Prospect Notebook: Hughes, Savoie, McTavish & More
Every season, FCHockey’s scouts are scouring the globe to get eyes on hockey’s top prospects.
They spend countless hours watching both live games and game tape to get the best possible analysis on the prospects entering the NHL Draft through their prospect years. Our Prospect Notebook series takes a look at some of the reports that FCHockey’s scouts have filed over the past week.
Here’s a glimpse at their analysis.
MARTIN CHROMIAK | RW | Kingston (OHL) | April 10, 2022
Draft status: 5/128 (2020) | Los Angeles Kings
Scouting report by Joseph Aleong
Martin Chromiak is an explosive winger who has elite speed and is able to create consistent chances off the rush. His skating ability in open ice is impressive, with breakaway speed offensively and the speed to track back and make plays in transition with his closing speed. He has fantastic straight-line speed, pushing the pace offensively and winning loose puck races in the neutral zone against flat-footed defenders. He has quick feet and acceleration, changing directions quickly and helping him on the forecheck as well as defensive zone coverage. He has quick hands and is able to get to the middle of the ice by shielding the puck with one hand on his stick. He showed good touch on his passing, finding openings through traffic and using his skating to open space for his linemates. Chromiak’s release is very quick and he gets good power on his shot without much of a windup, even under pressure. He works hard in transition without the puck and forces a lot of turnovers with his speed. Chromiak can still get tunnel-vision on the rush at times, particularly when he gets his feet moving and he’s skating under pressure. While he has good feel on his passing, he can focus too much on middle-lane drives rather than using his speed to curl back and set up OZ possessions. Chromiak’s speed has helped him become an effective special teams player, and while he doesn’t have the creativity or vision to generate consistent chances inside the offensive end, he has shown a clear ability to fit seamlessly with high-skill linemates. While it’s unlikely Chromiak ends up as a top-line forward, his special teams ability, improving two-way instincts, and gamebreaking speed are safe bets to make him a middle-six forward at some point in the future.
LUKE HUGHES | D | Michigan (NCAA) | April 7, 2022
Draft status: 1/4 (2021) | New Jersey Devils
Scouting report by Shaun Richardson
Luke Hughes is a highly-skilled elite skating defenseman. He was ready to go from the drop of the puck in this game and it didn’t take long for him to assert himself on the action. He was cruising around the ice with fluidity and speed. With the puck on his stick, Hughes was elusive and attacked with agility and confidence. In fact, his entire game showed a level of confidence that made me feel that he could be ready for the next career challenge sooner rather than later. Hughes joined the rush as a weak-side shot option and several times, including once in overtime, he exploded up ice and led the attack. To go along with his great feet, Hughes has a slick set of hands and ice in his veins to curl and dangle along the offensive blue line and escape pressure in order to drive offense. In the defensive end is where Hughes is still developing his game. It has vastly improved, although he did get caught a bit too high in the zone on Denver’s first goal against, and like most of his play it’s based around his mobility and good stick work. When I see Hughes play, I feel like I’m seeing a guy who has it all figured out. He knows he has to have fun, he’s brave, and he seems to be willing to make a mistake — which in turn allows him to be as dynamic as he is. I feel he’s ready to crack the New Jersey line up right now, but I also think that ultimately the best thing for his development is to return to Michigan for one more year and come out of college after next season and enter the NHL as an impact player. My expectations are that he will choose to return to Michigan for the 2022-23 season.
THEO JACOBSSON | C | MODO (J20) | MARCH 26, 2022
Draft status: 6/177 (2021) | San Jose Sharks
Scouting report by Fredrik Haak
Theo Jacobsson is an offensive-minded winger that recognizes passing and shooting lanes and sees a lot of options when entering the offensive zone. As a rather solid skater, Jacobsson use his speed both on the forecheck and backcheck. I like that he could finish hits and make it a bit annoying to have him chasing you as a defender. When he does not carry the puck, he tries his best to find open areas and make himself playable for a breakout. Jacobsson shows smooth hands and finds opening passes to teammates. The creativity is not a problem, but he needs to shoot more and show more effort to get pucks on net. In his own zone, Jacobsson could be a little too enthusiastic and lose his positioning. He has a high work ethic, but needs to be smarter to be even more effective. I would for sure want to see him show a bigger determination around the net and overall in the offensive zone. He is not the strongest player, but that will improve over the years. This was my first view of Jacobsson this season, and he has an assortment of qualities offensively that will help him grow and advance as a player. He is a forward that should contribute and play in the second or third line, and with more strength and better offensive qualities he could do that in senior squads. Having said that, I am not fully convinced that he will get to the NHL level because I do not think that his overall impact defensively is that good to play a role further down in the lines.
MASON MCTAVISH | C | Hamilton (OHL) | April 1, 2022
Draft status: 1/3 (2021) | Anaheim Ducks
Scouting report by Shaun Richardson
Mason McTavish is a hard-nosed forward who is motivated to outwork opponents all over the ice. McTavish played a heavy game and was able to assert himself along the boards and throughout the offensive zone, especially in front of the opposition goal where he was a handful to keep tabs on. Without the puck, McTavish skated well, closed in on opponents, broke up plays, and challenged for possession. With the puck on his stick, he could get to the inside of the ice, access good shooting locations, and shoot with power. He supported the puck, utilized his linemates and drove past defenders. I thought McTavish played a really well-rounded and mature game which should translate to the NHL as early as next season.
CARTER SAVOIE | LW | Denver (NCAA) | April 7, 2022
Draft status: 4/100 (2020) | Edmonton Oilers
Scouting report by Austin Broad
Carter Savoie is a goal-scoring winger who plays the game with a ton of energy and pace. His work ethic and relentlessness on the forecheck stand out when watching him play. Using his effort, and his skating ability, Savoie was able to be a thorn in the side of the Wolverines all game long. He has good speed and stamina, and when you combine that with his strength and willingness to attack every loose puck you get one of the better ‘energy’ forwards the NCAA had to offer. Savoie’s puck skills are really strong, he has a good shot and strong vision/playmaking capabilities. He knows how to get the puck into the high-danger areas and has the ability to make something happen whenever he has the puck in the offensive zone. His talent at the NCAA level may not translate to the NHL. I think once he turns pro he’s better suited as a third-line winger who will contribute offensively but will mainly be used to wear down the opponents and keep them hemmed in their own zone. He has the offensive skillset to provide offensive production from the bottom-six, but because of the Oilers loaded lineup I wonder how much of an offensive role they will create for him. For being a fourth-round selection, Savoie has developed nicely and was one of the best players the NCAA had. I think he will turn pro in the next two seasons and will be able to carve out a solid third-line role for the Oilers.
ARSHDEEP BAINS | LW | Red Deer (WHL) | April 9, 2022
Draft status: Signed March 11, 2022 | Vancouver Canucks
Scouting report by Donesh Mazloum
Arshdeep Bains has seen a monumental jump in point production this season. He continued to add to his totals in this game with a goal and two assists and overall, he did not look out of place competing against the high-pedigree talent-laden Edmonton Oil Kings roster. Bains was one of my favourite prospects during his bantam years and, while it took him a while to figure out the junior game, he’s certainly earned his NHL contract. What stands out most for Bain is his mental speed and facilitation skills. He is one of the best passers in the WHL and will break out a ‘wow’ moment or two every game. He seemingly has eyes in the back of his head and his crisp mental picture of player location allows him to make lightning quick decisions. On the Rebels third goal in this game, he collected a broken play off his feet, to his stick, and made a tape-to-tape pass to a teammate for a goal in seemingly one motion. Bains is not a particularly toolsy player, but he plays the game the right way and gives an honest effort on every shift. He battles hard in the corners, tracks back as hard as he forechecks, and plays behind the puck. His ability to bring an element of sandpaper to his cerebral game clearly plays very well at this level, however I do still have some concerns about his ability to break into the NHL ranks. He falls into the “good at lots, great a little” spectrum and I’m not convinced his vision will carry him through when his size, speed, and puck skills are all average or below when tracking to the pro level. While I think it’s more likely he ends up as a tweener or ‘quad-A’ player, his hockey IQ and competitiveness is a great base to build around.