NHL Draft Notebook: Cristall, Leonard, Lindstein & 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:
ANDREW CRISTALL | RW | KELOWNA ROCKETS | OCTOBER 5, 2022
PRESEASON RANKING: 22
Scouting report by Mitch Savard
Andrew Cristall is such a fun player to watch. He’s an extremely talented offensive player who’s a threat to both score goals and set them up. The first thing that really stands out about him is his ability and confidence in shooting the puck. He’s got a quick release and is very accurate with his wrist shot. He’s not afraid to challenge goalies from bad angles and oftentimes can find that sliver of daylight to score. Another fascinating thing about him is how good he is with the puck on his backhand. I don’t think I’ve seen anyone as comfortable with the puck on his backhand as Cristall is. Firstly, his ability to elevate pucks while tight to the net is mesmerizing, and secondly, he constantly makes backhand saucer passes or long passes off the backhand look routine. Another aspect of his game I was impressed with was his poise carrying the puck and making smart decisions with it. For a smaller guy he protects the puck very well, using his edges to quickly turn his body and shelter the puck from opponents, and is able to stickhandle his way out of pressure in some small areas. He’s an intelligent player who’s able to read defensive positioning as he enters the offensive zone, which allows him to make smart decisions — delaying upon entry to find trailers, attacking his defenseman, or playing it safe and dumping it in. The only area I would like to see him improve in would be his defensive play. He tends to cheat a bit and will blow his zone early looking for offensive opportunities, and is a bit weak along the boards in his zone. However, these are things that will come with maturity so I’m not too worried about them. Cristall has started this season on a heater, if he continues this pace he’s going to force people to add his name to the top-10 discussion for this upcoming draft.
RYAN LEONARD | C | USNTDP (USHL) | OCTOBER 3, 2022
PRESEASON RANKING: 48
Scouting report by Douglas Larson
Ryan Leonard is a well-rounded forward who can impact the game in many different aspects due in large part to the constant effort he puts in. He skates well while doing the little things right, being hard on the forecheck, and putting in work tracking back to the play. The pressure he put on defenders while forechecking was superb. He sets his sights on the puck-carrier and keeps those feet moving. He is all for laying bone-crushing hits when the opportunity is presented as well. He was found putting in work down low and in the corners a lot this game, along with having a strong net-front presence. Leonard’s skating ability is just fine. His speed is average but he has good edges that help out his overall mobility on the ice. His shooting mechanics looked good, and I especially thought his wrister came off with some high velocity. However, his accuracy could improve as he missed the net a few times and wasn’t able to really pick a corner on any of his shots. His game has a power forward like look to it, with some offensive skill involved as well. I think his ceiling and upside is limited, but his floor as a NHL player is really high to me. Leonard projects as a real solid third-line forward with some second line upside that can contribute on the penalty kill in the NHL. I’d look to select him in the back half of the second round in the upcoming draft.
THEO LINDSTEIN | D | BRYNAS IF J20 | OCTOBER 8, 2022
PRESEASON RANKING: 20
Scouting report by Fredrik Haak
Theo Lindstein shows a lot of initiative every time he hops onto the ice. He makes transporting the puck look easy with a great flow in his feet and huge composure with the puck. He also makes decisive passes that open up the ice for his teammates. As an offensive defenseman, he has a lot of confidence with the puck and at the offensive blue line. He looks for openings all the time, especially on the power play. He is active and tries to be a playable option for teammates all the time. His defense is also good, especially in the offensive zone where he often takes a few quick steps forward to put pressure on the puck-carrier and also in the neutral zone where he always moves and puts himself in the right spot and he has a good gap control. Lindstein is not bad at all in his own zone either, but there are still some areas for improvement. I would like to see him play more physical and tough along the boards and in front of the net. Overall, he can be a little too creative when he gets his hands on the puck, and that is something he needs to work on. I would also like to see him shoot more at the blue line instead of making one last pass. This was my second viewing of Lindstein and he continues to impress. I believe he will be a great offensive defender at NHL level some day in the next few years if he gets more consistent in his own zone and adds a little more confidence to take more shots at the blue line. At the moment, I would pick Lindstein inside the first round of the 2023 draft, around 20-25 overall.
EMIL JARVENTIE | LW | ILVES U20 | OCTOBER 18, 2022
PRESEASON RANKING: 38
Scouting report by Rasmus Tornqvist
Emil Jarventie is a skilled forward with high level offensive instincts. He’s not the biggest guy on the ice, but his nimble feet and soft hands make him a threat to score every time he enters the offensive zone. He impressed offensively in the game against TUTO, showcasing both his playmaking and scoring abilities. His wrist shot is both powerful and accurate, and he gets it off quickly and even while standing still. I was also impressed with the way he handled the puck in the defensive zone, where he often helped his team get the puck out of their own zone through smart, short passes to his open teammates, who could then take the puck out themselves or go for a breakout pass. Jarventie is especially useful on the power play, where he can run sequences from the right dot. His shot makes him a constant threat, and that opens up passing lanes that he is also good at recognizing. His defensive game is less surprisingly something that he will need to work on even though that wasn’t something he had to do a whole lot during this game. He does need to be smart with his decision-making against better competition, since he won’t be able to beat the opponents as easily as in this particular game. Jarventie is a smart player, however, so I wouldn’t say I’m particularly concerned with that aspect at this time. He is one of the most intriguing offensive prospects from Finland in this draft class, and I have him slotted in at the end of the third round as of this moment. If he can show that he’ll be able to play to his strengths against Mestis competition, I’m sure Jarventie can boost his draft stock and even rise as high as the second round.
ETIENNE MORIN | D | MONCTON WILDCATS | OCTOBER 17, 2022
PRESEASON RANKING: 78
Scouting report by Joey Fortin Boulay
Etienne Morin is a prominent defenseman who eats a lot of minutes and plays with tremendous poise. He’s a very focused, heads-up player with a solid vision all around the ice. He’s incredibly calm with the puck and shows some elusiveness to separate himself from opponents. He also attacks the neutral zone with confidence and sets plays in transition. He makes decisive outlets, from zone exit passes to feeding the weak side one-timer on the power play. He creates many opportunities for his teammates thanks to his brain and vision, especially when he rides the blue line and leads the play from there. He shows great gap control and anticipation to neutralize plays or to keep the puck in the offensive zone. He has a strong stick and puts relentless pressure on the puck-carrier. A smart shooter, Morin puts a lot of pucks to the net with his wrist shot, but can also release some good slap shots. Morin knows well how to use his body and competitiveness to separate opponents from the puck. He plays with physicality along the boards by pinning down opponents. He’s an agile skater with quick stops and changes of direction, but displays some sluggish skating in general. He doesn’t get much traction as forwards get past him easily. Morin exhibits a weird stance with wide feet and his crossovers don’t look very smooth either. With consistent work on his skating, Morin could reach a second pair defenseman career at the pro levels with power play time. Morin proves himself as a potent blueliner that could hear his name called by the third round of the draft next summer.
DENVER BARKEY | C | LONDON KNIGHTS | OCTOBER 16, 2022
PRESEASON RANKING: 39
Scouting report by Olivia McArter
Denver Barkey is a top-line forward who is a smooth skater with a decent two-step acceleration. He sets himself up very well not only the slot for potential shots but all over the ice surface to intercept plays and block shots. Having a slightly smaller stature benefits him in zipping around his opponents and able to sneak behind to take away possession. Barkey challenges well with okay anticipation but excels when in high intensity moments. He shows to have decent sight and awareness of the play and is always moving to place himself in a better position. He has an okay cruising speed but more often than not he was unable to catch the main play. Based on this view, I project Barkey to be a second round contender.