August 27, 2019

August Notebook – Lehoux

Every season, scouts from Future Considerations spend countless hours gathering information on the next wave of NHL talent coming down the pipe. Future Considerations Quebec-based scout Andy Lehoux is no different.

Here is Lehoux’s notebook for August.

Jérémie Poirier, D, 6-0, 192, 6-2-2002
Canada 7 @ Czech Republic 1 – Hlinka Gretzky Cup – August 7, 2019
Poirier is an incredibly skilled and talented offensive defenseman, showing the ability to make defenders look foolish and pick apart defenses with his creativity and offensive instincts. He loves to jump into the play, often taking the role of a fourth attacker staying close to the action and ready to step-up at any moment. He gets into passing lanes and jumps when he sees an opportunity. He’s very creative and deceptive with the puck, using head fakes and fake slap shots to create space for his shot. He possesses some outstanding puck skills as well, making him a threat in one-on-one situations. He loves to make quick, shifty moves from the blue line to beat his man and step up into a clean shooting lane. His wrist and slap shot are both very powerful, but he will need to improve his accuracy a bit, as he missed the net quite often on great opportunities. Despite all his talent, Poirier has a lot to work on this upcoming season. His biggest weakness is his unwillingness to take a hit to make a play. He shies from physical battles and will dump the puck or step aside the play to avoid getting into a physical confrontation, leading to many unnecessary turnovers. His stride lacks power and explosion, which, right now, prevents him from being a real threat in transition and catching up to speedy attackers off the rush. His lack of strength is evident, which also hurts him in board battles. His positioning and overall defensive awareness and decision-making in his own end will all need to be improved too. His weaknesses might scare some NHL teams, but the talent is certainly there.

Mavrik Bourque, C, 5-10, 163, 1-8-2002
Canada 7 @ Czech Republic 1 – Hlinka Gretzky Cup – August 7, 2019
Bourque is a complete, two-way forward, showing the ability to handle opponents and create plays offensively with his great vision and intensity. His stride is smooth and efficient, and he has a slightly above-average top speed, allowing him to win quite a few battles for loose pucks. He could work on his quickness, as he sometimes lack the explosion to separate himself though the neutral zone. He’s able to start the attack from his own zone and create plays in the offensive end thanks to his good playmaking skills and even better vision. He always has the head, up with the puck reading plays and processing informations. His shot is dangerous as its quick and accurate, but he should look to utilize it more. Playing in a more limited role at the bottom of Canada’s lineup, Bourque was able to make the most out of every shifts. He was aggressive on the puck carrier, forcing turnovers and creating many takeaways. He put constant pressure on the forecheck to force mistakes and recover pucks, which he was able to accomplish quite often. He has a decent strength, helping him win puck battles in corners and protect his puck effectively. His stick work along the board is also excellent, often giving him the edge in puck battles. He is very competitive and works hard every shift. I could see him develop into a second or third line center at the pro-level, as he owns a very complete game and can take any roles in a lineup.

Lukas Cormier, D, 5-10, 170, 3-27-2002
Canada 7 @ Czech Republic 1 – Hlinka Gretzky Cup – August 7, 2019
Cormier is a puck-rushing defenseman, showing the ability to escape pressure and find skating lanes on the breakout with his agility and shiftiness. He showcases incredible skating abilities, creating many controlled zone exits and entries using his excellent acceleration, speed and agility to blaze through the neutral zone. He possesses some smooth edges, which helps him get great lateral quickness and agility to walk the blue line offensively. His turns are brisk, allowing to escape pressure from behind the net or make a spin move to dodge an opponent. Playing as the quarterback on the power play, Cormier displays decent deception and puck distribution as he runs the offense from the point. He owns a great wrist and slap shot, displaying a quick release and impressive velocity on both. He displays good gap control and backward agility to stay with his man off the rush. He has an active stick and he loves to close the gap with the attacker to knock him off the puck. He still has quite a lot to work on defensively, especially off the cycle and in board battles, but the willingness to play defense seems there. He loves to restart the attack promptly with quick, accurate feeds and he owns a decent first pass. Although he has the quickness, speed, vision and passing abilities to lead the breakout, he often seems to lack the poised and patience to make the best decision, leading to many rushed plays and bad turnovers. His urge to jump on the offense sometimes made him force plays that weren’t there and he still takes too much risk with the puck. This is a small detail that I think is fixable, but that retain him from taking that next step at the moment. Something I will take a close look at this season, but the sky is the limit for Cormier. He has a very similar skillset and upside to Samuel Girard, but I will want to see him improve his poised and decision-making in certain area of his game before ranking him as a first rounder.

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