Notebook: Othmann, Robidas, Ufko & 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 from the past week.
Justin Janicke, LW, Team USA U18 (USHL)
USA U-18 2 – Chicago 5 – December 5, 2020
Scouting report by Ray Napientek
Justin Janicke showed why he is a solid prospect in the upcoming draft, playing a solid all-around game. Active and a difference-maker in all three zones throughout the game. Displays a quick release. Strong shot without a ton of windup on his wrist shot. Good playmaker with the puck on his stick. Nice vision finding open teammates. Can get careless with the puck trying to do too much and not make the easy play. Back checks with a purpose, especially for his age. Takes pride in his own zone and checking Keeps his feet moving, knows where to be and supports his teammates well. Can get to top speed quickly. Smooth, powerful stride. Turns on his edges quickly and does not lose speed in transition. Always seems to be around the puck. Works hard along the boards. Did a nice job using his speed to get to the net with drive and purpose. Takes away space in the defensive zone. Shows a knack for battling his man for pucks. Active with his stick. Did not show up on the scoresheet but does a lot of little things to keep his team in the offensive zone and/or getting the puck out of his own blue line.
Brennan Othmann, LW, EHC Olten (SL)
EHC Olten 1 – Cahux-de-Fonds 0 – December 2, 2020
Scouting report by Josh Bell
One of a handful of CHL players headed overseas on loan to start 2020-21, Brennan Othmann has slid into the men’s league very well. While he’s not seeing a whole lot of ice time at this point, he’s using his time well. Right off the bat, he shows good offensive awareness, going to support his teammate who is battling along the boards, just in time to grab a sliding puck. He cuts straight to the slot, firing off a shot with four attackers closing in. He shows some very good acceleration and elusiveness, although he does need to work on his stride recoil, sometimes giving off high kicks rather than smooth extensions. But he keeps his shoulders rotating, and has a good first two steps. His pass reception is excellent, able to grab pucks that are behind him or in his feet. He shows off some very quick hands to bring the puck to his pockets or give off one-touch passes. He shows great vision, sliding a deceptive pass between two attackers in the neutral zone to lead an entry. Finally, arguably his biggest strength is his shot. He shows off great shot mechanics, pointing his toe towards the net and showing good downward force into his stick. He fired shots off both legs in this one, a very transferrable trait with the ability to get shots off from anywhere on the ice quickly. I’d like to see Othmann get more ice time, to get a large sample size of his game, but he’s proving why he’s a top prospect early on.
Justin Robidas, C, Val d’Or Foreurs (QMJHL)
Rimouski 1 – Val d’Or Foreurs 5 – November 29, 2020
Scouting report by Olivia McArtur
Justin Robidas is a smaller player and went slightly unnoticed in this game. He is a very smooth skater with long strides and is very good at pressuring his opponents into making moves. His edge work is favourable and is good with his transitions forwards to backwards, and side to side. Robidas is an excellent heads up player. He was able to see where his teammates were for scoring opportunities and was capable of getting open for clean passes which were often tape to tape. In this game, Robidas was able to get into scoring positions and has a quick release. He finished the night off with two points, one goal, one assist. Something I noticed he needs to work on is his defensive game. I need to watch more games of Robidas to get a better view of him as this game was not a very good first viewing.
Fyodor Svechkov, LW, Lada Togliatti (Russia U18)
Nizhekamsk 2 – Togliatti 2 – October 14, 2020
Scouting report by Donesh Mazloum
Fyodor Svechkov was really impressive for Ladya Togliatti in this viewing and is one of my favourite MHL draft eligibles that I’ve seen to date. Svechkov’s primary strength is in his vision and passing abilities in the offensive zone. He is a step ahead mentally at this level and consistently dictates play from shift to shift. Not only does he excel at finding teammates who are open, he shows an enhanced ability to lead his teammates into advantageous positions with soft touch into open areas of the ice. In this game he was absolutely dicing up Reaktor with a menagerie of clever and creative passes. He shows an ability to not only take what is provided to him but rather actively manipulate the opposition’s defensive structure by baiting defenders to attack before making a quick pass to a teammate. One of the major reason’s that he’s able to make such quick decisions is that his head is always up scanning for teammates both with possession and before he actually receives a pass. A no-look, tape-to-tape pass or clever one-touch tip is fairly routine for him as he’s already obtained a mental picture of his options moments earlier. While Svechkov is a more natural playmaker, I like his instincts to hang around danger areas for scoring opportunities. He never admires his passes and once he gives up possession to a teammate, he immediately looks for space to get open for a return pass. That activity without the puck is seen in the defensive end as well as he is diligent in the backcheck and is effective in picking pucks out of scrums. That purpose of movement and unwillingness to simply watch the game happen around him will serve him well at all levels. If there is one area of Svechkov’s game that may not translate as seamlessly, it’s his average skating stride. While it isn’t a glaring issue at this level thanks to his lower body strength relative to his peers, there is a lack of pop and explosiveness from a standstill. Overall, I think there is a lot to like about Svechkov’s game as I see a player who has both elite offensive attributes and a mature game sense. He’s a safe bet as a top-60 player in this draft and I think he has first-round upside if he continues to develop his footspeed.
Ryan Ufko, D, Chicago Steel (USHL)
Chicago 5 vs. USA-U17 – November 27, 2020
Scouting report by Dylan Galloway
Ryan Ufko is a solid defensive defenceman who utilizes good positioning habits, a quick smart stick and good gap control to shut down opponent transitions and zone entries. While Ufko doesn’t seem to struggle to stay in a good defensive position, his forward skating lacks much in the way of speed or urgency. He knows he’s not a fast player and has long slow strides, so often stays back of the play giving himself plenty of time to adjust to oncoming players. Ufko displays some great senses though and is highly capable at shutting down the rush with an excellent gap, good contact and a sharp poke check. His ability to maintain a gap and close space for oncoming attackers is quite impressive and helps to ensure the puck stays to the safer areas of the ice in his DZ. Ufko also displays competence in being able to transition the puck well with smart passing plays on zone exits and through the neutral zone. If he can improve his footspeed, I think Ufko could be a really solid two-way defender at the next level.
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