Notebook: Kisakov, Matier, Roulette & 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.
Charles Boutin, C, Blainville-Boisbriand Armada (QMJHL)
Blainville-Boisbriand 3 – Victoriaville 2 – May 8, 2021
Scouting report by Shaun Richardson
Charles Boutin entered the QMJHL following a very good Quebec Midget AAA career, but on this viewing the overall impression was one of a forward who has yet to come into his own at the junior level. Listed as a center, Boutin found himself lining up both at center and on the wing, which is to be expected of a younger player who is a bit further down the depth chart and still figuring out his role on the team. Skill wise, it was instantly noticeable where Boutin’s difficulty adjusting to the higher level of play stemmed from. His skating appeared clunky, and a wide turning radius paired with only modest speed left Boutin frequently trailing the play and unable meet the demands of constant directional changes. It seemed that in order to compensate, Boutin simplified his game into skating up and down his lane and predictably chasing pucks into the offensive zone and pursuing opponents back toward his own net. Boutin’s puck touches were limited as he was unable to gather in many of the passes sent his way but, on the one occasion that he did gain possession with some space, he was able to funnel to the net for a decent scoring chance. In puck protection, Boutin’s straight legged posture and inability to win possession, let alone grind out a battle, left him defending more often than not. In the defensive zone he tried to be active and did survey the ice well but at times Boutin seemed hesitant to challenge for loose pucks and unable to anticipate the play, a further indication of the difficulty he had with the speed of the game. One thing Boutin did provide was an honest effort. He’s a hard worker who should be able to build off that effort and although this is his draft year, it’s unlikely Boutin is ready for that jump at this stage in his development.
Tyson Galloway, D, Calgary Hitmen (WHL)
Lethbridge 3 – Calgary 6 – April 23, 2021
Scouting report by Joel Henderson
Right off the bat you can see that as far as potential size, stride, and physicality in Tyson Galloway. He can hang. He’s got a good push to his initial first few strides which allow him to constantly be adjusting his positioning and angles all over the ice but certainly can work on lengthening his stride to gain an easier top speed. It is almost as if he’s constantly shuffling around for prime position to strike. Quite a few defenders prefer a fluid constant motion and Galloway isn’t one of them. It seems he’d rather be where he thinks is the best position to adjust and make the next defensive strike. He’s already 6-foot-4 and over 200 pounds and finishes checks along the boards fairly consistently. There are times where I feel he makes defensive positioning his highest priority and does not want to take many risks or gambles because of it. In this game, he only pinched or attempted to rush the puck a few times. You can certainly notice his shoulder checking when retrieving passes but did have a couple moments where he cycled the puck in the d-zone to a non-existent teammate. As far as transitions, Galloway receives pucks well, rotates around the puck in reception and makes strong, simple outlet passes. As I said, it was rare for him to want the puck on his stick for more than a few moments. His stickhandling and passing finesse are actually surprisingly quick, but tends to feel the most comfortable when the puck is directly in front of him. He didn’t pass or manipulate potential passing angles from his hip pocket at all. Overall, I’d say Galloway shows well as a physical, smart, defensive-style defenseman who could handle the pace of pro hockey. In order to tap into more of a two-way rush style intuition defender, he’d have to change quite a bit of his approach.
Alexander Kisakov, LW, MHK Dynamo (MHL)
MHK Dynamo 2 – Krasnaya Armiya 1 – March 22, 2021
Scouting report by Derek Neumeier
Alex Kisakov is a tricky prospect to evaluate because he does some things very well, but the weaknesses to his game are quite notable and seem hard to fix. He is truly sublime when he gets the puck on his stick, able to make fancy, high-end plays with it. He has the poise and vision that you want out of a playmaker, but he also shows a proficiency for speeding up the pace or making a quick surprise move to open something up for himself. There’s just a naturalness to what he can do with the puck. Moves around the ice pretty quickly and fluidly, and can easily receive passes and control the puck at speed. Shows some deception and slipperiness with his skating. Shot is somewhat weak, though it is quick, accurate, and he can disguise his release. Plays at a nice pace getting up and down the ice, including giving that extra bit of effort on the backcheck if his man is a threat. The biggest issue with his game is that he’s such a perimeter player, and he almost has to be. He’s skinny and frail, and when he tries to get inside he usually gets bumped off the puck at best or gets absolutely crushed at worst. He can occasionally carry the puck toward the net through traffic at this level with his hands and feet, though you really have to wonder how much that’s going to work for him at higher levels. He’s an easy player to physically win the puck from, and he loses more 50-50 puck battles than he wins. His frame is slight, so it seems unlikely that much time in the weight room is going to make much difference for him. His numbers for this season are a little inflated, as he played on a deep team with a lot of other guys who could draw attention and do heavy lifting. Kisakov has some NHL upside as a second-line offensive supporter and power play specialist, though there is some risk about him reaching that ceiling.
Jack Matier, D, Ottawa 67’s (OHL)
Kingston 3 – Ottawa 7 – February 25, 2021
Scouting report by Mat Sheridan
Jack Matier had a solid showing against the Frontenacs. Suiting up on a pairing with Kevin Bahl, he made quick, smart decisions with the puck on his stick. He is a decent skater who is able to pick up speed through his crossovers. One thing that he could improve though is getting lower to the ice. In the defensive zone, he is good at stepping up at the blue line and being physical to apprehend the opponent with the puck. He has good gap control and consistently keeps opposing players to the outside, limiting their chance of getting a good shot off. He battles hard in the corners and is good at winning puck battles. He is also good at clearing the front of his net of any danger and boxing out opponents from getting to the dangerous areas in the slot. In transition, Matier does a good job at recognizing the play as it unfolds and is able to hit teammates with an accurate pass in stride. In the offensive zone, he has a hard, accurate shot that he is able to get on net with ease. He is also able to find teammates in the slot for scoring chances numerous times throughout the game. Overall, Matier is a solid defenseman who does a good job at limiting the other team’s scoring chances. He still has to round out his overall game but could be a valuable pick for a team in the later rounds of the draft.
Connor Roulette, LW, Team Canada (WJC-18)
Sweden 1 – Canada 8 – May 5, 2021
Scouting report by Donesh Mazloum
Despite solid point totals with Seattle, I have never been huge promoter of Connor Roulette. I always felt there was a disconnect between his usage as a top-line offensive player and what the eye test suggested his ceiling may be. Due to that disconnect, Roulette has been one of the more difficult players for me to slot into the draft ranking. With the way Canada deployed him in this tournament and his subsequent performance however, I feel like I’ve gained some clarity into where Roulette’s value most lies. Playing a support role for Canada, Roulette was able to maximize his skills while playing within his limitations. Roulette’s primary weakness at this moment is in his ability to get up and down the ice with pace. He is incredibly laboured in his acceleration and poses very little threat when attacking with possession on the rush. He is an easy player for opposing back-checkers to track down. In Seattle, where he is relied on more heavily for offense, I often find him cheating up ice to gain separation more easily. In this game, he was consistently much tighter to the play when starting the rush from the defensive zone and the results were much more promising in my eyes. Instead of trying to stretch the ice with his feet, he was starting the rush from down low and playing facilitator. I was really impressed with the myriad of one-touch passes off the wall and his ability to hit his linemates in full stride with soft touch. While this meant that he was often the third forward into the offensive zone and spent less overall time with the puck on his stick, I feel that he was a much more efficient player with this shift in mentality that came with his role. When he’s focused on creating chances for his teammates as opposed to for himself, the skill he possesses shines through. He doesn’t quite have the dynamism in his hands to dangle through defenders, but he does have the touch to create space and passing lanes. The other area I thought was much improved in this tournament was his effort level. He can still be prone to drive-by’s and as a whole he could be tougher to play against however much more focus was put into his defensive game as well as getting to the net-front offensively. Overall, this version of Roulette is easily my favourite version. I think this is the type of game he needs to play to find a niche in the pro game.
Victor Sjoholm, D, HV71 (SHL)
HV71 2 – Orebro 5 – January 9, 2021
Scouting report by Austin Broad
Despite playing a limited role against Orebro, Victor Sjoholm had a solid defensive showing in-game. He was always aware of his assignment and was able to maintain great defensive positioning throughout the game. When defending the rush he maintained great gap control and was able to use his positioning and his stick to breakup multiple zone entry attempts by the attacking player. Sjoholm is able to make smart breakout passes that allow his team to transition from the defensive zone to the offensive zone, he never tries to do anything that isn’t within his skillset. In the offensive zone he had a tendency to remain stagnant in his position and didn’t move around to try and give his teammates an outlet at the blue line. His skating didn’t stand out all that much but it also shouldn’t hold him back given the rest of his tools. With his defensive game being as good as developed as it is he will make a safe selection at the upcoming draft and the right team should be able to help bring his offensive to the next level.
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