The Erie Otters skated to a Thanksgiving Day 7-0 matinee rout over the Mississauga Steelheads. The win capped off three games in four nights, scoring 17 goals en route to a perfect 3-0 record – remaining undefeated in five October games. Below are notes on three drafted prospects for the Maple Leafs, Capitals and NY Islanders.
Mississauga defenseman Trevor Carrick (Carolina 4th rnd, 115th – 2012) is the lone Steelheads player featured. The talented blueliner has scored six goals and tied for the team scoring lead with Dylan Smoskowitz, while building on a 2012-13 season where he scored double digit goals (10 – six at even strength) and 0.55 points-per-game.
Freshly anointed OHL Player of the week, Otters captain recorded helpers on the opening two goals – both by Dane Fox – lining up alongside Connor McDavid .. worked hard along the boards winning the puck battle before passing it to the middle finding Fox for the first Erie goal .. skated on the first penalty killing unit – and the lone PK forward in a 5-on-3 situation – showing usage versatility and coach’s trust, appearing in every situation .. patient with heads up vision, looking for options, however guilty of the occasional overhandle – including a circling around the zone and along the blueline in a show of excess .. lined up on the left side despite being a right winger .. backchecks with purpose supporting the defense with an active stick and quick feet .. can sometimes play too deep covering the center duties instead of as a winger high in the defensive zone .. pushes the pace with acceleration and quickness.
Finesse winger, oozed stickhandling and puck control skills, starting on his off wing and lining up on the right side – occasionally drifting back towards to the left .. glides on a wide skating base with quick feet and long extension in an efficient stride .. capable of quick cuts and lateral shifts .. couple with first two-step quickness, he closes gaps defensively, or gain separation with another gear while cradling the puck .. played a transitional role in that he looked like he would cheat a bit to get the quick jump on the offense and push back the point men into center ice to create breakout space .. sets up defensive coverage just enough to maximize turning up ice quick .. tight turning radius, particularly with the puck .. strong and compact release on a sizzling wrist shot .. first inclination upon engaging players is stick checks and as ‘the layer’ behind puck battles in defensive zone duty looking for loose pucks .. lacks natural belligerence and doesn’t really engage physically, but he’s deceptively strong on his skates, and difficult to knock over, standing up multiple aggressors off the rush .. a slight upgrade in edge will make the jump to the NHL.
New York Islanders 3rd round pick in 2012 (65th overall) extended his point streak to an OHL career high, five games (5-1-5-6), quietly amassing two assists in the 7-0 trouncing of Mississauga .. offensive production didn’t set him apart in this contest, receiving heavy ice time, with some shifts taking short breaks in between before jumping back on the ice for a crucial play or game condition – like killing penalties .. used in all situations including first unit PK and PP duty .. small peeve, he holds stick at his waist in almost all situations including in the defensive zone which costs him the ability to wrangle pucks that come close to him slipping through the delay to get his stick from the waist height to the ice .. almost had a shot deflect off his stick into the net with the Otters shorthanded, but the puck hit the post softly .. good positional instincts .. rarely jumped into the rush – not that it was required in this game – but maintained good presence on the point with pressure in the offensive zone .. solid, yet quiet two way performance.
Relatively untested with excessive pressure, and very few second attempts, typical of a 7-0 rout facing one off shots and some power play pressure .. received some help from his defensemen clearing the few rebounds and keeping his viewing lanes fairly unobstructed .. generally trapped pucks to negate second chance opportunities .. covered his angles well while challenging shooters by coming up to the top of the crease .. showed size when facing potential shooters, becoming a target with few holes .. recovers back to his feet quickly from the butterfly and gets good pushes from post to post as the play moved behind the net .. good, quick glove hand .. generally an average appearance in an unchallenged blowout.
Carolina 4th round pick in 2012 (115th overall) has already scored six goals in 10 games (10-6-4) only four shy of his 10 goals in 2012-13 OHL career high and much more involved in the offensive zone on an anemic Steelheads offense .. plays with a little bit of a nasty edge, subtle in movements with undertones of purpose in intention .. victimized by the high end skill of the Otters first line, no different than teammates that struggled to keep up with the superior puck movement .. defensively sound, gaps are tight and can angle off opponents to cut their space quickly .. quick off the hop, his first two-step acceleration is excellent .. heads up vision and long outlet passing was exhibited with a long bomb from just above the face-off circle catching a teammate at the opposition blueline, tape to tape, hard and crisp .. balanced, agile and very strong on his feet .. mature sense of when to jump in deep off the point and when to join the rush .. a difficult game to gauge the offensive end of his game without much opportunity to score, but not fair to judge defensively based on the team lacking the defensive acumen to stop the potent and skilled Otters front lines.
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