Notebook: Gaudreau, Pastujov, 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.
Yusaku Ando, RW, Youngstown Phantoms (USHL)
Chicago 4 – Youngstown 2 – January 10, 2021
Scouting Report by Ray Napientek
Yusaku Ando has a short, soft stride. Does not get real deep in his stride and lacks the strength right now. He does show nice agility and can flip his hips in transition with ease. Being 148 pounds right now, he should see a strength gain in his legs. Ando does a nice job with the puck on his stick. Puck looks like it’s glued to his blade. He has soft, quick hands. He knows what he wants to do with the puck before he receives the pass. Heads up and thinking next play. He’s a willing participant in front of the net on the power play. Added strength will be key for more success as he’s easily cleared out in front. Wants to get into battles along the boards but does not come away with a lot of pucks. Pokes and reaches right now instead of getting his frame in the battle, another spot his size works against him. Displays a quick release on his shot. Took a puck at full-speed and made a nice play getting the defender to try and screen his shot. Half his game was spent on the power play tonight. Ando did a nice job fore checking and getting into position. His work in his own zone is above the dots and with his head in the offensive zone. In a game spent with Chicago in the penalty box, Ando showed he can make some plays offensively, especially with the puck on his stick. His work in his defensive zone will be something to watch again. Added strength overall is an obvious need.
Nolan Bentham, D, Victoria Royals (WHL)
Victoria 3 – Kelowna 2 – March 11, 2020
Scouting report by Kevin Wong
Nolan Bentham may be considered a two-way defender type based on his performance in this match. He possesses enough straight-line speed to pursue the opponent adequately while coming back into his own zone and while approaching the corners of his own end. He is not very agile, however. As a result, he struggled against Kelowna to maintain proper gap control whenever the opposing puck carrier shifted laterally both along the defensive-zone end boards and in transition through the neutral zone. There were occasions when Bentham was caught flat-footed against the opponent off the rush, resulting in him being beaten wide on one occasion and to the inside on another. He can be scrambly from a positional point of view. As far as the quality of his puckhandling is concerned, Bentham’s control of the puck was just fair in this match. He took one shot on goal from the point, although it was blocked by the opponent in the upper half of the offensive zone. He also pinched along the boards of the attacking zone on a few separate instances in an attempt to keep his team’s forecheck alive. He experienced only partial success collecting the puck in the ensuing board battles. One such battle resulted in the opponent regaining possession of it and going back the other way through the neutral zone for a rush scoring chance. Offensively, he was not a significant contributor to his team’s scoring opportunities against Kelowna, although he initiated one successful give-and-go entry off the rush. He spent his most noticeable moments during the match as a gritty presence in his defensive-zone corners. His positioning was not very proactive, however, and at times he chased the puck. He was fairly aggressive against the opposing puck carrier in his own zone, regularly initiating body contact against his opponent. Whenever he managed to halt the other team’s pressure in his own corners of the rink, his most frequent follow-up play was to ricochet the puck safely off the side boards and out of the defensive zone. While his performance in this match was spirited, overall, he did not play a particularly reliable game against the Rockets.
Ben Gaudreau, G, Sarnia Sting (OHL)
Guelph 1 – Sarnia 4 – March 8, 2020
Scouting report by Olivia McArtur
Ben Gaudreau stood strong in this game against Guelph. He was very good at tracking the puck especially with traffic in front of him where he was able to stop the shot each time. Gaudreau was able to stay square to the puck which helped him to stay in control. I did notice he didn’t have the best rebound control as the puck bounced right back out to opposing players rather than controlling and keeping the puck in close. The only goal that was scored on Gaudreau was in the first period and was able to shake it off ready for the next shot and stayed consistent for the rest of the game. I started to notice after he was scored on, Gaudreau started to hug the post a little tighter so the puck couldn’t get through. He was often able to stay calm throughout the game but there were a few instances where he did get out of position and ended up having to dive to the other side of his crease to make the save. When Gaudreau would go around his net to play the puck he would never pass but he stopped the puck for his teammates either behind the net or to the side of it. Gaudreau’s lateral movements were slower in this game so I believe once he gets quicker on his movements he will be a much stronger presence in net.
Avery Hayes, C Hamilton Bulldogs (OHL)
Saginaw 8 – Hamilton 6 – March 7, 2020
Scouting report by Mat Sheridan
Throughout the game, Avery Hayes showed that he has promise to develop into a great energy player. Playing on a line with Tag Bertuzzi and Logan Morrison, Hayes finished the game against the Spirit with a primary assist. Offensively, Hayes was not afraid to go the rough areas of the ice. He battled hard in and around the net and was great at being able to find open space in the slot. One play where this was evident came near the end of the first period. Bertuzzi was carrying the puck into the OZ and Hayes was standing undetected on the blueline. Hayes snuck in behind the play and Bertuzzi was able to find him in the slot for the scoring chance. His skating ability is also something to behold. With his great, low stance and ability to create speed with powerful crossovers, Hayes is able to get up to speed relatively quick. He is great at picking up speed in the neutral zone and attacking open lanes. Defensively, he had his ups and downs. When he was on his game, Hayes was good at using his stick to cut off passing lanes and keeping his opponents to the outside, but his defensive positioning looked rough at times. One play that comes to mind came in the first period. The Bulldogs’ defender had the puck in the corner and slid it around the half-wall. If Hayes had been in the right position, he could have received the pass and started the transition up the ice, but he was out of position down near the net. This allowed the Spirit defender to keep the puck in the offensive zone and it ended with a goal for the opponents. If Hayes wishes to continue to rise on scouts’ lists, he is going to have to show some improvements in those areas of his game.
Sasha Pastujov, LW, U.S. Under-18 National Team (NTDP)
Youngstown 2 – USA U18 5 – January 3, 2021
Scouting report by Dylan Krill
This wasn’t one of Sasha Pastujov’s best showings, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t contribute and make impressive plays. When he has the puck, he has a lot of energy and creates many offensive chances for his team, but when he’s away from the puck, he starts to look disengaged at times. He has a bit of a long choppy stride, and could work on his skating technique, but still manages to gain good speed in open space. He is mobile enough to play on the PK, using good edge work and staying in smart positioning to take away time and space while applying pressure. He uses his hands and speed to make effective offensive zone entries with control and has a good sense of where space is opening up and is efficient at getting there. Pastujov likes to shoot the puck and is very efficient at finishing plays, and does in many ways. Being very effective with his one-timer, able to get good power and accuracy consistently, often using it on the PP. His wrist shot is also dangerous, able to pick corners from distance. Pastujov has very soft hands and is able to control the puck very well. His quick hands allow him to keep defenders on their toes and makes it very difficult to defend against. He is very patient with the puck and is able to make smart plays in-tight and while under pressure. His vision is high-end, being able to identify where his teammates are at all times, allowing him to make consistent accurate passes, even through traffic. Very consistent at making the first pass to a teammate to start a breakout. He can handle the puck well on his back-hand so he can make very quick passes to exit the defensive zone efficiently. He needs to be more active with his stick and show more compete in the defensive zone while 5 on 5. He stays in good position and doesn’t look out of place, but he sometimes waits for things to happen, rather than forcing it himself. Pastujov has many high-end tools that will him a very effective player, and if he works on improving the rest of his game, look out.
Cole Sillinger, C, Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL)
Sioux City 4 – Sioux Falls 3 – January 15, 2021
Scouting report by Justin Froese
Cole Sillinger has found himself a new home and with 3 games in 3 nights is getting up to game speed with a trial by fire approach. Sillinger was notable right out of the gate for the Stampede but gave me mixed emotions as I digested his game. First off and foremost, his puck skill in tight areas is ridiculous at points and the creativity of his arsenal is quite impressive. He’s the carpenter who shows up to every job with all of his tools and building materials and doesn’t have to go back to home depot constantly for ancillary items. What is unique and interesting about him that enables success is how well he sees the ice and how he plans his approach. In support he’s constantly above the puck, hunting for an opportunity and in this situation it looked much like how Tampa Bay sets up their offense in a 2-3 formation. This bird’s eye view from Sillinger allows him to surf above pucks battles, survey opportunities from high to low and funnel down into space behind coverage, often undetected and ready to make a play on first touch with a quick catch and release play. His aggression to attack space and model rocket approach to building speed is a quick way for him to mask the shortcomings of his skating abilities and attack downhill by timing plays and attacking defenders with manipulative maneuvers in hopes of catching them rooted down and not able to stick with him. What does concern me is that all though Sillinger can overwhelm at times, the question I have is about how it translates. Sillinger attacks often in forward strides and in tight areas shows limited dexterity in gaining room off the inside shoulder of defenders to beat them clean although he shows the proper patience to wait for the cue to make his move. The feet leave me wanting more and limit the effectiveness of his individual advances with limited space. What I consistently saw from him was partially summer legs, but a player who was forcing a style to sell his abilities at the level and not for what will get him to the next. Several times, Sillinger opted to attack in 1V scenarios instead of using more effective and available outlets, he was flying the zone to generate offense, taking runs and taking himself out of the play to make a hit and not stopping on pucks or applying a consistent level of pressure. The goal he scored in this game showed elite body shape and how seamlessly he can get to his release point without dusting the puck. It was a junior hockey goal, scored from a stride inside the blueline past a goaltender who made a mental blunder, assuming time had expired. I have no doubt Sillinger will be a menace offensively for as long as he is in the league, but what I will be looking for is how he works on his game away from the puck where engagement and details to your approach is the difference between a producer and a fringe roster player. He figures in to be an offensive contributor if he figures it out.
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