This week’s prospects include Brett Howden (Moose Jaw Warriors), Alexander Nylander (Mississauga Steelheads) & Vladimir Kuznetsov (Acadie-Bathurst Titan).
Brett Howden – Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL)
Born: March 29, 1998 – Oakbank, Manitoba, Canada
Weight: 190 lbs.
A two-way forward who uses his large frame to his advantage standing in front of the net screening the goalie and collecting rebounds. Will battle hard in front and in the corners with a real physical edge. He won’t drop the gloves but plays a game that suits his size. Has a real long reach that he uses to protect the puck. Has shown much improved play in the defensive zone over the season and is a real mature puck distributor. Skating needs some work and he needs to remember to keep his feet moving away from the puck.
Grade: Howden has all the tools NHL teams look for in a high draft pick and he most likely will play in the NHL but how much he can contribute on a consistent basis is the question. A-
Alexander Nylander – Mississauga Steelheads (OHL)
Born: March 2, 1998 – Sodertalje, Sweden
Weight: 170 lbs.
Dynamic skating ability with a very strong lower body. Real sharp on his edges and can turn and pivot on a dime. Highly skilled forward with a high level of compete and determination in his game. Real soft hands around the net and very creative stick handling ability. A pure goal scorer’s shot but also a very high skilled passer who will put a pass right on the tape in mid-stride. Terrific offensive instincts who has quite the highlight reel of goals already.
Grade: Nylander has the potential to be first line NHL player as early as next season. Older Brother William is waiting in the wings in the Toronto system. A+
Vladimir Kuznetsov – Acadie-Bathurst Titan (QMJHL)
Born: February 18, 1998 – Russia
Weight: 215 lbs.
A real big bodied kid in a man’s body. Had trouble adjusting to the North American style and got off to a slow start but really turned his game on in the middle of October. Still has some growing to do but uses his size to protect pucks along the boards and always comes away with the puck from the corners. Likes to shoot and does so with a heavy release and good accuracy. He needs to let his feet catch up with the rest of his body as skating is a weak spot in his game.
Grade: Hard to imagine Kuzentsov is still growing but once he stops, he will have a good combination of size and skill to go along with his intimidating size. B-
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