Saturday, August 2, 2014

30 Teams in 30 Days - St. Louis Blues

The St. Louis Blues are up next and their only two OHL prospects were players acquired at this year's entry draft.

Robby Fabbri - Guelph Storm
Anyone who reads this blog knows how highly I think of Fabbri (had him rated of Dal Colle and Ritchie for this year's entry draft). While I might be the only one with that opinion, I'm certainly not his only fan. Anyone who watches Fabbri is instantly mesmerized by the energy, effort level, and skill that he brings to the ice. He creates offensive chances in so many different ways. He forechecks as hard as anyone in the league and has the patience and poise to set up plays off of turnovers, rather than force things. He uses his speed and stickhandling ability to create room for himself to operate off the rush. Despite his smaller stature, he's incredibly slippery and a difficult player to check. That "elusive" quality exists because his hockey sense and vision are superior qualities. He does have a tendency to take some big hits, but that's because he plays hard and isn't afraid to take a hit to make a play for his team. With how smart of a player he is, matched with his skill level, I just don't see his size as an issue moving forward. As he returns to Guelph next year, he'll be counted on to run the show and be an offensive leader for a team that is losing the vast majority of it's top 6 players. Defenses will be allowed to key in on him a little more than they were this year. I think he'll be up to the challenge though and I see him cracking the 80 point mark yet again. For all of his strengths, I would like to see him work on his game inside his own zone though. A lot of the turnovers he forces occur in the neutral zone or in the opponent's end. He has the brains and the intensity level to be a terrific two-way player and I think that's something he'll look to improve next year.  

C.J. Yakimowicz - London Knights
Yakimowicz was an interesting selection by the Blues. Truthfully, I'm not sure OHL fans (and scouts) were able to get a terrific grasp this year on the types of things he's capable of doing in the future. He came to the Knights around midseason after bouncing around a few different teams (USHL, Tier 2). He didn't see a ton of ice time, but made his presence felt physically. He's a really big kid who seems to thrive in the "dirty" areas of the ice. That said, he looks like the type of player who could develop a power game and become a pretty solid puck possession type of center. Truthfully (as I alluded to), I don't think I got a great read on his offensive skill set. There looked to be some skill with the puck, especially off the rush and with his size he could develop into a finisher around the net. Next year in London, there will be heavy competition to replace a few spots in the line-up (of players turning pro). I'd expect Yakimowicz to receive a bit more ice time and to give us a better idea of what type of player he's going to become (other than just a physical workhorse).

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