Top-10 prospects of the month – March 2021
FCHockey’s scouts can be found in all corners of the globe, watching players at the professional level, right down to junior.
They see a countless number of players in action, but there are always those that shine.
Through the 2020-21 hockey season, our team will collect the names of those prospects that have caught their eyes. From standing out in their leagues to impressing at tournaments, from making history to accomplishing remarkable feats for their age, we’ll take a look at the 2021 NHL Draft-eligibles making waves in the hockey world each month.
Here are FCHockey’s top-10 draft-eligible prospects for February 2021, alphabetically listed:
Sebastian Cossa, G, Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)
Sebastian Cossahas come out of the gate extremely strong this season, proving that he was very much worth the first-round consideration he had been gaining without play. He’s still undefeated at 8-0, backing that up with an impressive 1.50 goals against average, a .945 save percentage, and a shutout. If he continues this, he could be a riser as the draft drafts near. He’s earning that consideration.
“I really like his demeanour in net,” FCHockey Donesh Mazloum wrote in a recent scouting report. “No matter what the situation or score his heart rate never seems to exceed 40 beats per minute. That calm bleeds to his team and when he gets into a rhythm he can seem unbeatable. The mental side of his game is what has improved leaps and bounds since he entered the league.”
Colton Dach, LW, Saskatoon Blades (WHL)
The younger brother of Chicago Blackhawks’ Kirby Dach, Colton Dach has started off his draft year very strong, with seven goals, five assists, and 12 points in 10 games. Dach is one of many prospects that could see a late surge up draft rankings as the WHL season rolls on. He – and many others – are showing that that surge is well deserved.
“Dach is tremendous at touch passes, quick passing to exit the zone, and manipulating passing lanes both in stride and at a standstill,” FCHockey scout Joel Henderson recently reported. “He uses his reach and control of the puck from in front to his hip to open passing lanes both on the forehand and backhand. His ability as a playmaker is as a ‘play continuer.’ His head is up so he finds teammates so well, and regains possession down low; moving the puck to an open linemate very quickly.
Zach Dean, C, Gatineau Olympiques (QMJHL)
The QMJHL didn’t have to wait as long as the WHL or OHL to drop the puck, but Zach Dean pretty much did. After missing the start of the season to injury, Dean has been getting more and more comfortable and showing why he should be in the mix for the first round and potentially the top draft-eligible in the league. He’s already collected 10 goals, 10 assists, and 20 points in 23 games, but recently suffered another injury that could sideline him for some time. Still, there should be enough of a sample size to make a strong case for him.
“He’s absolutely fearless in his play,” FCHockey’s Josh Bell wrote a recent report. “He’ll head into traffic/battles with or without the puck and more often than not, he comes out with it. His playmaking may be among the best in class, from his quick, short passes to maneuver traffic, to long stretch passes to open up ice. He has a nose for the net, always looking for the open ice to crash the goalie. His skating is just as impressive, using crossovers through transition, changing his direction and pace constantly, making him extremely difficult to defend.”
Noah Hasa, LW, Halmstad Hammers (HockeyEttan)
Noah Hasa might not be a name that you’ve heard of, but it would be best that you start paying attention to him. The forward was playing with Frolunda before the shut down, and has since been loaned to Halmstad in the Hockey Ettan. The alternate captain for Frolunda J20 had five points in 18 games, adding another goal in seven games with Halmstad. He could very well be worth a late-round pick.
“Hasa is not afraid of competing along the boards or in front of the net, even though he doesn’t have huge body strength,” FCHockey scout Fredrik Haak wrote in a recent report. “He often finds open ice with speed in the neutral zone to be an alternative for his defenders to hit his stick. Even if Hasa did not (see) an obvious entry pass into the zone, almost every time, he made his way directly towards (the) goal to get a deflection or his stick on a rebound.”
Oliver Kapanen, C, KalPa U20 (U20 SM-sarja)
Oliver Kapanen might be deserving of a permanent spot on this list because everytime FCHockey’s scouts lay eyes on him, they come away more and more impressed. Finishing his U20 season with 25 goals, 16 assists, and 41 points in 37 games, Kapanen as been playing with JoKP of the Mestis, where he’s already getting settled with three goals, two assists, and five points in as many games. He looks to be a sleeper pick in this draft.
“You will be hard-pressed to find many forwards in this draft who are better 200-foot players than he is,” FCHockey head crossover scout Derek Neumeier reported. “His focus, attention to detail and work ethic are superb in all three zones. He just always seems to be involved in the play in a positive way for his team. He’s a very sticky player without the puck, both on the forecheck and in the defensive zone, leading to steals, turnovers and pressuring opponents into lower-percentage situations.”
Alexander Kisakov, LW, MHK Dynamo (MHL)
Alexander Kisakov finished his regular season in the MHL with 36 goals, 37 assists, and 73 points in 61 games. That total was second in the league, and top among all draft eligibles. Now in the playoffs, he’s picked up right where he left off, playing at a point-per-game pace with two goals, four assists, and six points in as many games. He’s a very intriguing name ahead of the 2021 NHL Draft.
“Kisakov is incredibly dangerous in the offensive zone when he has the puck on his stick and a little bit of space to work with,” Neumeier reported. “His head is always up and his ability to read the offensive zone is among the best in this draft class. Has a feathery soft touch on the puck and can make one-touch passes in the blink of an eye. Is light on his feet and is slippery to contain thanks to his smooth footwork. Can effortlessly curl or change direction to ease away from pressure.”
Chaz Lucius, F, USNTDP (USHL)
Like Dean, Chaz Lucius missed the start of his season due to injury. And like Dean, Lucius is finding his game in a big way. Through March’s six USHL games, he put up 12 points (seven goals, five assists), bringing his total on the year to 12 goals, five assists, and 17 points in 10 games, adding another 11 goals, five assists, and 16 points in nine USDP games. He’s held onto a top-20/top-15 ranking all season, and it doesn’t look like that’s going anywhere anytime soon.
“Lucius is an excellent puckhandler, regularly beating defenders one-on-one and manipulating space for his linemates in the offensive zone by handling the puck through traffic and physical contact,” FCHockey’s Joseph Aleong reported on the USNTDP forward. “While Lucius has a shoot-first mentality, he is an improving playmaker and uses the threat of his shot to open up passing lanes. His puckhandling and patience with the puck helps him survey the zone and wait for passing lanes to develop, making him a threat to create chances off the cycle.
Nolan Ritchie, C, Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)
Another name that you might not have heard of and another WHLer that’s turning FCHockey’s scouts heads, Nolan Ritchiehas started his campaign strong. After collecting 11 points in 24 games last season, he’s taken a big step forward offensively this season with four goals, 10 assists, and 14 points in 10 games. He’s very much worth your attention if you haven’t taken a look.
“He really is the epitome of ‘work smarter, not harder,’” Henderson reported. “Very often does he accelerate in any zone with any type of urgency. He just seems to be a tremendous support option no matter what part of the ice. He supports players along the boards down low, or the half wall, he glides through the zone presenting his stick as a pass option consistently and seems to know moments to meander in and out of space. It’s kind of effortless.”
Albert Sjoberg, RW, Sodertalje (HockeyAllsvenskan)
While he hasn’t lit up the scoreboard this season, Albert Sjoberg has captured FCHockey’s Swedish scouts attention. Mainly playing in the J20 Nationell season this year, Sjoberg collected 10 goals, three assists, and 13 points in 18 games. He’s since made the move to the HockeyAllsvenskan where he’s added one more regular-season goal in 17 games, and one playoff goal in four games. If you like players that never take the foot off the gas, you’ll like Sjoberg.
“Sjoberg is a player who competes very hard and played a fearless game,” FCHockey Swedish scout Viktor Bergman recently reported. “He’s not afraid to get into dirty areas, there was no hesitation when he blocked a shot, and he was quite effective with his stick. He has a decent frame and even if he is not the largest player on the ice, he seemed quite strong. He used his body and strength to both protect the puck and bump players of the puck. Sjoberg was really solid off the puck as well. He had really good positioning in this game and used shoulder checks to know what is happening around him. He was at the right place all game long and had the awareness to identify if there was a need to cover up for his teammates.”
Olen Zellweger, D, Everett Silvertips (WHL)
Last but certainly not least,Olen Zellwegeris the lone defender on this list this month. Recently named to Team Canada’s roster for the IIHF World Under-18 Hockey Championship, Zellweger has shown some impressive talent on the ice this season. In six games, he’s scored once, adding four assists for five points. If you haven’t seen him yet, you should get a very good look at the upcoming U18s.
“He boasts a pile of translatable tools, plays highly proactive prior to a touch and once he has the puck on his blade, plays a highly aware game that mixes between problem solving and creativity,” FCHockey’s Western Canada head scout, Justin Froese wrote in a recent scouting report. “Always aware of pressure and constantly shoulder checking, looking to tweak a blueprint when going back for pucks and can make plays in motion. Skating is low and compact, keeps pace effectively when defending the rush and can get away with not being physical, using aggressive angles to tighten gaps and to force decisions.”