This week on Friday Prospects, I had nothing to write about. Honesty, eh? However, I did go to the Griffins game last night, so I decided to push Friday prospects until Saturday (gasp) and do some serious scouting. For a little change of pace, I'm gonna write a bit about my general impressions of the prospects involved in the game.
The game itself was pretty entertaining. Unfortunately, a few really good shots and a lack of concern in the defensive zone helped Hamilton get out to an early lead, and keep it as the game went on. The Griffins, last in the division, did not at all look out of place going against the top team in the division. They really turned it on in the 3rd and started a two goal comeback, but despite several promising flurries, they couldn't get it tied up. Hamilton won 4-3.
Logan Pyett: For as good as a player like Mursak has been, Pyett wins the Most Improved Player award... mainly because I thought Mursak showed promise last year, while Pyett was rocky in every outing I saw him. He's much better in his own zone containing older forwards, which is finally giving him more ice time. More ice time's leading to more opportunities for him, leading to more confidence, leading to more points, leading to a much better all-around player.
Travis Ehrhardt: The first time I'd actually seen him live, as all the other games he was a healthy scratch. He showed a lot of promise, I fully expect he'll become at least a serviceable defenseman at this level, with the possibility of becoming a bottom pairing guy in the NHL some day. He's an excellent skater who's patient with the puck despite being a rookie. He had probably Grand Rapids' two best scoring chances in the first, one that he generated with a combination of patience and likely inexperience and indecision. He needs to get stronger, but I was surprised that he got as much ice time as he did.
Jakub Kindl: Still the same as ever. At times, you marvel at his obviously high skill level and drool over the things he'll be able to do in an NHL lineup. Other times, you wonder who's going to be there to make up for his mistakes. He's 100% better in his own end than he was as a rookie, but he still got beat wide a few times, just not bad enough to where he got caught. He's much more physical in the corners but doesn't always come up with the puck. Looks lethal on the PP.
Cory Emmerton: It's hard for him to stand out because he does a lot well without having an elite skill. I read something elsewhere (if I remembered where, I'd attribute it) about how it's not good when he "blends into the game," meaning he doesn't stand out -- not good for a player who was an early second rounder. He did a little bit of that last night, but he showed flashes of his skill. For all that's made of his playmaking ability, I've found that he's really underrated on the penalty kill.
More after the jump, and this week's statistical report.
Evan McGrath: He's taken a step back this year and I'm not sure what it is. It could just have to do with him getting less ice time than last year, when he was on the Griffins best line with Francis Lemieux and Francis Pare. I didn't really notice a whole lot out of him.
Jan Mursak: Scored an absolutely brilliant goal that started with Ritola leading him with a long pass. Mursak really had to hustle to get there and I didn't think he would -- but he's got that really elite speed. He picked it up and did a perfect job protecting it as he went around a Bulldog defenseman, cutting right in front of the net and outwaiting Curtis Sanford (remember him?) as he tucked a backhander into an open net. It was just one of those fearless, high skilled goals. Mursak had an all-around very good night -- one of the best on the night for the Griffins.
Francis Pare: The most surprising thing of the night was getting back and seeing that Pare led the Griffins with five shots. I didn't notice him much. That's not always a bad thing though, as he isn't a player who's going to wow you with the highlight reel stuff like Mursak. He picked up a goal when a Hamilton defenseman essentially shot it into his own net, but it was a nice read by Pare prior to that chance.
Mattias Ritola: One of his better games this season. He was very physical and at time dominant along the boards. He does play in all situations for the Griffins, I really think he deserves a long look for next season. His pass on Mursak's goal was absolutely brilliant placement and awareness for who is on the ice.. Meaning, he put it to where only Mursak could get it, as no other Griffin really would have the speed to finish that play off, but not many players would have the sense to put a pass out there in the first place.
Justin Abdelkader: Clearly an NHL forward in an AHL contest. It's amazing the differences in his game from the guy who played eight minutes a night and hit everything that moved in the NHL. He's great along the boards, always seems to be buzzing around the net. He had no fewer than two devastating hits (clean) that drew a crowd, always played on the edge without drawing any penalties. He had one dominant shift on the penalty kill where he was out for nearly a minute, finishing the shift by blocking a shot, swiping the puck out, and then heading full speed down the ice so the rest of his team could change without getting beat by a long pass. He needs the AHL time to boost his offensive confidence, but he's played a fair amount of NHL games now which has really made the difference for him in his own zone.
Tomas Tatar: The first time I saw him this season I thought, "how isn't he getting more points?" He then proceeded to go on a ridiculous point streak, but he's cooled down since returning from the World Juniors. After watching him last night, the only question I can again ask is, "how isn't he getting more points?" He is just constantly around the puck, and has that knack for going into a corner and pulling it out of four sets of legs. He had a few really nice moves but wasn't able to generate many scoring chances for himself, although he did have a few good set ups. After interviewing him a few weeks ago, when he said he really liked the physical play, I was really looking out for that. Still needs to get stronger, but he's fearless and finished every hit he could, regardless of how big the other guy was.
Daniel Larsson: He's really disappointed me recently, although his numbers are starting to look a bit better. Two of the goals were great shots in the top shelf, but without any screen or deflection, those are usually the ones you'd like to see a goalie have. Another goal was off a generous rebound, but there were two Griffins defensemen standing by who didn't do anything. Larsson just looked a little bit wild tonight, but the fact that he's still playing a ton more than Thomas McCollum is a good indication of where the goaltending situation is at right now.
American Hockey League
|3||Logan Pyett||Grand Rapids||56||7
||2A, +2, 2PIM in 4GP|
|4||Travis Ehrhardt||Grand Rapids||34||0||5||5||-9||32||1A, 4PIM in 4GP
|5||Jakub Kindl||Grand Rapids||49||3||17||20||-9||45||+1, 11PIM in 4GP|
|7||Sebastien Piche||Grand Rapids||9||0||0||0||-1||4||Playing in Toledo (ECHL)|
|8||Cory Emmerton||Grand Rapids||53||8||17||25
||+4||16||1A, +2, 2PIM in 4GP
|9||Evan McGrath||Grand Rapids||52||8
||11||19||-14||25||1A, -1, 2PIM in 4GP
|12||Dick Axelsson||Grand Rapids||17||2||3||5||+1||6||Playing in Farjestad (SEL)|
|13||Jan Mursak||Grand Rapids||55||19||11||30||+11||28||1G, 1A, +2, 9PIM in 4GP|
|17||Francis Pare||Grand Rapids||50||11||15||26
||1G in 4GP
|18||Mattias Ritola||Grand Rapids||49||13||12||25||-6||44||2G, 1A, +3, 4PIM in 4GP
|25||Jamie Tardif||Grand Rapids||54||11||8||19||-9||65||1G, +1 in 4GP
|27||Tomas Tatar||Grand Rapids||40||11||12||23||+6||6||1G, -2 in 4GP|
|28||Sergei Kolosov||Grand Rapids||45
||1||3||4||-6||17||Representing Belarus in Olympics|
|31||Daniel Larsson||Grand Rapids||33
||.905||1-3, GAA down, sv% up|
|35||Thomas McCollum||Grand Rapids||22||7||11
|36||Jordan Pearce||Grand Rapids||5||1||2||0||3.82||.875||Playing in Toledo (ECHL)
|20||Travis Ehrhardt||Toledo||3||1||1||2||+4||0||Playing in Grand Rapids|
|25||Sebastien Piche||Toledo||30||5||15||20||+6||38||1G, 3A, +2, 8PIM in 5GP|
|30||Thomas McCollum||Toledo||4||2||1||0||4.48||.864||Playing in Grand Rapids|
|35||Jordan Pearce||Toledo||26||11||12||1||3.48||.896||2-1, GAA down, sv% up||2 shutouts in 5 days|
|7||Brendan Smith||Wisconsin||29||13||23||36||48||1G, 2A, 12PIM in 3GP
|7||Max Nicastro||Boston U.||29||3||10||13||26||1G, 2A, 2PIM in 3GP|
|16||Nick Oslund||St. Cloud St.||33||4||5||9||20
||1A in 3GP|
|89||Bryan Rufenach||Clarkson||28||5||12||17||47||1A, 6PIM in 3GP
|89||Gustav Nyquist||Maine||29||15||32||47||14||1G, 6A, 2PIM in 3GP
|24||Jesper Samuelsson||Timra||23||0||1||1||+0||8||Playing in SWE-2
||DNP, DTD (knee)
||-12||6||1A, 2PIM in 2GP
|16||Johan Ryno||AIK||42||6||10||16||+3||30||1A, -2, 2PIM in 3GP||-6 in two weeks|
|--||Adam Almqvist||Troja/Ljungby||0||0||0||0||0||0||Playing with HV71 (SEL)|
Swedish J20 League
|4||Adam Almqvist||HV71||15||5||29||34||+14||14||Playing with HV71 (SEL)|
Kontinental Hockey League
|21||Gennady Stolyarov||HC MVD||0||0||0||0||0||0||Removed from IR||Thanks to Robert for the tip|
|26||Jiri Hudler||Moscow Dynamo||48
Ontario Hockey League
|10||Stephen Johnston||Windsor||9||3||3||6||-1||8||1G, -1, 2PIM in 3GP|
||Traded to Windsor
|18||Brian Lashoff||Kingston||48||6||17||23||-12||67||4A, -3, 12PIM in 4GP
Western Hockey League
|9||Brent Raedeke||Edmonton||39||17||14||31||+4||60||Traded to Brandon|
||19||+7||27||1G, 1A, +1, 11PIM in 4GP
|13||Landon Ferraro||Red Deer||42||14
||26||40||-7||47||2G, 3A, +1, 7PIM in 5GP
|19||Willie Coetzee||Red Deer||61||25||49||74||+8||30||2A, +3, 6PIM in 5GP||Best +/- on team|
|24||Mitchell Callahan||Kelowna||61||19||26||45||-1||139||2G, 2A, +1, 5PIM in 3GP
Quebec Major Junior Hockey League
|11||Andrej Nestrasil||Victoriaville||42||14||29||43||-1||32||2A, +1 in 3GP
|14||Gleason Fournier||Rimouski||49||11||32||43||+1||70||1G, 3A, -4, 2PIM in 3GP
||Best +/- on team|
United States Hockey League
|6||Nick Jensen||Green Bay||38||2||15||17||+24||31||1G, 1A, +1, 19PIM in 5GP|