NHL Draft Notebook: Michkov, Higgins, Strathmann & 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:
MATVEI MICHKOV | RW | HK SOCHI (KHL) | FEBRUARY 23, 2023
MIDTERM RANKING: 3
Scouting report by Jake Janso
Matvei Michkov has become a fairly polarizing prospect for the 2023 draft. His skill is undeniable. His hands work effortlessly as he moves his feet, and his ability to make the small but preferable play has improved while maintaining the wow-factor elsewhere. His shot is arguably best in class as he can really rip it both in stride and at a standstill. He beats KHL goalies cleanly already, which bodes well for the transition to the NHL. However, there are some glaring holes in Michkov’s game that must be addressed. He offers very little defensively and, in most scenarios, seems a bit lost in his own end. His forechecking and puck-pressure have improved but he’s still a ways away from being a reliable defender. Possibly my biggest qualm with his game though is his penchant for sending ill-fated and often random passes. I’ve witnessed it while he’s under pressure and when he has space, he tends to just launch some passes that, sometimes, don’t even seem to have a target. This often leads to turnovers and is just altogether a big issue. All things considered, Michkov is still a top-five talent in this draft. His offensive ability is very advanced and he’ll be quick to make an impact on the scoresheet and the power play. But the holes in his defensive game and passing are what’s keeping him back from being a no-brainer in the top-three.
TY HIGGINS | D | ACADIE-BATHURST (QMJHL) | FEBRUARY 23, 2023
MIDTERM RANKING: 87
Scouting report by Mitchell Skilton
Ty Higgins can be described as the type of defender that is fairly quiet but effective. You won’t see him constantly rushing up with the puck to create offense, as he is a two-way minded defender always having defense as his first priority. He is extremely responsible on the back end and utilizes his puck moving skills very well. With great vision both offensively and defensively he is the perfect quarterback on every play. Although Higgins possesses the core skills to maintain consistent success in his form of gameplay, he could grow on an entirely new level with speed development. If he develops further skill on his overall speed, agility, and reaction time, he would receive massive dividends. Amplifying those elements in his game would have teams turning heads to have him added into their organizations. With the smart plays he makes day-in and day-out, if he added that explosive element he would become a sure nuisance for all opponents. With the 2023 draft fast approaching Higgins is one of the top-six draft eligible defenseen from the QMJHL, and I believe we could see him selected around the mid-to-late third round.
EMIL JARVENTIE | LW | SAIPA (LIIGA) | FEBRUARY 23, 2023
MIDTERM RANKING: 89
Scouting report by Rasmus Tornqvist
Emil Jarventie is an offensive winger with a lethal shot. He has had a pretty eventful season playing for several different teams, which has definitely affected his level of play. As an offensive guy, being slotted in on the fourth line for a struggling SaiPa team is definitely not the optimum situation. He wasn’t really able to showcase most of his strengths during this game, although there were a few occasions where you could see some flashes of the puckhandling and confidence that has made him a decent prospect. His line as a whole didn’t have a whole lot of offensive time, which greatly limited the amount of puck touches he got. You could see that Jarventie’s skating is sufficient for this level of play; he is good on his edges and picks up speed well when he has room, although he is not the most explosive skater. In the defensive zone he was playing very deep, close to his own goal, which meant that his gap to the opposing defender was very big. This led to the defender beating him either by a shot, which they had way too much time to get off, a pass or in a one-on-one, since Jarventie was skating towards the defender at this point. He did use his head to scan for the defender decently well, but his positioning did not allow him to react in time. I don’t think playing fourth-line minutes for a bad Liiga team is the right place for him to develop right now. His offensive struggles and the fact he hasn’t found a team to call home have definitely affected his draft stock negatively, and right now I think he is sitting just around the 100th, maybe even towards the end of the fourth round. Unless he somehow carves out a bigger role for himself for the remainder of the season, or really impresses during the U18 world championship, I’m having a hard time seeing his draft stock rise any more in my books this season.
MAXIM VEHOVSKY | RW | VITKOVICE (CZE U20) | JANUARY 21, 2023
MIDTERM RANKING: NR
Scouting report by Miroslav Simurka
Maxim Vehovsky is a big left-handed winger who, particularly for his size, flashes solid stickhandling abilities and soft hands in tight areas. He handles the puck at top speed very well and is able to beat defenders off the rush. He has the scoring drive — he shoots a lot and goes hard to the net. I thought Vehovsky has a good shot with quick release. He can snap the puck quickly from both legs, dropping the weight generating a lot flex and power. His first step is not excellent, but I thought he’s shown improvement in that area over the season. Once he gets in the motion he moves easily around the ice with good speed. Vehovsky is strong on his skates, he battles hard for pucks, wins positions, and keeps balance along the boards. I liked his willingness to compete hard for 50/50 pucks and his ability to win these pucks more often than not. He works good with his stick and body against the puck. Vehovsky made some good passes in the offensive zone but I do not think his playmaking is on a level to produce at the highest level. Too often he does not consider his option in the middle of the ice and he does not create lanes or space for his teammates with the puck on his stick. He does not scan enough on breakouts under pressure when passing the puck to the center which may lead to dangerous situations for his team. He has defensive potential with his long reach, big body, and reliable play all over the ice but he did not move his leg enough on some occasions. He made couple bad reads and was not in the right lane because of no shoulder checks. Big forward with stickhandling skills, fast skater, and a competitor. Does not create or produce enough offensively. A possible late round pick in the 2023 draft but far from a lock in my opinion.
ETHAN MIEDEMA | LW | Kingston (OHL) | FEBRUARY 12, 2023
MIDTERM RANKING: 80
Scouting report by Austin Broad
Ethan Miedema is a playmaking winger who is at his best when he can facilitate and defer the puck to his teammates. His vision and passing ability are his best assets, as he can spot open lanes as they develop and take advantage of that by delivering crisp and accurate passes to his teammates. With his size and skating ability he can be an effective player both out of the cycle and off the rush, but I think he needs to work on his explosiveness in order to take his game to another level. His defensive game, and ability to be effective in 50/50 puck battles allows him to be an effective board player in his own zone, but I would like to see him use his body and assert himself physically a little more often. Playing against a smaller forward group in Niagara it was a golden opportunity for Miedema to use his size to his advantage and I feel like he left a little to be desired in this game. The transition to a weaker team in Kingston has obviously hurt his production a little, but he is still playing well and using his skillset to his advantage, I think he’s a middle or late round draft pick who can develop into an effective bottom-six forward at the NHL level. He has a good foundation of skills that will allow him to contribute offensively and has the body type to be useful in a checking role. I think I would feel comfortable drafting him anywhere from the 90s-100s in the 2023 draft right now. My hope for Miedema is to be a third-line two-way player that contributes in all three zones.
ANDREW STRATHMANN | D | YOUNGSTOWN (USHL) | FEBRUARY 2, 2023
MIDTERM RANKING: 51
Scouting report by Douglas Larson
There aren’t a ton of elite defenseman in this draft class, but after my second viewing of Andrew Strathmann there’s no question he’ll be one of the better options available. He’s someone that plays in every situation, skates well, and impacts the game on both sides of the puck. It was evident early on he’s not afraid to take shots from the point — shots that hit the net as well. He moved the puck well while making the simple but smart play more often than not. Strathmann showed off his elusiveness with the puck, being able to escape oncoming attackers with his quick feet and change of direction. He’s got a set of puck skills to help him out in that area as well as making him an effective quarterback on the man advantage.. His defending ability looked solid, there were no major breakdowns and when he looked like he got beat he was able to recover and get back with ease. There’s a lot to like with Strathmann’s game, and not a lot to criticize him about either. I think he has the potential to be a good second-pairing defenseman who can potentially play on both special teams units. I’d look to select him in the middle of the second round of the 2023 draft, and could see him going in that exact range come draft time.