks like is going to be given the reins to play a big role in his third season and since I’ve last seen him, has made significant strides. He’s filling out physically and that strength has translated to more width to his game, both defensively and with the continued improvement of his skating. Iorio’s use of his edges and adaptation to travel on angles instead of straight lines, with his head up, has made him a more equipped player in transition and his ability to make a play. He’s still got consistency issues making the best play in some more complex sequences but he’s become more efficient as well, using one-touch plays, under handling in motion and scanning to up ice to find outlets and then supporting the play by following his pass to provide himself as a late option. His off-puck game has improved as well, facing plays to cleanly handle passes and give weak-side options to his partner and make a precise follow-up play. His cognitive approach to bring more pucks to the middle of the zone and feeding false information to control feet is an area that I think will go a long way in how he opens up lanes and exploits top of the circle opportunities to generate shots or passes. He isn’t the most efficient or effective shooter but he seems to be more patient and take a more transferrable approach for a player who could deem this as a weakness. His assist in this game resulted because of a well-placed shot through coverage which was tipped. Defensively I think that he will need to improve on his defensive skating and how he handles speed off the rush. Using C cuts instead of crossovers later in sequences will help him keep his gaps tighter and keep him square so that he can weight shift to close a play down. It seems as though he still gets overwhelmed at time by speed and even though there’s been astronomical growth, foresight and maybe playing a little bit too tight at the top of the offensive zone likely would help along some issues. He’s better at denying slot chances but on some plays, the stick positioning and pressure presented didn’t really goad opponents to put pucks into disadvantageous areas and he simply appeared flat-footed without a dynamic base to shut a play down. Good first viewing for a player who has a good canvas.
Cameron Johnson, C, Langley Rivermen (BCHL)
Langley 5 – Coquitlam 3 – October 23, 2020
Scouting report by Kevin Wong
Cameron Johnson was one of the more noticeable Rivermen players in this match, recording eight shots and recording two assists in 15:23 of ice time. Despite the 16-year-old currently being undersized and inexperienced at just five-foot-seven and 125 pounds, he was assertive with the puck against his more-experienced competitors. He often knew when to begin leaving his defensive zone as his team regained possession in their own end, and he made himself an available recipient for passes when his team began their neutral-zone transition. On zone exits, he often faces the puck carrier and gains speed while skating backward out of his own zone. In these instances, he relies on good edge work to pivot and continue up the ice upon receiving the pass from his teammate. Throughout the match, he demonstrated impressive poise with the puck. Although he controls it with authority, there are times when he overhandles the puck off the rush. He often put himself in a position to lead his team’s transition, but he had limited success deking past the opposing defenders. Of his eight shots, two were on breakaways. With 5:40 remaining in the first period, he saw an opportunity to flee the defensive zone and was sprung loose for an unimpeded opportunity. He had a second breakaway with 17:05 remaining in the second frame. Neither resulted in a goal, although Johnson’s offensive instincts and ability to anticipate where to be were on display. He received 6:59 of his team’s 9:49 of powerplay time against Coquitlam during which he was among his unit’s primary playmakers. While he was not among his team’s main forecheckers at the end boards, he was noticeable as a rover along the perimeter of the offensive zone. He tends to control the play along the outside, and regularly circles with the puck from low in the zone to high along the point before either deciding to shoot the puck or distribute it to his defenders. He is agile enough to quickly counter-attack with a directional change in tight spaces when the puck becomes loose. He also prefers to station himself in the middle of the offensive zone as a left-handed shooting option, and will sometimes slide up into the high slot for one-timers. He attempted two such one-time plays in this game in the upper half of the o-zone. Despite not being an active, aggressive forechecker at the boards, he plays a tenacious game when the puck is on his stick, not giving up when pressure is applied by the opposition. On numerous attempts, he fought hard to maintain control of the puck in open ice, and on one play with 2:45 remaining in the first, he successfully fought off the opposition’s pressure on his team’s offensive zone entry. This led to one of his two assists of the night. As a passer, Johnson demonstrated a very respectable degree of skill in this game with crisp passes. He completed a cross-rink, offensive-zone saucer pass, for example, with 5:10 remaining in the first period. He tried to deflect the puck on two occasions but did not complete the deflections. He also drove to the net on an odd-man rush in the middle of the third period; his stick was lifted before he could tap the puck into the open side. He also anticipated a loose puck coming from the end boards to the offensive zone slot with 9:45 remaining in the third; he responded by moving into the slot from the half-wall to retrieve the puck and regain possession for his team. As a 16-year-old BCHL rookie, Johnson recorded five goals and 10 points in 10 games during the Fall 2020 restart.
Logan Mailloux, D, SK Lejon (HockeyEttan) – LOAN
Ornskoldsvik HF 3 – SK Lejon 5 – February 14, 2021
Scouting report by Mat Sheridan
Logan Mailloux had a good showing against Ornskoldsvik HF as he finished the game with a goal and a primary assist. The towering defenseman has really good mobility for his size. He is able to cover a lot of ground and is able to effectively pick up speed with his crossovers. In the offensive game, I really liked how Mailloux read the play. There was a play in the first period where he made a really nice read to pinch and keep the puck in the offensive zone. On the play where he scored his goal, he made a nice read to keep the puck in the zone, walked into the slot and fired it home. It is a simple play but is was effective. He has a good shot and was good at being patient and waiting for the best lane through which he could get the puck on the net. Defensively, he was great at keeping opponents to the outside of the defensive zone and limiting their space. He likes to play a physical game and was not afraid to use his size to win the puck back. He may some bad passes in transition, but he has some promise. If the OHL season gets underway, I really think Mailloux will make his difference felt. He has really carved out a role on a really bad SK Lejon team and has made his impact felt. I think as we progress towards the draft, he will rise up some scouts’ lists. I don’t really know what his offensive ceiling will look like at the next level but he definitely has some promise defensively.
Oliver Moberg, RW, Team Sweden U18 (Exhibition)
Sweden U18 1 – Sweden U19 2 – February 14, 2021
Scouting report by Fredrik Haak
Oliver Moberg is a strong and powerful winger with great physical assets in his game. Last year, he had a great season with AIK U20 but has not really taken the next step this year much due to very few games after this COVID-19 season. Moberg has good puckhandling and covers the puck well in many offensive situations and is skilled along the boards where he often makes great plays and sets up teammates with nice passes. Moberg has okay speed over longer distances but is not really a fast accelerating player and he needs to develop his skating technique when he reaches the next level in his career. He is a player that works hard both ways and covers angles in his own zone and tries his best to get his hands on the puck. He had some unforced errors in his own zone and I would like to see him use his body and strength even more and be more physical and hard to face for opponents. He is smart and reads the game pretty well and is useful on the PK. Offensively, Moberg had an average game this night. He needs to skate more and gain more speed through the neutral zone. He is a threat in the last part and has a pretty good wrist shot that I would like to see him use more often than he did tonight. On the power play, he is useful because he handles many aspects like fast and short passes that is unpredictable, but his biggest asset with the man advantage is his game in front of the net where he covers the goalie and tries to get his hands on rebounds or get a deflection.
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