FCHockey
Staff
May 29, 2023

Prospects Notebook: 2023 World Championship Review

The 2023 IIHF World Championship turned into a showcase of some of hockey’s top prospects, with a plethora of under-23 players playing key roles for their country in the international affair.

Here are a few of the reports gathered from in-person viewings at the Worlds.

 

DANS LOCMELIS | C | Latvia | Boston Bruins | May 28, 2023

Scouting report by Rasmus Tornqvist

Dans Locmelis is a highly intelligent two-way forward with a strong hockey IQ. Despite his young age and participation in U20 hockey this season to maintain NCAA eligibility, he played a significant role in Latvia’s historic bronze medal win. While there were aspects of the game where he faced challenges, particularly in physicality and faceoffs, Locmelis showcased impressive defensive positioning and constant awareness of the ice to stay on top of the play. He played a simple game but didn’t panic when in possession of the puck, instead ensuring his team retained control. His skating appeared effortless, utilizing crossovers effectively to generate speed through the neutral zone. He demonstrated a preference for playing down low in the offensive zone and showed glimpses of his ability to challenge defensemen in one-on-one situations. Despite facing tougher opponents, it was evident that Locmelis possesses exceptional intelligence and a strong hockey IQ. NCAA hockey should provide an excellent developmental platform for him, allowing him to further improve his physicality with a less intense game schedule compared to professional leagues. Bruins fans should keep an eye on Locmelis, and if he can enhance the physical aspects of his game, he has the potential to make a direct transition from the NCAA to the NHL in the coming seasons.

Full scouting report

MARCO ROSSI | C | Austria | Minnesota Wild | May 23, 2023

Scouting report by Aaron Vickers

Marco Rossi is an intriguing center to track because he’s got a lot of plus qualities that are encouraging, but there are some elements to his game that make me wonder what his top-end potential could be at the NHL level. He’s lightning fast through the neutral zone, and generates his speed with quick, rapid crossovers and an explosive stride. He’s also able to use his edges well to subtly change up his speed of attack to either throw defensemen off course or widen the gap as he attacks. There’s no hesitation to engage in board battles, either, and in this particular game — which would determine relegation — he played incredibly close to the edge both between whistles and after them without managing to take a resulting penalty. There was a lot of emotion here, that he kept in check. Defensively, Rossi is effective. He can always be found deep in the defensive zone helping his blue liners, and doesn’t cheat to create offense. Despite his height, he looks to have good physical strength, both upper and lower, in how he battles. His low center of gravity helps him, too. Where I’m concerned about his game is in the fact that he didn’t use his teammates near enough in this one, opting to work more individually as opposed to collectively. He didn’t display much in the way of creativity or playmaking skills, either, just barrelling to the net with his speed for the most part. I’d be curious to see him in future viewings to determine if this was a one-off or not. There were also times where he lacked any sort of urgency in changing on the fly…even when the puck was working back into his own end. That probably won’t sit well with a lot of coaches. Just too many times he entered his glide to the bench from way too far out. Overall, though, there’s some curiosity here. I’d peg his projection as a middle-six center, potentially a second-liner if he’s able to sort out his play in the offensive zone.

Full scouting report

CUTTER GAUTHIER | LW | Team USA | Philadelphia Flyers | May 15, 2023

Scouting report by Rasmus Tornqvist

Cutter Gauthier is a high-energy power forward-type player. He’s very impressive physically, especially for a player his age, and extremely hard to knock off the puck. When you combine this with his work ethic, you get a player who’s a pest to play against, whether he’s in control of the puck or pressuring you on the forecheck. I was very impressed with the hand-eye coordination Gauthier showcased in this game. He was able to control bad passes impressively while also batting pucks out of the air right to his stick. Gauthier definitely showcased his work ethic and physical game too and wasn’t afraid to finish his checks. When losing control of the puck, he made sure to keep the pressure on in the offensive zone, which also caused trouble for the opposition. Gauthier showed some nifty passing abilities and didn’t hold onto the puck for too long. Instead, he utilized quick passing plays to beat opponents. There weren’t too many parts of his game that I wasn’t happy with in this game, as I think he even showcased good support on the defensive side of the puck. If there’s one thing I would’ve liked him to show more of, it would be puck protection and driving to the net, as I felt he stayed on the perimeter a lot. All in all, I thought it was a very mature game by Gauthier, where he wasn’t trying to do it all by himself but still used his skills and strengths to both his and his team’s advantage. I do think he could have had a good shot at making Philadelphia’s roster next season had he not opted to stay in college for another year. That being said, another year of college hockey definitely will not hurt him, and the Flyers will be getting a very exciting player on their roster for the 2024-25 season.

Full scouting report

LANE HUTSON | D | Team USA | Montreal Canadiens | May 15, 2023

Scouting report by Rasmus Tornqvist

Lane Hutson is a wizard with the puck on his stick. While it’s clear that he won’t dominate games with his size and reach, his hockey IQ and exceptional puck skills make him one of the most intriguing prospects on defense outside of the NHL. Despite his limited size, he uses his stick effectively on defense and reads plays well in the neutral zone, allowing him to break up potential counterattacks. Once the play transitions, he quickly recognizes the best option for a breakout. He can deliver the puck on his teammates’ blades in stride, make a simple play to ensure the puck exits the zone, or carry it up the ice himself. He employs body fakes and crossovers adeptly to outmaneuver opposing players on zone entries and at the blue line. As a smaller player, he struggles the most in one-on-one battles, occasionally finding himself on the wrong side of opponents and unable to recover due to his lack of physicality. In that regard, I believe another season of college hockey is the right decision for him at this point, and I expect him to join the Canadiens for the 2024-25 season. Given his intelligence, skill, and above-average skating, it wouldn’t surprise me if he earns a spot in the NHL lineup right from the start. Canadiens fans should be excited about what the future holds.

Full scouting report

CARTER MAZUR | LW | Team USA | Detroit Red Wings | May 23, 2023

Scouting report by Aaron Vickers

Carter Mazur is a relentless forward with an impressive skillset that he’s managed to display well on a stage that isn’t necessarily kind to younger players. He’s a bit of a buzzsaw on the ice, constantly navigating all areas of the ice with quick feet and an annoying personality. He’s willing to battle in the corners and in front of the net in the offensive zone, and he shows plenty of confidence in his puck skills, rightfully so, and is willing to try anything in his arsenal to create scoring chances. He’s always finding a way to be around the action, and there’s rarely a loose puck within a 10-foot radius of the net he’s not trying to get his stick on to do something with. He rarely turns his back to the puck, too, relying on his skating and pivots to make sure he’s keeping eyes on things as they develop. He’s willing to engage physically, which bodes well down the road when he fills out a bit more. He battles just as hard in his own end, too, which shows signs of maturity at a young age. His stature, slight and of average height, might be the only thing that prevents him from making a significant impact, but he’s certainly got top-six potential at this stage and should be considered to be a gem in the prospect pool for Detroit at this stage.

Full scouting report

MATT CORONATO | C/RW | Team USA | Calgary Flames | May 23, 2023

Scouting report by Rasmus Tornqvist

Matt Coronato is a high-energy winger who consistently seeks to make plays with the puck. While he thrives on possessing the puck, his versatile skill set and relentless work ethic also make him a valuable option for playing further down the lineup. In this particular game, his work ethic stood out to me. He made his presence felt every time he was on the ice, whether it was assisting the defense on rushes against, pressuring the opposition on the forecheck, or battling in front of the net in the offensive zone. Despite his smaller stature, Coronato did not shy away from physical contact and often emerged victorious from those battles. I was impressed by his ability to free his stick in net-front battles and his excellent puck tracking, which led to several rebound opportunities. When he had the puck on his stick, his quick footwork and low center of gravity allowed him to protect it against larger opponents. His shot looked impressive whenever he had the chance to use it, and I particularly liked his ability to hide his release in the skates of defenders. Coronato also demonstrated good puck awareness, often seeming to know what to do next even before gaining possession. On the defensive side, he sometimes became too fixated on the puck carrier, both in the neutral zone where he aimed to disrupt plays and in the defensive zone where he lacked awareness of what was happening behind him. Overall, it was an impressive performance by Coronato, despite playing a somewhat limited role. He effectively showcased many of his strengths, which should excite Flames fans. I would be surprised if he doesn’t spend the majority of the upcoming NHL season playing at the highest level.

Full scouting report


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