Showing posts with label benjamin casavant. Show all posts
Showing posts with label benjamin casavant. Show all posts

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Rocket Casavant launching on to draft radar

Scouting amateur hockey players is generally a straight-forward process. Break a player down beginning with his skating, and work your way into a battle, vision, and two-way skill analysis to properly project their pro potential. Fans will often look at major-junior stat sheets and wonder why players like Maxime Boisclair, who potted 70 goals for Chicoutimi in 2005-06, or Matthew Pistilli, a 20-year old who has scored 80 goals over his past two Q seasons, aren't considered big league prospects. While these guys produced with solid supporting casts, they lack the skating and footspeed to be effective NHL players. In PEI this season, a recently turned 18-year old forward presents an early quandary in the 2009 draft evaluation process. Benjamin Casavant is a bullish, 6'1, 210-pound left wing who has used hands and heart to pace the sub-.500 Rocket with 39 goals and 80 points this season. The St. Hyacinthe, QC native has developed into a leader in his first season on the island. Hard working and intelligent, Casavant goes to the tough spots to get his work done, and is difficult to move when he gets there. Like the aforementioned though, he doesn't have that acceleration and overall swift skating stride to make him an elite prospect, and thus was rated #185 by CSB on their mid-term rankings. So what separates Casavant from his slow-footed major-junior predecessors, making him relevant in the world of Sabres prospects? Let's begin answering that question by posing a few others. Could the Sabres system use forwards with size and ability to finish the dirty work down low? How many 6'1, 210-pound 17/18-year olds have finished 7th in the QMJHL in goals on a below average club? Can skating, like other key skills, be taught and developed through additional seasons of major-junior and beyond? This isn't to suggest that he's a top priority at the draft table. There are no guarantees that his feet will ever come around (an absolute must in a trnasition based NHL), but his overall make-up of offense, smarts, and dedication puts him on the radar. You can teach skating, but you can't teach size and natural scoring ability, making Casavant a potential late-round gamble - especially if they amass some extra picks along the way. Another reason Casavant is draft relevant in Sabreland is simple geography. PEI is somewhat of a lesser-scouted hockey outpost, but it's fair to assume they'd know about Casavant even if he wasn't a top-12 point producer in the QMJHL. Buffalo's Q scout, Al MacAdam, is positioned in the Maritimes and knows Charlottetown well. He was born there, played his college hockey there, and despite not speaking with him before the draft, kept tabs on current Rocket dman Jordon Southorn leading to his 2008 selection. Similarly, Director of Scouting Kevin Devine is an off-season resident of Charlottetown, and was on board with the Sabres 2005 pick of former Rocket Marc-Andre Gragnani before assuming his current position a year later. When in Rome. Regardless of opinions of CSB's rankings, Casavant should rise a few spots when the final list is published in April. If you use CSB as a benchmark, it's worth noting that the Sabres are more apt to go late-round fishing in the Q when a player falls, not rises. Jacob Lagacé slid to the fifth round (134th overall) last season after being ranked the #55 North American skater. Benjamin Breault was the 57th ranked skater in 2006, but lasted to the Sabres pick in the seventh round (207th overall). Louis-Philippe Martin was once the 30th rated player in the 2003 mid-term rankings. He finished the season 50th before the Sabres scooped him up at #266 (9th round).

Sunday, March 1, 2009

2/28 Recap: Biega bags 20; Eidsness commits robbery

Alex Biega had a pair of assists as Harvard downed #6 Princeton, 3-2. The 5'11 defender made a nice play to knock down a Princeton clear at the blueline to help set up the game winner with 8:11 remaining. The power play helpers raise Biega's point total to an even 20 for the year, while the Crimson win gives them a fifth place finish in the ECAC. Unbeaten in their last six, Harvard will faceoff against #12 Brown next weekend in the first round of the playoffs.

At the Ralph in Grand Forks, Brad Eidsness made 24 saves including a show-stopping candidate to make Sportscenter with just over 2:00 left in regulation as #8 North Dakota tied #13 Colorado College, 4-4. With a wide open net greeting a CC shooter about to backhand a rebound, the freshman athletically got across to get a piece of the puck and keep the game tied. Eidsness was excellent down the stretch after poor positioning and a defensive miscue allowed a Chad Rau wraparound goal to pull CC back to 4-4 with just under 8:00 to play. The Albertan will look to improve his 20-8-4 record when the two teams play it back on Sunday.

Andrew Orpik scored his fourth goal of the season to force overtime Boston College defeated Providence, 4-3. Orpik's tally with 7:49 to play completed a three-goal comeback for the Eagles to set up the weekend sweep of the Friars.

In the Q, Jordon Southorn (+3) had three hits, four shots on goal, and an unusual five minor penalties as PEI defeated Saint John, 5-3. The 6'2 defenseman had some nice offensive opportunities while sprinkling in a few giveaways along the way. 2009 eligible Benjamin Casavant piled up three goals, one assist, 13 shots on goal, and eight blocked shots to pace the Rocket. The 6'2, 200-pounder now has 37 goals on the season, and despite below average skating ability, has great hands and a solid work ethic to be the type of Q forward that could garner a middle-round look from the Sabres.

Paul Byron had an assist in Gatineau's 5-0 drubbing of Lewiston. Byron is fifth in the league with 86 points, and will need to put together a run in the final six games to hit the century mark.

A night after a magical six-goal output, Tyler Ennis and his Medicine Hat mates were shutout by Kootenay, 2-0. 2009 eligible Brayden McNabb, a 6'4, 195-pound defenseman, had an assist for the victors to raise his season total to 30 (8+22).

Tyler Myers was even as Kelowna won a 2-1 showdown with the WHL's top team Calgary.

In the OHL, Nick Crawford (-1) had an assist as Saginaw lost to Owen Sound in overtime, 4-3. The point came on a 5-3 power play as the Spirit tied the game with 8:07 to play. 2009 eligible Jordan Szwarz had a goal and an assist for Saginaw.

Dennis Persson skated 17:22 on the third pair, logging two shots on goal in Timra's 3-2 loss to Lulea. The 6'1 blueliner has a goal and five assists while averaging 12:09 of action through 46 games.

Nick Eno made 17 saves as last place Bowling Green lost to Western Michigan for the second straight night, 5-3. Four of the five goals against came on low shots, as two beat him five-hole, one came stick-side along the ice, and another went softly between his right pad and the post.

Justin Jokinen was scratched as Minnesota State tied Wisconsin, 3-3.

Matt Generous sat out as St. Lawrence shutout RPI, 2-0. Generous sprained an MCL in Friday's win over Quinnipiac, and his status won't be known until Monday. The Saint win in conjunction with Quinnipiac pitching a 4-1 upset of Dartmouth 4-1 on Saturday put SLU into fourth place in the final ECAC standings, giving Generous and Saints a break next weekend as the top four clubs earn first round byes.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

2/21 Recap: Twin Tylers dominant; Eidsness hits 20

In Medicine Hat, Tyler Ennis (+2) continued his torrid stretch, netting a season-best four goals to lead the Tigers past Lethbridge, 8-3. The dazzler completed the hat trick by scoring the game winning goal in the final minute of the second period before adding another for good measure in the final frame. Ennis has shredded the WHL since returning from the World Juniors, compiling 20 goals and 34 points while scoring in all but three of the 21 games since winning gold. He now has 35 goals on the season, good enough to eek into the WHL's top-10 in that category, and should get the book of free car washes as Player of the Week after his five-goal, seven-point string. Not to be outdone, Tyler Myers (+1) scored a pair of goals including the game winner as Kelowna gritted their way over Everett, 3-2. Myers was completely dominating in his #1 star effort, showing his versatility killing penalties while taking the game over with his puck carrying moxie. One rush in particular saw the 6'7-3/4 rearguard take the puck, gain speed, and gallop down the right side of the ice into the Tips zone. The Sabres top prospect now has seven goals and 36 points this season. In the QMJHL, Jordon Southorn (-1) had an assist as PEI rode a five-goal third period to an exciting 5-3 win over Quebec. 2009 eligible Benjamin Casavant helped shake off his club's unsavory opening 40:00 with his 31st and 32nd goals of the season to get the Rocket back on track. With the game tied 3-3 at 18:53, J.S. Allard committed a bad turnover right onto the stick of PEI's Ben Duffy, who potted the game winner. Allard finished -1 with four shots for the Remparts in the loss. T.J. Brennan contributed two shots on goal in Montreal's 3-1 win over Saint John. Paul Byron missed his second straight road game due to illness as Gatineau snuck past Baie-Comeau, 4-3 in OT. In the OHL, Nick Crawford (+1) had two assists as Saginaw defeated Guelph, 4-3 in overtime. The 6'1 defenseman helped set-up the game winner to earn his 38th point of the season (7+31). Reigning WCHA Rookie of the Week Brad Eidsness made 17 saves as #9 North Dakota swept the weekend Alaskan set with a 6-2 defeat of UAA. The win gives the freshman stopper an even 20 on the season, making Eidsness just the third goaltender in school history to reach that mark. In Hockey East, Andrew Orpik assisted on the first Eagles goal as #17 Boston College lost to #12 New Hampshire, 4-2. The point was Orpik's second in his last five games, with the senior going without a goal since November 28th. Alex Biega compiled four more shots on goal as Harvard rallied to a 3-3 tie with Clarkson. For the second night in a row, Biega started scoring plays that did not result in his name hitting the scoresheet. He pumped a pass up ice to create the first Harvard mark, and later made a real nice break-up of a 2-1 to start the play that resulted in the game-tying goal with 8:17 to play in the third. Also from the ECAC, Matt Generous was +1 as #20 St. Lawrence thumped Dartmouth 7-2 on Senior Night at Appleton Arena. Nick Eno again played back-up as Bowling Green pitched a 4-0 shutout against fellow CCHA also-ran, Michigan State.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

2/7 Recap: Ennis runs up 10; Brennan awaits word

In Western Hockey League action, Tyler Ennis scored an even strength goal as Medicine Hat outshot Moose Jaw 42-17 en route to a 5-2 victory. Ennis' 27th goal of the year gives him points in ten straight games (10+8), as the Tigers forward has marked in all but two of his 14 games since returning from Team Canada. Tyler Myers (+1) had an assist in Kelowna's 5-1 win over Kamloops. The Calgary native now has five goals and 30 points in 40 games. In an afternoon QMJHL tilt (glog), Paul Byron had three assists in Gatineau's wild 7-5 win over Montreal. All of Byron's assists came on the power play as the Ottawa native ups his season point total to 82. Montreal's Luke Adam and T.J. Brennan each had an assist, with Brennan being tossed in the second period after an elbow on Gatineau's Craig England. England was taken off on a stretcher, while Brennan received a major and a misconduct on the play and may very well be subject to league discipline for the hit. J.S. Allard set-up Mikhail Stefanovich's third goal of the game and 32nd of the season as Quebec defeated Val-d'Or, 6-3. Allard now has 12 goals and 41 points in 51 games (.80 ppg) after averaging .90 ppg in 2007-08. Jordon Southorn was -2 as PEI lost to Acadie-Bathurst, 5-3. A 2009 prospect of mild intrigue, 6'1, 210-pound Benjamin Casavant registered a Gordie Howe Hat Trick for the Rocket with two goals, an assist, and a third period fight. The left wing also had six shots on goal. Ranked 185th on Central Scouting's mid-term list of North American skaters, Casavant has power forward tools with a good knack around the net. His skating needs more attention, but his developing package is one that will likely move up the board before June. He is currently 14th in Q scoring with 61 points (29+32), and is carrying a solid +26 for a team with a .364 winning percentage. Rounding out the QMJHL slate, Jacob Lagacé was -2 with four shots on goal as Chicoutimi struggled in a 5-0 shutout loss to Moncton. In the OHL, Nick Crawford was +2 as Saginaw won at Erie, 5-2. Crawford now is +15 on the season, which ranks second on the Spirit roster. Drew Schiestel was -1 as Niagara was shellacked by Windsor, 6-1. Schiestel went without a point for the second straight game, and has yet to endure a three-game drought this season. In a light night on the NCAA circuit, Nick Eno let in four goals on 12 shots, including two shorthanders, as Bowling Green lost to Northern Michigan, 4-1. In five appearances since returning from a high ankle sprain, the sophomore is 0-4 with a 4.33 GAA and .820 save percentage. Matt Generous (-1) had two shots on goal as #20 St. Lawrence lost to Clarkson, 3-1.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

12/29-30 Recap: Trio drops three; Run ends for Byron

In the DEL, Philip Gogulla had two goals including the game winner plus an assist as Cologne edged defending champion Berlin, 5-4. The goals give the 6'2 left wing a total of 11 in 31 games, a mark equaling his entire 2007-08 output in 51 games. Luke Adam (5 SOG)had a goal and two assists, while T.J. Brennan (-2, 5 SOG) added a goal and an assist in Montreal's 5-3 loss to the Q's top club, Drummondville. The Juniors (20-17-1-0) held a 1-0 lead entering the third period before the five-goal onslaught by the Voltigeurs (31-4-0-2). Jacob Lagacé had two goals and an assist for Chicoutimi in their 7-5 loss at Shawinigan. The '08 fifth rounder also posted eight shots on goal while blocking six to earn the game's #3 star. J.S. Allard took warm-ups but did not play due to a flu bug as Quebec blasted Baie-Comeau, 10-1. Jordon Southorn was -1 as PEI defeated Halifax, 2-1. LW Benjamin Casavant, a 6'1, 210-pound '07 eligible, scored his 18th goal and 39th point of the season for the Rocket while registering six hits. Rounding out the Q action, Paul Byron (-1) had an assist as Gatineau defeated Lewiston for the second straight by an identical 5-4 score. The night before, Byron was limited to one shot on goal as the Piques took the first of two in Lewiston. The statistical shutout ended Byron's 19-game point streak that at one point launched him into the top-10 in scoring. He currently sits 11th with an even 50 points (13+37). Also from Tuesday, Nick Crawford scored a late for Saginaw in their 4-2 loss to London. After a puck caromed off his skate into his own goal earlier, Crawford hit on a blast from the point late in the third period. With the goal, his third of the season, the 6'1 defender now has 22 points in 33 games for the second-place Spirit after scoring 20 all of last season. Dressed as an extra defenseman, Dennis Persson walked into 4:55 of third period ice time as Timra lost to Frolunda, 2-1. Persson sat idle before Eagles bench boss Charles Berglund benched Eric Moe following two periods of poor play. Justin Jokinen was scratched as Minnesota State lost at Yale, 3-2.