NHL Draft Notebook: Barlow, Spynar, Perreault & More
The 2023 NHL Draft is shaping up to be one of the best in recent memory, and we’re unlocking scouting reports on prospects from all over the globe with our NHL Draft Notebook.
The FCHockey scouts are scattered across the globe searching for those ‘diamonds in the rough’ in an already stacked draft class.They spend countless hours watching both live games and game video to get the best analysis on the prospects entering the upcoming NHL Draft.
Here’s a glimpse at some of their analysis:
COLBY BARLOW | RW | OWEN SOUND (OHL) | JANUARY 12, 2023
MIDTERM RANKING: 16
Scouting report by Austin Broad
Colby Barlow is a big-bodied scoring forward with an elite shot. He is at his best when he is engaged physically and gets himself open in the prime scoring areas of the offensive zone. His shot is his best asset — he is arguably the best shooter in the draft and is easily the best pure scorer the OHL group has to offer in 2023. He has lethal accuracy and generates a ton of power when given time and space. Barlow’s nose for the net is a big plus as well. When he is engaged, he drives to the net front and has a knack for cleaning up loose pucks and making the goalie’s life extremely difficult. Barlow is a physical player, but not in the traditional sense. He doesn’t deliver bone crushing hits, but instead he uses his strength and physicality to outmuscle his opponents and gain positional advantage. He seemingly can drive the net and use his body to get through traffic whenever he wants, leading prime scoring chances for he or his teammates. The issues in Barlow’s game surround his consistency and his skating. He doesn’t have the high-end pace you want in a top tier prospect, but skating can be a bit overrated at times. I still think he needs to find another gear to help him transition when it’s time to turn pro, but that is something he can work on over the next few seasons. My biggest issue with Barlow is his consistency. When he’s engaged and going he can be virtually unstoppable at both ends of the ice, but there are some points in the game where his engagement level seems to fall off. If he can work on this and work on his skating a smidge, he could be a high-level prospect. I think Barlow has top-15 potential, right now I would be comfortable taking him anywhere between 10-15 in the first round. His ceiling is a top-six scoring forward and he can play in all situations given his play style. Even then, I think his floor is a middle-six forechecking guy who can score occasionally and find a way to carve out a role on special teams.
ANDREW CRISTALL | RW | KELOWNA (WHL) | JANUARY 6, 2023
MIDTERM RANKING: 9
Scouting report by Joel Henderson
This had to be one of the most comically exaggerated games I’ve seen of Andrew Cristall. His strengths are in the speed and control of his hands alongside the creativity processing of situations in the offensive zone. It leads to him being one of the most adjusting and adapting players in small space in the ozone. Most of his play in this game was just him laying in the weeds. He was exiting the zone early, not coming back harder on defensive positioning, letting others do heavy lifting out of the defensive zone and through the neutral zone, and not playing physical at all. He does have physicality in him at times but it didn’t show today. What Cristall did do was capitalize on the opportunities to attack the zone with speed and adapt to opening skating lanes and shot lanes. I think he got maybe three great scoring chances and scored on two of them, one of which was a purposed bank shot off a goalie back from behind the goal line. He’s relentlessly creative and outlandishly dangerous when he has control of the puck when there are moving parts in the offensive zone but was essentially non-existent outside of those few moments and one solid shot block in the defensive zone.
GABRIEL PERREAULT | LW | USNTDP (USHL) | DECEMBER 17, 2022
MIDTERM RANKING: 22
Scouting report by Brandon Holmes
Gabriel Perreault is a dynamic offensive weapon who uses his skill to find his way into scoring areas on the ice. The standout in Perreault’s game is his creativity and stickhandling ability. He has gifted hands and is regularly looking to challenge opposing defenders one-on-one with his skill to open up space off the rush or find his way through traffic with the puck on his stick. He is a volume shooter who rarely passes up opportunities to get the puck on net, often taking the looks that are presented to him while still being mostly disciplined in his shot selection. He does a good job of fighting his way into high-danger areas in the offensive zone, making himself available for passes to the slot from his teammates as well as opportunities at rebounds and deflections around the crease. He processes play with the puck on his stick in the mindset of a goal scorer, though he does possess capable playmaking ability with strong vision and reliable passing accuracy. Perreault is a fairly agile skater, though I believe his straightline speed could use some work, as his stride length and acceleration were fairly inconsistent and an added gear in terms of speed could open up even more offensive opportunities for him off of the rush. In future viewings, I would like to see Perreault continue to work on his skating and add more strength to his frame to both hold up against larger opponents as well as get more power behind his shot. At the moment, I would project Perreault as a potential top-six winger at the NHL level and is worthy of a pick in the top-30 of the 2023 draft.
JAN SPYNAR | RW | RIMOUSKI (QMJHL) | DECEMBER 3, 2022
MIDTERM RANKING: NR
Scouting report by Joey Fortin Boulay
Jan Sprynar is a proficient shooter who’s a menace on and off the puck in the offensive zone. His main weapon is obviously his pro level shot, with which he constantly finds holes though goalies, but he stands out for his dangerous flair around the net as well. He’s always well in position in the offensive zone, roaming around the net for open spots and making himself forgotten by his opponents. A power-play specialist from the flank, he unleashes a hard and precise one-timer that often finds the back of the net. He’s got fluid hands and shows decent creativity with the puck. Sprynar skates fairly well — he’s not a burner by any means but he displays good stance and leg extension in his strides. He usually keeps his legs moving and forechecks actively. He uses his body effectively to separate opponents from the puck, although he doesn’t necessarily play a physical game. A responsible player, Sprynar keeps looking to eliminate passing lanes from his man and consciously covers his defenseman when he jumps in. On the downside, he has issues getting the puck out of his zone and plays with an inconsistent pace, as he was visibly less intense when his team was leading. Nonetheless, Sprynar remains an interesting prospect with superior shooting abilities to exploit. I see him as a bottom third round/upper fourth round pick in the 2023 draft.
THEO LINDSTEIN | D | Brynäs IF (J20) | DECEMBER 7, 2022
MIDTERM RANKING: 34
Scouting report by Fredrik Haak
Theo Lindstein is a speedy defender that takes every chance he has to join the rush and be a part of the offense. He is a player to pay attention to every time he starts a breakout with fantastic first passes. He has a sense that makes him comfortable with bringing the puck forward without putting himself under pressure. He has great judgement on when to pass or keep carrying the puck on his own. He is a problem solver on the ice, and tight situations get solved smoothly. Lindstein also has a good shot that he really likes to use from the blue line. He reads the game well without the puck, too, and often takes a few steps forward in the neutral zone to break up a play or just apply pressure on opponents. He shows a good gap control and does not get outskated in situations where it’s a battle for a loose puck. Lindstein is not bad at all when it gets crowded in his own zone, but here are areas to improve. He can be a little too opportunistic and tries to move forward too fast and therefore gets stuck in his eagerness to be offensive if he has a chance to get his hands on the puck. Sometimes it is better to take a step forward, finish the situation, and then start a breakout more safely. I also would like to see him play more physical and tough along the boards and in front of the net. This was my third viewing of Lindstein and he is on a high level for sure. But with the defensive problems that I see I would like to move him down a bit and pick him closer to the middle of the second round of the 2023 draft.
JAYSON SHAUGABAY | C | GREEN BAY (USHL) | NOVEMBER 25, 2022
MIDTERM RANKING: NR
Scouting report by Douglas Larson
Jayson Shaugabay is a elusive, offensive-driven forward who excels at creating plays for his teammates. He really showed off all the skills elite playmakers have in the NHL in this game. The shiftiness in his skating, his smooth working hands, and the ability to have success making plays on the rush at a high pace. When you put all those tools together, he becomes one dangerous player with the puck on his stick and ones the opposition needs to be aware of when he’s on the ice. Shaugabay displayed some great vision out there when it came to finding teammates, and made decisions on where to go with the puck real fast. His skating is average, nothing that jumps off the page to me but there’s enough there for me to not worry about it in the long term. He made almost zero mistakes out there, but one thing he needs to get into more of a habit of is shooting the puck. He deferred to a passing option at times where it looked like a shot was his best option. He’s an intriguing offensive player that blends in well on a teams third line and possibly gets some power play time. I’d look to select Shaugabay right around the start of the fifth round in the 2023 draft.