Monday, January 26, 2009

Thoughts on Mississauga from January 25

Sunday afternoon marked the 6th time the Niagara Ice Dogs and Mississauga St. Michael's Majors have met this season. The Majors came out on top, improving their record in the season series to 5-1. It was a hard fought and back and forth game which required 8 rounds of the shootout until Michael Pelech finally netted the extra time winner, going top shelf on Jeremy Smith.

Thoughts on a few Majors...

Brett Flemming - NHL Draft Eligible in 2009

Continues to impress me. I'm not sure how CSB has him ranked so low, unless it's a size concern (although he's not miniature at 5'11). He moves the puck up the ice really well and seems to make very smart decisions with it. At the point on the powerplay, he's just a very smart player who's able to read and react to situations and he has the ability to get the puck to the net. He's also not afraid to jump into the rush, but seems to pick his spots well and rarely gets caught up ice. Skating wise, he seems to move quite well. Defensively, I don't really notice him, which tells me that he's not doing anything wrong. He engages in the corners and at 5'11, doesn't seem to have too hard of a time handling the physical aspects of the game. Although he did make one bad read in the game and got stepped around by Alex Friesen after going for the puck and not the man. He was paired with Cameron Gaunce for the majority of the game so that tells me Dave Cameron has a lot of confidence in his ability to play too.

Casey Cizikas - NHL Draft Eligible in 2009

Had probably his worst game of the season that I've seen him play. Offensively, he was pretty invisible, which hasn't happened yet in his game against the Ice Dogs this season. However, there are some positives to take away. He still showed great speed entering the offensive zone and was aggressive on the forecheck. He also worked hard on the penalty kill and has a very active stick which he uses to create havoc for players trying to gain the zone. I like the kid and in my viewings of him this season, I'm really not sure where he gets this bad reputation from.

William Wallen - NHL Draft Eligible in 2009

First game I've seen Wallen play this season, since he recently returned to action after suffering a brain aneurysm. He received a lot of ice time, including seeing time on the first powerplay unit, running the point opposite Cameron Gaunce. There were some things I liked, others I didn't. On the positive side, he has outstanding hands. On one occasion, he completely undressed Alex Pietrangelo and took the puck hard to the net, but as unable to score. Pretty impressive to undress Petro because he's not someone who's easy to get by with his long reach and solid positioning. He also did not back down from the physical side of things, which I like to see in my smaller forwards. He was also pretty solid defensively and saw some time on the penalty kill. On the negative side, his skating did not look very good. This is troubling for me because he's only 5'8. It's hard to tell whether he was actually slow, or whether he just looked really slow because of his akward and rigid skating style. But it looked like he was skating in mud, especially out of the gate where his acceleration definitely seems to be lacking. Also, whether it's just a strength thing, but his shot looked really weak. He was trying to get shots on the net, but just didn't appear to show the strength to get off a hard shot. The most glaring example of this was after he got by Petro and headed towards the net, the best he could do was put a low, weak shot at Jeremy Smith's pads. In the end, I want to see more as I liked the effort and I liked the puckhandling ability, however a 5'8 forward with skating issues may have a hard time attracting NHL scouting attention.

Cameron Gaunce - Drafted by the Colorado Avalanche in 2008/50th

Everyone knows how highly I think of Gaunce. He's just a solid player who rarely makes mistakes and who knows how to use his teammates. He did make one terrible play tonight where he was soft on the puck and ended up giving it away after making a desperation pass. The turnover didn't lead to a goal though. On the positive side, he made an absolutely beautiful pass to Jordan Mayer for his goal. Faked the slapshot, then did a slap pass to Mayer infront of the net for the redirect. Showed great vision and that's the type of thing Avalanche fans can expect in the next few years.

Chris Carrozzi - Drafted by the Atlanta Thrashers in 2008/154th

I just can't help but not get excited everytime I see Carrozzi plays. He tends to win games, but he never steals them. He comes out to challenge shooters and he plays the angles well. He has generally pretty good rebound control. I guess in general you could say he's a pretty good technical goaltender. That being said, he doesn't seem to make any difficult stops. A top quality goaltender should be able to steal games for you and should be able to make some saves they have no business making. I've never really seen anything resembling flashy play for Carozzi. I guess you could say that if a goaltender is consistent and you know what you are getting from him, that you have to be pretty happy as a coach. However, if you look at some of the better goaltenders and prospects in the OHL like Mike Murphy, Thomas McCollum, Edward Pasquale, etc. These guys are able to make the big saves, and the unexpected saves. Carozzi, while dependable just doesn't seem to scream NHL goaltender to me.

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