Notebook: World Under-18s Edition
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.
With the 2021 IIHF World Under-18 Hockey Championship kicking off today, we’re highlighting recent reports on some of the participants in the tournament. Keep an eye on FCHockey’s Notebook over the next two weeks, as we take you inside the World U18s and show you some reports from the tournament.
Sean Behrens, D, Team Blue (All-American Game) – Team USA
Team White 1 – Team Blue 7 – April 7, 2021
Scouting report by Dylan Galloway
Sean Behrens can play on both sides of the puck and displayed that in this game. He consistently found ways to drive the puck from the point to lower and deeper in the zone and was also able to jump up into a number of rush attempts. I found his reading and anticipation of the play to be really good and part of why he was able to be effective on both sides of the puck. Having said that there were limits to this in his physical tools. While he was able to smartly work his way in from the point, he still at times struggled to break through from the perimeter and was reduced to a nominal threat at best with his shot, and should have been trying to make more passing attempts to the slot area. I also find his skating to be overall solid, but inconsistent. When his brain and feet work together he can activate onto pucks quickly and win races to give his team the advantage. At times though, I found he stopped moving his feet when stickhandling the puck or trying to defend the rush and it allowed his opponents to gain positional advantage on him. Behrens doesn’t mind playing a bit physically and can be good at using his physical tools to separate opponents from the puck but this can take him out of the play at times. I’d like to see him tighten his gap more and utilize his poke check more often than trying to play as physical as he does. Overall, I think Behrens has some intriguing parts to his game that could make him a solid two-way contributor as a depth NHL defender.
Kirill Gerasimyuk, G, SKA-Varyagi (MHL)
SKA-Varyagi 5 – MHK Dynamo 4 – March 7, 2021
Scouting report by Austin Broad
Kirill Gerasimyuk has a calming demeanor to his game, he is methodical with each movement and does not over pursue the puck. He can quickly move from side to side using his lower-body strength to push his body where it needs to go. In this game, he struggled tracking the puck from distance. Three of the four goals he gave up all came from further back and Gerasimyuk didn’t react in time to make the save. He rarely finds himself out of position, usually, he is square to the shooter and is able to cover most of the net with his frame. In the third period, while trailing 4-2, Gerasimyuk faced a breakaway and due to his frame and his positioning in the net, he took away any shooting lanes forcing his opponent to shoot the puck wide of the net. The most impressive thing Gerasimyuk displayed in this game was his composure. He gave up four goals, three of which he would have liked back but his attitude never changed, he never looks rattled or angry he kept himself calm and under control and eventually helped his team get the win. There are enough positives in his game to see him as one of the better goalies in the draft.
Niko Huuhtanen, RW, Tappara U20 (U20 SM-sarja) – Team Finland
Tappara U20 5 – Assat U20 2 – March 5, 2021
Scouting report by Derek Neumeier
If nothing else, Niko Huuhtanen is certainly one of the most unique players in this draft. There are some elements to his game that are fantastic, and some that are real concerns. This is a guy who absolutely loves to score goals, and he’ll consistently do whatever he can to make that happen. He’s confident in himself and his shooting ability, throwing a high volume of pucks on net, and for good reason. His wrist shot is quite hard and accurate, and he can dust the puck off with a move or two to get it away from an enemy stick and get himself into a better shooting position. Sometimes he seems like he’s going to dent the puck with how heavily and intensely he’s handling it. Definitely better in the cycle than off the rush, and he has the ability to find his teammates with passes instead of only looking for the shot, but he can also wind it up for a big rush from time to time. He’s a little awkward with his one-timer mechanics, but when he connects, he really connects. He has a genuine knack for tracking and reading the play, which really helps him get the puck in dangerous areas. Plays with a lot of grit and determination, you can tell that he’s dialed in most of the time. He’s a naturally thick, strong kid, and he’ll play the body to gain an advantage. Wins more than an average share of pucks from board battles and blocks shots without hesitation. However, with Huuhtanen it’s hard to not worry about the downsides. He’s clumsy and awkward on the ice, and not particularly athletic. He’s not a good skater at all, and doesn’t seem like he would be overly nimble or agile off the ice, either. He really struggles with his pivots and direction changes, and can easily get caught trailing the play. Conditioning and pace of play are both big issues. He puts in work without the puck, but his ability to read what’s unfolding around him defensively is not nearly as good as it is offensively. Huuhtanen is definitely a flawed player who will need plenty of hands-on development, but there could be a diamond in the rough here if a team can develop up his athleticism and conditioning.
Wyatt Johnston, C, Windsor Spitfires (OHL)
Kingston 2 – Windsor 10 – March 1, 2020
Scouting report by Mat Sheridan
Wyatt Johnston looked solid in his game against the Frontenacs. Suiting up on a line with Will Cuylle and Jean-Luc Foudy, he finished the game with a goal and two assists. Johnston was good at finding open ice in the offensive zone and presenting himself as an option for a scoring chance. He was hard on the forecheck when the puck was dumped into the zone and won a few puck battles. His skating is one of the stronger aspects of his game. He’s got a great low stance and a powerful stride that allows him to gain speed quickly. In transition, he was not afraid to attack open lanes with the puck on his stick and was able to gain speed using his crossovers. Johnston was good at coming back to provide support for his defenders but jumped a little early on some plays, eliminating himself as an option for his defender. He has good vision and had no trouble finding open passing lanes. One thing I would like to see him work on is his decision-making with the puck. He tends to throw the puck into the slot without a viable option when he could have held onto it a little longer and found an open teammate. Johnston has a decent shot but does not use it often. Overall, he makes his teammates better when he is on the ice and is always moving his feet. He has good tools at his disposal but he needs to round out his overall game.
Logan Stankoven, C, Kamloops Blazers (WHL)
Victoria 3 – Kamloops 4 – April 11, 2021
Scouting report by Joel Henderson
I think Logan Stankoven is about as ready of a player as you’re going to have in that what he is now is fairly close to what he is going to be moving forward. He skates with a wider frame and quick strides which hinders the power in his top speed but gives him the ability to shift his weight and explode laterally if he needs to on zone entries. That same explosiveness lets him get to loose pucks first. His shot is certainly really incredible and he partners that with an understanding of stick positions, shifts in body weight, and the mindset of a quick strike shooter. The puck can come on and off his stick extremely quick. In all forms, that is his best pro asset. You have to keep him in check no matter what. Defensively, he relies a bit too much on stick checks and pickpocket type approaches and I’d like to see him focus more on being between players and the net. I think he lets players slip past him into open space a bit too often. Along the boards is where he leverages his body and low centre of gravity more often to gain possession. His speed and shot certainly project to the NHL level and he could be a dynamic fit into a team’s top-nine fairly easily. If you need help scoring goals, Stankoven can get you those.
Arvid Sundin, LW, Team Sweden U18 (Exhibition Game)
Sweden U18 3 – Sweden U19 2 – February 11, 2021
Scouting report by Fredrik Haak
Arvid Sundin makes most of his impact in this game by playing with a lot of speed and frenzy on the ice. He plays smarter and is more effective in what he decides to do than he did last season. In this exhibition game between two really good teams, Sundin took his role and made a good performance. He has great fluid on the ice and he outskates many players by having good frequency in his feet and does not stand still many times. For example, he wins almost every battle against defenders when chasing the puck down deep in the offensive zone after a dump from his teammates. He throws himself into situations and goes straight against the goal to get his hand on rebounds and he also wins battles along the boards. Sundin shows a great working ethic by going 100 percent in his backcheck and working hard with his stick to win loose pucks in all three zones. I also like that he likes to complete his job by setting a hit or two on opponents to make them feel that they have him chasing all the time. Opponents get very little time to be creative when Sundin is on the ice, and he gets a lot of time on the penalty kill as a result of that play. Most of the time, he sets himself in good positions and has an okay view of what is happening on the ice. Sundin is not afraid of handling the puck even though it was not a lot of shifts in the offensive areas. But when he was in the offensive zone he is meticulous and twists and turns to find great plays. He had an assist tonight on the power play that was an example of that. Sundin had two shots (one from the neutral zone) and I would like to see him be more dangerous in that part. Overall, tonight I like what I see in Sundin and he is a player that could be really useful for many teams ahead, especially as hard-working player that could also help the first two lines to score goals.