How is everyone doing? hopefully great, I know myself and Jr Hockey Talk are doing well! Here is the scouting report I did for the USHL/NHL Top Prospects game, was asked to do so for a fellow scout. Here are my thoughts on a few players who stood out!
The USHL/NHL Top Prospects game took place January 8th in Lincoln Nebraska, showcasing the best 2019 draft eligible prospects in the USHL this season. My Scouting report will include an in game grade at the end of each report.
Ethan Philips – Forward – Shoots Right – 5’9” – 155 lbs. – Sioux Falls Stampede – Boston University
Ethan Philips one of seven Canadian players included on the roster for the USHL/NHL Prospects game. Ethan’s from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia although he currently plays for the Sioux Falls Stampede in the USHL, currently having an outstanding year. Ethan Philips heading into the showcase is averaging over a point per game in his seventeen games as a rookie in the USHL. He currently sits with twenty points in seventeen games played for the Stampede. An excellent skater with quick feet and his first three steps are lightning fast. He can turn defenders with ease and reaches top speed instantly. Once at top speed not many defenders are going to keep Ethan to the outside, even if they do achieve that difficult task against him, he simply turns on a dime or makes an impressive move to elude them. The future Eagle displayed it on multiple occasions in the game. Ethan worked the puck in the corner twisting and turning away from defenders, until he eventually pulled a spin move towards the net and nearly buried the puck top corner. To add flare, he was tripped while coming out of his spin which caused him to fall while releasing his shot. Spinning and shooting are not easy tasks on any given day but Philips makes the play seem effortless. Great on his edges and undersized makes him even more agile and elusive, he can play at top speed with the puck under control. He finished with one goal and one assist in the game but was all over the ice generating chances. Philips generated nearly eighty percent of Team Wests offensive chances. He continues to dominate in Sioux Falls in the USHL, he resides with the top rookie scoring leaders heading into the game on January 8th 2019. His only flaw is his height and weight, however he does make up for it by playing heavy on his stick, also with his excellent skating abilities. Ethan back checks hard and his speed allows him to separate easier when breaking out of his own zone. He still has plenty of time to grow as he is only seventeen and his eighteenth birthday is not until May 2019. Gaining size will allow Ethan to be physical along the boards and help with his battling while in the defensive zone. Ethan Philips has tremendous upside and potential.
My Grade: A-
Isaiah Saville – Goaltender – Catches Left – 6’1” – 190 lbs. – Tri-City Storm – University of Nebraska Omaha
Isaiah Saville, goaltender for the Tri-City Storm in the USHL. Isaiah is from Anchorage, Alaska born September 21st 2000 which put him right at the cutoff date giving him a little more time to grow and impress. The young “Anchor from Anchorage” as he is known to his teammates and broadcasters. An anchor he is and also gave Team West every opportunity to gain the lead in the first period. Saville started in goal for Team West and from puck drop until his team finally scored which took over twelve minutes he made three or four outstanding saves. That period of time took the record for the longest amount of time without a goal in the USHL/NHL Top prospects game. Isaiah is a big bodied goaltender that takes up a lot of net and plays a very sound positional game. Terrific at covering his angles and never seems out of position for the next save. He displayed his athleticism the first ten minutes of the game on multiple occasions. Team East had a few odd man rushes that seen cross ice passes make it tape to tape, Isaiah spreading out post to post made the save each time. The Anchorage native has quick reflexes and battles hard through traffic in front of him. With his size already at eighteen years old, he can hold is ground with traffic in the blue ice. His only noticeable weakness was his height, a little over six feet tall so playing against taller players in front of him will be difficult at higher levels. Isaiah allowed one goal against which came in the second period, the netminder faced eleven shots in his nearly thirty minutes of work, and he was tested with ten shots in the first period not allowing any goals. If you follow the USHL regularly this is not a surprise to you, he has been winning since arriving in the USHL ranks. The Future Mavericks goalie won a gold medal at the World Jr A Challenge in 2018 with USA. He has also been awarded goaltender of the week multiple times this season, while leading all USHL goaltenders in goals against average and saves percentage. Isaiah has 1.70 (GAA) and .933 (Sv%) through nineteen games this season. His overall record this season is, 14-2-1-1 with three shutouts. With the right development staff as he continues to progress through his hockey career, it will only make Isaiah Saville better, a scary thought for players playing against him in the future.
My Grade: B+
Jammi krannila – Forward – Shoots Left – 5’10” – 159 lbs. – Sioux Falls Stampede – St. Cloud State University
Finland forward Jammi Krannila born October ’00, has blazing fast speed and will beat majority of players in a race for the puck, one thing that allows him to be successful. Krannila’s story is interesting in how he arrived in the USHL, after being drafted by the Tri-City Storm in the 2017 USHL Phase two draft, he was then drafted the following draft in 2018 by Sioux Falls Stampede where he would end up playing this season. The Finland born prospect played Jr B SM-sarja league hockey in his home country of Finland before transitioning to North America in Sioux Falls. The transition period has been seemingly effortless for the speedy Stampede forward who is ranked C in the NHL Central Scouting Service skaters to watch. Jammi is currently ranked fourth among USHL rookies in scoring with twenty-three points in twenty-nine games played this season, the speedy winger is tied for fifth in goals among USHL rookies and tied for eighth in assists for USHL rookies. The shifty, point producer is tied for the team scoring lead and second on Sioux Falls in goals. A sample of the production he has been able to accomplish in a short time playing in a new country achieving close to a point per game. When you look at strengths and weaknesses the fact that Jammi is only five foot ten inches tall may cause some to shy away from him in earlier rounds. He does make up for it with his incredible speed that allows him to outskate most defenders, not much for digging in the corners but understands the game well. This allows him to be in the right position on the ice. He will impress with his talented hands and has the vision to be a superb setup man in any league. With more time to grow into his body it will only make Kannila more of an offensive threat to opposing teams. Working on his defensive game would be the only area for immediate need of improvement as he tends to stay high in the zone when in the defensive end, not as physical as he should be while defending, however it’s still new to him as this is not the style of game he is used to.
My Grade: B
Kirby Proctor – Defense – Shoots Left – 6’3” – 190 lbs. – Des Moines Buccaneers – University of Nebraska Omaha
The best defenseman on the ice in the USHL/NHL Top Prospects game and made multiple plays in both ends that undoubtedly impressed many other scouts was Kirby Proctor. Kirby hails from Okotoks, Alberta, Canada where he played in the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) before being selected third round, thirty-sixth overall by the Des Moines Buccaneers in the 2018 USHL entry draft. Proctor plays a conservative style game, at an early stage in his career that is always a good sign as he understands his responsibility as a defenseman. Calm and poised when under duress, the Canadian born D-man has good size already at seventeen years of age which allows him to be physical in front of the net, also enabling him to win battles along the boards or in the corners. Kirby Proctor is conservative enough to not get caught out of position, he does not give up odd man rushes unless his partner has likely left him “High and dry.” However, if he does his impressive skating abilities and long reach usually tend to keep attackers at bay. Having a big frame can hinder a player from reaching their top speed rapidly enough while maintaining gap control on the opposing player. This is not the case for the University of Nebraska Omaha Commit as he is able to reach his top gear in both directions rather quickly. At over six foot and nearly two hundred pounds he can turn either way flawlessly and maintain his speed all the while. He displayed this skill on a particular play where he was holding the blue line in the offensive end when a turnover caused a quick transition play, during the turnover without turning around to skate forwards Proctor took a few big strides backwards and seemed to be at the same speed as the attacking player skating forwards. This leads me to the next asset in Kirby’s game which is his offensive abilities. On more than a couple occasions in the game Kirby would be at a standstill on the blue line with defenders closing in on him, and calmly stick handled out of danger and made a play to maintain the zone. A clear indication as to why he is second among USHL rookie defensemen in points. His hands can keep him out of trouble even when caught flat footed, although not a habit you likely will find useful when playing the pros. His skill and creative vision along with calmness and a poised, conservative defensive game he will likely hear his name once the 2019 draft begins.
My Grade: B+
Robert Mastrosimone – Forward – Shoots Left – 5’10” – 158 lbs. – Chicago Steel – Boston University
Robert Mastrosimone one of the highest ranked skaters, ranked B by NHL Central Scouting, to take part in the 2019 USHL/NHL Top Prospects game. First impressions, you’re already sold on Mastrosimone and there is no reason not to be. Talented since entering the USHL with the Chicago Steel where in his rookie season as a sixteen year old he put up forty-five points in sixty games played. Robert was, USHL All-rookie First Team, Named to USA hockey 5 Nations team, Won gold at the World Jr A Challenge with team USA, and played in the USHL All American Top Prospects game in 2018. This year, progression and the same eye opening talent, electrifying skill that will keep you on the edge of your seat while he is playing. The Boston University Eagles Commit is displaying those talents once again as he is a point per game player as of twenty-two games played this season with twenty-two points. He leads his Chicago Steel team in goals and it does not come by surprise as he buried two out of the three Team East goals. He finds the soft areas on the ice and knows how to put the puck in the net. A quick release shot and accuracy that allows him to snipe corners from the circles or beyond, however he is smaller than most would like but he makes plays that not many will ever envision. Tape to tape passes that zip across the ice, seemingly on a string, while always looking to the next open area to generate offense. His skating looks effortless and has no issue finding the so called “top gear” but, is able to turn it up a notch when in a foot race with other players. What shows the most is how fluid he is with his stride and stick handling making him agile and nearly impossible to contain. A defenseman’s nightmare and goalies will likely agree he is a threat every time the puck is on his stick, although he is a crafty, smart and displays a high IQ in hockey sense. He finds areas to draw defenders away from his teammates, a tactic or trait that has been made useful by his ability to make plays from every spot on the ice. Leaving Mastrosimone alone is never a good idea so having to account for him allows others more time and space, not a stat that you can track but an attribute most coaches will tell you is good to have. Working along the boards he is not usually the biggest guy in the battle but hard on his stick and creative in tight areas, he constantly finds his way out with the puck. The Eagles commit always playing with his head up looking for the play to develop in transition and with his speed he can make controlled entries nearly at ease. The NHL hopeful will only have a couple things that will hinder his stock in the upcoming draft, his size like so many others, and his ability to play the defensive end of the ice. The defensive side of the puck will come with coaching and time as it does with so many other players. As for his size, I don’t see that being too frowned upon anymore however as a seventeen year old there is time to grow yet for Robert Mastrosimone. A third round selection is very possible, if he continues to produce at his current pace the sky is the limit for Robert.
My Grade: A-