NHL Draft Notebook: Lisowsky, Orlov, Steklov & More
Every season, FCHockey’s scouts are scouring the globe to get eyes on prospects eligible for the 2022 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.
Here’s a glimpse at their analysis.
BRANDON LISOWSKY | LW | Saskatoon (WHL) | April 26, 2022
Spring Ranking: 81
Scouting report by Mitch Savard
Brandon Lisowsky is a winger who does a great job finding open ice in the offensive zone and has a very good shot that he uses to put the puck in the net more often than not. This was my first viewing of Lisowsky — and Moose Jaw dictated most of the play — however he had a few good opportunities and he was able to showcase his ability to shoot the puck. Off the rush, he was able to push defenders back and then pull off this curl and drag shot to change the angle and use the defender as a screen. I was fairly impressed with how quick and deceptive his release was. Lisowsky saw a fair amount of power play time and was deployed I thought, perfectly in the bumper position on Saskatoon’s top unit. He showed a great ability to receive quick short passes from the half-wall to where he was in the middle of the ice, and get good opportunities to the net, even if the passes weren’t quite in his wheelhouse. Lisowsky also did a good job this game being a bit of a thorn in the side of Moose Jaw’s defenders. Even though he’s not the biggest guy, on more than one occasion he finished his check on a defender when he was first man in on the forecheck. One weaker part of Lisowsky’s game, in my opinion, is his board play in the defensive end. It seemed like if he felt pressure while he had the puck on his wall, he struggled to make a play and get the puck out of the zone. As for my projection for Lisowsky, I think he could possibly be a middle-six scoring winger in the NHL who also gets power play time. With that projection in mind, I could see Lisowsky being taken around the third round of this year’s draft.
KIRILL STEKLOV | D | London (OHL) | April 22, 2022
Spring Ranking: NR
Scouting report by Olivia McArter
Kirill Steklov, who has been twice passed over in the draft, is an offensive defenseman who has a taller stature, which gives him the advantage of pinning his opponents to the boards and knocking them off the puck. He also has a slight edge when battling along the boards for the puck. When showcasing himself offensively, Steklov is able to create scoring opportunities and passes smartly when doing so. On the backcheck, he does well to keep the play in front of him with a decent reach to knock possession away. He also has a strong puck retrieval pace. Steklov showed his physical side, where he held his own when sticking up for his teammate taking part in a heavier set fight. He does okay defensively, although he often looked bored an uninterested. Regarding his growth, I think he has progressed slightly in different aspects of his game, such as getting more involved in plays and becoming more physical. I think he has potential to go in the sixth round of the 2022 NHL Draft.
JAMES SWAN | C | Halifax (QMJHL) | May 1, 2022
Spring Ranking: NR
Scouting report by Zachary Labrie
James Swan is a gritty forward that can fill in everywhere in the lineup. He plays an aggressive style of game, getting his nose in the dirty area every time he has the chance. There’s nothing flashy in his play, but he works hard to make sure he respects every detail of the game. He’s the most dangerous when being around the offensive net. He likes to drive through the middle and make himself available for the tap-in or deflection. He’s also net front on the PP, even if he’s not the biggest, he makes it hard for the defender and goalie to be square for the upcoming shot. Swan created some takeaways on the forecheck, always being all gas and making sure to finish his bodychecks. His overall defensive game was great, exhibiting nice positioning and getting involve when needed too. He also did well in break out, making the right plays at the right time. Overall, Swan has some interesting tools but the lack of offensive upside makes it unlikely that he gets the call for the upcoming draft. These type of players tends to develop better as the time goes, but he definitely could be a great bottom-six player if he progresses considerably in the upcoming years.
DYLAN JAMES | LW | Sioux City (USHL) | May 6, 2022
Spring Ranking: NR
Scouting report by Douglas Larson
Dylan James is fluent skater who can generate good speed and plays his best when skating in straight lines. He competed hard every shift while doing a lot of little things right that made him an effective player for his team. Very often, James used his speed to be first in on the forecheck, and was able to engage and win some puck battles. His speed also allows for him to be a solid puck transporter up the ice, however he wasn’t able to connect on plays when it was time to make something happen. James will need to work on being more successful on setting up his teammates off the rush, otherwise his speed and his ability to push the defense back doesn’t mean a whole lot. He can handle the puck just fine with subtle moves here and there, but he had a few hiccups when it came to receiving passes that should’ve been caught. James isn’t someone who’s going to generate a ton of chances on his own, but he’ll have success around the net and putting himself in spots for his teammates to feed him. It’s clear to be after one viewing that he’s got power forward written all over him. While he’s got a bit of offense in his game, I think he’ll be much more effective in a bottom six shutdown role who can be used on the kill as well. With his size and speed combination, I think he’s got an NHL future ahead of him. There’s more certainty with James compared to upside, and with that said I’d look to take him in the fifth or sixth round of the upcoming draft.
DANIIL ORLOV | D | Sakhalinskie Akuly (MHL) | April 11, 2022
Spring Ranking: 93
Scouting report by Jake Janso
Daniil Orlov is a physically imposing two-way defenseman that does a great job of preventing entries. His gap control and ability to track forwards through the neutral zone allows him to shut down plays before they enter his zone. He does a great job of separating players from the puck and can make some nice breakout passes following. He seems, however, rushed with the puck when he has it, almost always opting for the immediate option. When in the offensive zone, this usually means shooting as much as he can. His shot is powerful, but he definitely uses it a bit too often and would find more success with some patience. The glimpses of skill with the puck were nice and I would love for him to lean more into that side of his game but I’m not too hopeful on any real progression in that area. Ultimately, I like Orlov as a depth defensive option, someone who can play on the penalty kill or shut down tough opposing lines at even-strength. But I don’t see much more to his game than that. I think Orlov will garner some interest in the later rounds of the 2022 draft, especially from teams looking to strengthen their prospect pool’s blue line depth.
JOSHUA FAHRNI | C | Bern (NL) | March 14, 2022
Spring Ranking: NR
Scouting report by Curtis Schwartzkopf
Joshua Fahrni, a second-year eligible player, is a high-energy forward who is versatile enough to play both center and wing. With a solid base, he has powerful push offs that enable him to accelerate quickly and generate a lot of speed. He uses this speed to apply pressure to the puck carrier as well as attack the offensive zone. Because Fahrni has excellent acceleration, he is able to mirage his intentions by approaching slowly and forechecking with speed in the blink of an eye, aiding in his puck retrieval ability. He also uses his edges well when carrying the puck, hardly losing speed and having the ability to create separation from defenders that have engaged with him physically. In the offensive zone, Fahrni anticipates the play well and adjusts his position on the ice to find the middle while making himself a target for passes. Playing in the top Swiss league against men, he is willing to engage physically against larger opponents and drive to the front of the net. He looks more like a scorer at this stage of his development and has a good release with accuracy. Where he thrives is cutting to the middle of the ice and getting off accurate shots on net. Fahrni also shows well in the defensive zone, keeping his head on a swivel and communicating with teammates with signals about soft spots in coverage. He seems to read shooting/passing lanes well, adjusting his positioning defensively to make things challenging for the opponent. Given how intelligent Fahrni is, he would be even more effective at carrying the puck more often as he has the speed to drive transition. He could also stand to use his shot more often as he puts himself in good scoring positions. As an overager in this draft and being a bit more under-the-radar playing in Switzerland, Fahrni could fall into the tail end of this draft. He plays a very well rounded game with desirable traits that could make him an impactful bottom-six player in the NHL. I’d consider him in the fifth round of the upcoming draft but it’s more likely he falls further than that with the possibility of going undrafted as well.