Notebook: Guenther, Hreschuk, Martino & 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.
Zach Biggar, D, Acadie-Bathurst Titan (QMJHL)
Acadie-Bathurst 4 – Halifax 3 – November 20, 2020
Scouting report by Dylan Galloway
Zach Biggar’s defensive performance in this game was highly impressive. His ability to stay in front of his opponent through great gap control and solid mobility made it nearly impossible to gain the centre lane when entering the zone on his side. While Biggar doesn’t possess high-end speed, his mobility combined with his defensive anticipation allows him to react quickly to his opponent’s movements and shut down their attempts to beat him either to the inside or the outside. His ability to deny the high danger areas to opponents when they have the puck was really impressive and really the only time he failed at this was in a lost board battle in the corner to Zachary L’Heureux. When he is successful though he is able to successfully find ways to get the puck to lower pressure areas with high success and help to transition his team back up ice. In addition, I really like the way he utilized his body positioning to force opponents to the outside lane and then shut them down with a good stick check or rubbing them out. While Biggar isn’t a flashy player he’s a solid puck distributor and can effectively move the puck up ice either through consistent exit passes, or longer stretch passes. He’s very calm and poised under pressure and often highly confident with his positioning and puck placement. While I’m not sure of his overall upside, I think Biggar shows really solid intelligence through his consistent puck-moving ability and is definitely a player to watch in this draft.
Dylan Guenther, LW, Sherwood Park Crusaders (AJHL) – LOAN
Spruce Grove 4 – Sherwood Park 2 – November 14, 2020
Scouting report by Donesh Mozloum
This wasn’t Dylan Guenther’s best game however he still flashed some of the high-end skill that will likely result in his name being called early in this year’s draft. Guenther’s puck control and touch are major assets in the offensive zone. He is consistently adjusting and angling his hands and that conscious attention paid to where he’s carrying the puck makes him very difficult to predict. One area of his game that has improved drastically in the last couple of year’s is his ability to deal with physicality. A weakness when he first entered the junior ranks; in this game he was an imposing presence along the wall. Both his physical strength and his mentality in battles have come a long way. With the strides Guenther made throughout last season and to begin this year, there are now very few weaknesses in his game. He’s equally comfortable creating offence on the rush as he is from below the hashmarks. Both his shot and passing abilities are above average and he shows no glaring tendency towards one or the other. He shows quick mental processing speed as he finds lanes and exploits small mistakes by his opponent. There is a depth and well-rounded nature in his game that makes me supremely confident that he will carve out a top six role at the NHL level. I’m looking forward to seeing if Guenther can hit the ground running when the WHL starts back up. I think there’s an outside chance that he can work his way into the conversation to be the top pick in the draft.
Aidan Hreschuk, D, USNTDP (USHL)
USA U18 2 – Youngstown 5 – January 30, 2021
Scouting report by Dylan Galloway
Aidan Hreschuk is a steady presence on the blueline. A competent puck distributor, I like his poise and vision with passing ability. That passing ability comes from some really excellent habits with the puck, keeping it in his pocket and being able to open up his hips to really give him wide open angles for his passes. This also allows him to be slightly deceptive with his passes looking left, opening up his hips and making a smart pass to the right as an example. His smarts and poise make him a really solid two-way player and excellent on the backcheck. His skating and ability to open his hips wide allows him to be really mobile East and West and really kill the rush with an excellent poke check and a great gap. He’s also able to rub opponents out physically and makes it difficult to get to the dangerous areas of his defensive zone. In saying this Hreschuk is often a meat and potatoes type player. He consistently makes the right play but won’t blow you away with anything flashy. His passes consistently hit their mark, but are solid 10 – 20ft passes that help his team advance the play. In saying that I think Hreschuk provides a calm consistent presence on the blue line in all situations for his team and this could translate really well to the next level as a really solid 4th-5th defender.
Matthew Maggio, RW, SK Lejon (Hockeyettan)
SK Lejon 4 – Kiruna AIF 5 – January 31, 2021
Scouting report by Olivia McArtur
In this game, Matt Maggio performed well and had good compete throughout the whole game. He’s a good skater and often finds a bit of speed on his edges. Maggio has a decent slot presence where he’s able to generate shots and at different times, block the goalie. There was an instance where he was able to hold off his opponents for a scoring opportunity in which he capitalized on. For the most part, he had decent control of the puck but he could use some work on it. When he gained possession of the puck it often got picked off of him or it got too far out of reach that his opponents could snag it. His passing is okay, not always accurate nor safe and had a few giveaways in the offensive zone but he was often able to get the puck to his teammate.
Ayrton Martino, LW, Omaha Lancers (USHL)
Sioux City 2 – Omaha – 3 – February 5, 2021
Scouting report by Dylan Krill
Ayrton Martino has been very consistent with his play in the USHL and looks more comfortable and confident after each game. He reads the play very well and is constantly anticipating the play, trying to get an extra step ahead of opponents. He has very quick feet and is able to generate acceleration very efficiently, being a constant threat and keeping defenders on their toes. He was able to handle the puck well through the neutral zone and made offensive zone entries with control and also showed some skill with a nice toe-drag around a defender to show off some flash to his game. Martino displayed very good vision consistently all game, finding teammates through traffic and creating many high danger scoring chances. He was able to handle an off-target pass and still manage to make a difficult pass to his teammate in the slot for an easy goal, and finished the game with two assists. I’d like to see him be more engaged in the defensive zone and challenge opponents more. He applied good pressure and was able to make a nice takeaway with a stick lift, but it just wasn’t consistent enough. It seems like he’s thinking about what he’s going to do in the offensive zone before even having the puck, which concerns me a little about his defensive awareness. When watching Martino, you can tell he likes having the puck on his stick and is always hungry for offense. He understands how to find open lanes very well and is constantly taking advantage when space is given to him. As the season continues, I’m hoping to see more compete on both sides of the puck, to make his game even more impactful and effective.
Tyson Nash, RW, Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL)
Lethbridge 4 – Kelowna 5 – March 7, 2020
Scouting report by Kevin Wong
Tyson Nash offered a spirited performance in this match, playing the role of a grinder while on a line with Dylan Cozens. He possesses slightly above-average speed and can occasionally dart past opposing defenders in a straight line, although he tends to elevate his pace to that extent infrequently — primarily when he must chase down a loose puck upon entering the offensive zone. He is not a particularly creative player, and in this match he struggled to complete clean, open-ice passes to his teammates. He did not often connect with his teammates whenever the puck was on his stick, and there were times when he threw the puck up the middle of the rink with no available recipient in that area. As such, he was guilty of a few turnovers. Along the boards, he plays an aggressive style involving a frequent rate of bodychecking to separate the opponent from the puck. He hunts down pucks and hustles to the boards in order to apply pressure upon the opposing defense. On numerous occasions when he gained possession of the puck at the boards in this match, he utilized his edges and frame to pivot with it, shielding it from the opposing player next to him and buying space for himself to ring the puck along the boards. He sometimes instead chose to carry the puck around the back of the opposing net in an attempt to separate himself from the defender covering him. Nash found his best scoring opportunities in front of the net and in the slot. He scored on one such instance, converting a rebound after jostling for space at the net-front for 20 seconds. He did not handle the puck much in this match, however. In transition, he spent most of his time away from the puck against Kelowna. He preferred to engage in dump-and-chase plays in this match. He was assertive and energetic as a forechecker, but he did not force mistakes from the opponent and demonstrated limited vision with the puck. He recorded five shots and scored one goal in 13:40 of ice time against Kelowna, spending 64 percent of the game in the offensive zone and winning 43 percent of the 14 puck battles that involved him.
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