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DRAFTPRO – EARLY SEASON TRENDS – FALLING

By DraftPro Staff

What a wild and crazy ride this 2020-21 scouting season has been so far.

Some prospects playing a choppy schedule, their leagues stopping for stretches, and then playing again – some leagues starting and then cancelling the season, some prospects moving to different countries on loan to get some game action and some just using this time to focus on off ice physical improvements and on-ice practice where pandemic protocols permit.

All the while our evaluators have been using the InStat service, among others, to make sure we get up-to-date video views on all the active prospects around the world so we can continue to build the book on each prospect who will be eligible for future drafts as well as the 2021 draft, whenever that is.

Ahead of our upcoming February rankings release we met up this past weekend, electronically, to debate those who are rising as well as those who are dropping in each of our personal rankings based on our recent views.

The one name that was getting the most heat as a faller was Joshua Roy a center who was playing with Saint John in the QMJHL.

“This prospect is sublimely talented but lacks the heart or work ethic in many games I’ve seen to be a real difference maker. He seems to want to rely on talent alone and we know from past history that those type of prospects rarely make it to the NHL or if they do, they fizzle out quickly. He recently asked for a trade which was facilitated to Sherbrooke. I guess we’ll see if that changes his play.” said DraftPro Director Dan Stewart.

“I have never been impressed with (Roy’s) play away from the puck. He doesn’t drive the play and hearing that he requested a trade makes me question his attitude” added Draft Prospects Hockey Head NA Scout Jared Brown.

Evaluator Alexandre Gaucher echoed those sentiments. “I really like (Roy’s) skillset and he’s a good player whenever the puck is on his stick, but I just feel like he relies on his skills too much. To be fair, I also think playing for the Sea Dogs wasn’t helping him much as they’ve been a huge disappointment recently, most of their top guns haven’t really improve as much as we’d like them to, especially with their play away from the puck.”

Now this is not to say that the DraftPro team has put him on the “no draft” list whatsoever as he is still considered a premier talent but if he is to work his way back up the rankings this season he will need to put forth the effort to play a strong more consistent game especially when the puck is not in his possession.

Another name that came up as a disappointment in the first part of this unusual season is offensive defenseman Isaac Belliveau who was recently traded from Rimouski to Gatineau in the QMJHL.

“I have Isaac Belliveau dropping. Strong offensive vision and playmaking abilities from the line but his skating stance will need to change for the NHL. Takes poor defensive routes when angling players out, letting them slip by at times. His IQ without the puck can be in question and how much did his offensive output benefit from playing with Lafreniere? My bet is a lot.” said Brown.

“Belliveau was one of the best passers in the entire Q last season, but I agree that nearly all other areas of his game need work.” added Draft Prospects Hockey evaluator Alex Taxman.

Across the pond and big SKA-1946 center Daniil Lazutin has left our talent hounds wanting more as he is near invisible one game and just shows flashes of high-end talent the next. His game is leaving much to be desired in a once first round candidate.

Evaluator Matt Morrison put it this way, “Lazutin has some offensive tools in his game but seems to have lost that confidence. His 200ft game has dipped as well and some of the plays he makes in traffic are pure panic. Think he has room to grow still offensively too produce at the next level as well.”

Evaluator Murray Caldwell adds “Lazutin has become very inconsistent. Some shifts are brilliant and then he stubs his toe. I think he has a lot of talent. I still think he would be a good bet at the next level, but his stock has definitely dropped.”

Others who came up in this discussion as names who left our evaluators disappointed for one reason or another included Francesco Arcuri, Matthew Knies, Carson Lambos, Jimi Suomi, Stanislav Svozil, Peter Reynolds and Ty Murchison.

And even though these names all underperformed over a short period in time, or that our evaluators saw holes in their games that concerned them and raised a red flag, there is no reason to believe that any area of weakness cannot be addressed.

It is just that time might be running out to do so.

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