February 22, 2024

NHL Draft Notebook: Celebrini, Silayev, Iginla & More

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 video to get the best analysis on the prospects entering the upcoming NHL Draft.

You can unlock hundreds of 2024 NHL Draft reports, here.

Until then, here’s a glimpse at some of their analysis in our latest NHL Draft Notebook:

HENRY MEWS | D | Ottawa 67’s (OHL) | February 9, 2024


Scouting report by Ty Brooks

Henry Mews is a player that loves the puck on his stick, and has the talents to back it up. His standout skill is far and away his playmaking, and it was on full display in this viewing as he would connect on seemingly unavailable passes constantly. Short pass, stretch pass and saucer pass — it doesn’t seem to matter as Mews can put the puck right onto the tape of his teammates consistently. This is coupled with his playmaking ability and very strong skating, which complements his game nicely. The underlying statistics in his game show a very strong transitional ability, which becomes clear when you watch him. He’s a dual threat breakout and transition candidate as he can pass it out to his teammate or carry the puck himself across the blue lines using his strong skating. Where the defenseman can struggle is when he does not have the puck. This is more obvious in the defensive end, where sometimes he can become a little stuck when the cycle game begins. He’ll find himself puck watching too much and forget to reposition, thus finding himself behind the play. He’s not super effective along the boards, either. Luckily, when he does get the puck on his stick in the defensive end, you can rest assured that play is headed the other way, and fast. There is a lot to consider when selecting a player like Mews. In my opinion, Mews is not a first round pick I would make in the 2024 draft, but I don’t think he’s too far off.

Full scouting report

JUSTIN POIRIER | RW | Baie-Comeau Drakkar (QMJHL) | February 3, 2024


Scouting report by Joey Fortin Boulay

Justin Poirier keeps showcasing his high-end scoring abilities as one of the best scorers in the QMJHL this season, supported by superior offensive-zone awareness and some feistiness in his battles. He constantly finds shooting spots and range, getting himself aligned with his teammates fighting for pucks and exploiting give-and-goes for better looks. He keeps a low stance roaming in the slot, trying to get himself forgotten and tracking the puck with his eyes like a hunter, ready to fire his deadly snapshot as soon as his teammate is able to send him the puck. Poirier loves to shoot the puck so much. He will try to as much as he possibly can and he’s not afraid to get his nose dirty by going net-front. He is also an intelligent shooter, showing the awareness to willingly rip the puck on the goalie’s pads for rebounds when he spots a teammate ahead of defenders crashing the net. Poirier brilliantly picks his spots with his laser beam wrister, using defenders as screens. He can clap a heavy one-timer from the half-wall as well. He exhibits competent escapability thanks to his fluid hands and bulky frame for a small guy. He can make strong cycling outlets from the perimeter too, and recognizes when teammates have better shooting opportunities than him, then distributing them the puck after dragging opponents on him. Poirier generates great acceleration through his first few steps with powerful strides and decent fluidity in his skating. He can absorb hits without losing too much balance thanks to his strong lower body. However, his edgework needs some refinement because he lacks lateral agility and loses speed when relying on his edges. He doesn’t use crossovers enough since he tends to stretch his feet and rotate his hips to change angle. Poirier is an aggressive forechecker and shows notable anticipation to intercept outlets at the opponent’s blue line. He also doesn’t mind bodychecking from time to time and fights hard for pucks in corners, but displays wavering intensity as he tends to start strong in games and gets less intense throughout the game. Poirier skates hard to cover his opponents in the defensive zone and puts himself in shooting lanes to block some pucks, but lacks the awareness to maintain his coverage over a long period of time which even out his defensive effort. He’s prone to risky plays in his own zone and sometimes lacks the focus to execute precise exit/entry outlets in transition. His role is definitely not being the driver on his line, but he clearly lacks efficiency in the middle-third of the ice with and without the puck. Another aspect I would like him to improve would be to vary his entry methods since he always enters the territory by the perimeter and tries to beat goalies with his outside shot. Entering the zone by the middle ice at times would make him less predictable, open opportunities and give him better shooting angles. The consensus projection seems low on Poirier for the 2024 draft because of his size, play without the puck, and his inconsistent compete, but I think he owns genuine scoring assets, an underrated offensive mind, and imperfect-but-competent skating that could become a strength with a bit of work. The wrongs in him are very workable versus the skill/talent that isn’t as teachable. I would absolutely consider picking him by the end of the second round this summer and I think some teams will regret ignoring him if he gets picked later in the draft.

Full scouting report

TIJ IGINLA | C | Kelowna (WHL) | January 27, 2024


Scouting report by Aaron Vickers

Tij Iginla is a versatile forward who is a shot-volume monster. He rarely passes up an opportunity to get the puck on net, and that confidence is aided by a quick release that doesn’t require a lot of stick-on-puck time to get a shot off with plenty of velocity. He shoots a ton, but unlike a lot of shot-volume forwards, I never really got the impression Iginla was overlooking a better, smarter passing play in favor of his own option. That said, I feel he could use a little bit more decision-making in his approach. I didn’t love the low-percentage sharp-angle shots that ended up whistling wide and out of the zone. That said, when you’re confident in your accuracy you’re going to take those shots, as he is. Iginla showed good general offensive awareness in this game. Again, he shot a lot but it wasn’t at the sacrifice of better options.I get the sense, however, he very much prefers to be a finisher than a playmaker; I didn’t see a lot of offense generation for his linemates. On the flipside, he a lot of solo efforts in his creation — which is both a positive and a negative. I think he can do a better job of working himself into the quiet areas in the offensive zone to make him a more attractive passing option. That said, I’m not sure there’s an area of ice in the offensive zone Iginla wasn’t occupying with the puck at one point or another in this one, and he’s not shy to go to the front of the net and the greasy areas players need to get to for second-chance opportunities. He works effectively along the boards down low and up through the hashes, too, using every inch of ice he feels he needs. If I have one gripe inside the opposing blue line, it’s that Iginla can hold onto the puck a bit too long. It negates some of his effectiveness. He can be a little indecisiveness, and he had a couple plays where he looked like he wanted to shoot but tried to make one too many moves in an attempt to put himself in a more high-danger location. On the flip side, he does have the confidence and hands to beat a defender one-on-one, there’s just a sense that sometimes he holds onto it a little too long. His skating aids in that confidence, as his ability to change pace — particularly slowing up once inside the offensive blue line — will give the opposition some troubles as long as he’s cognizant of back pressure. Iginla’s just generally shifty in his approach with shoulder fakes and his ability to lean hard on one leg and spring power to the other. His stickhandling and edge work can freeze opposing defenders and buy himself time to decide what he wants to do. Defensively there isn’t much to gripe about in his game. He’s versatile — he took shifts at both center and wing in this one — and has a general understanding of his roles and responsibilities in each. There’s a lot to like and appreciate in Iginla overall. I think he’s got top-six upside in the NHL, and I’d look at selecting him in the back-half of the first round in the 2024 draft.

Full scouting report

TREVOR CONNELLY | LW | Tri-City Storm (USHL) | February 3, 2024


Scouting report by Chad Carlson

Trevor Connelly is a high-risk, high-reward player who can 100% skate. He has a great stride, good knee bend, and smooth stride. He can get a step on a defender quickly and be gone because of his great burst. He has good hands and can stickhandle through players to get the puck where he wants it to go. Connelly is dangerous with space in the offense zone and does follow the puck to the net looking for change. He is a good passer and can make all types of passes, including short quick passes to get out of the defense zone or the nice and pretty pass to create for a teammate. Connelly’s speed and puck skills make him a scary score with a knack for being a playmaker, however he does have many concerning parts to his game. Connelly’s biggest concerns are his turnovers and his hockey smarts. He turned the puck over in all three zones. The offensive zone may not be a big deal if you are trying to create, but in the defensive zone I saw too many turnovers that led to high-danger chances for opponents. This continued throughout every area on the ice. I am also concerned about his hockey smarts as a result of this carelessness. He will turn the puck over in the defensive zone, but he will also try low-percentage plays in the offensive zone, leading to a turnover and opportunity for his opponent. His complete level was not impressive either. I have Connelly as an outside-the-first-round pick with lots of offensive upside, but a concern due to bad turnovers.

Full scouting report

ANTON SILAYEV | D | Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod (KHL) | January 24, 2024


Scouting report by Jake Janso

Anton Silayev has become one of the most talked about prospects in the upcoming draft over the course of this season and it’s not too hard to figure out why. He’s an incredibly mobile and defensively-astute defenseman already eating up minutes on a KHL blue line. This combination of size and mobility allows Silayev to snub out rush attempts effectively while also being able to grind opponents down along the boards. Additionally, his ability to read passing lanes in motion makes him very effective at picking off build-up chances and reversing momentum. On top of this, he performs with the calm and controlled manner of a seasoned vet. He can sometimes fail to make the right pass or can find himself caught in tight situations, but these are to be expected for a young player in a men’s league. Unfortunately, the biggest limiter in Silayev’s game and the one aspect holding him back from being a truly unmatched prospect is his total lack of offensive involvement. Silayev mans the point well as a bumper but does nothing to contribute to the drive or creation of offense. His passes remain simple and mostly lateral, he rarely chooses to carry the puck, and seldom takes risks to create chances. It’s a bit disappointing to see none of them armed in the offensive zone for a player with the weapons that Silayev. Maybe some of this can be chalked up to team structure and/or coaching, but he has displayed nothing that would convince me of some true future offensive potential. Ultimately, Silayev remains one of the top defensemen prospects in the 2024 draft solely based on his defensive acumen and physical advantages. But the many ‘ifs’ and ‘maybes’ around the rest of his game make me hesitant to rank him higher than No. 5.

Full scouting report

MACKLIN CELEBRINI | C | Boston University (NCAA) | February 5, 2024


Scouting report by Brandon Holmes

Macklin Celebrini is a dynamic and skilled dual-threat center who can change a game with just one touch of the puck. His shot and goal scoring touch really popped in this showing, with both his snap shot and one-timer making an impact on the scoresheet. Celebrini has a quick release on his shot and can release the puck while carrying it on the rush, allowing him to catch netminders off guard and score goals from medium range. His slap shot and one-timer add a potent threat to his game on the power play. He always needs to be accounted for when he’s on the ice, as he can let loose a rifle of a one-time shot from the circles to beat goaltenders or cause net mouth scrambles. Though Celebrini owns an excellent shot, he’s far more than just a goal-scorer. He’s a gifted playmaker who can find teammates with soft area passes or send crisp passes into high-danger areas to set up scoring chances. Celebrini is a smooth and skilled puckhandler, able to carry the puck through traffic, stick handle in tight spaces, and beat checks on the rush with his hands to open up space. His reads in the offensive zone are consistently good, knowing the right balance between pushing for offense without being reckless with the puck, and his effort in his own zone is also quite good. In future viewings, I would like to see Celebrini continue to work on his skating and overall speed to truly guarantee that he’ll be able to stand up to the quickened pace of the NHL, but this was an excellent showing where Celebrini looked the part of the No. 1 pick in 2024.

Full scouting report

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