Displays excellent skill set, good size and giddy-up. Wins puck battles and is responsible in his own end. Has a strong two-way game. Moves well with deceptive quickness. Has been stuck on Flint with no help for two seasons. If the World Juniors Under-18 showed us anything, it was that he quickly meshed with different line-mates and outworked the opposition night after night. Grinds away whether it be keeping pucks alive on the offense or with dogged forechecking to turn the puck over. Excellent vision and playmaking ability. A developing player who makes it easy for his wingers and is still blossoming as a scorer.
A heart-and-soul type centre who, to me, has very high upside skill-wise. Gives everything he has when he’s on the ice — even when he’s dashing off on a line change. Can play a physical game while generating offense. His work ethic is his most valuable tool. Plays with intensity, particularly when rushing the puck up ice and in the corners. His vision, smooth skating, and deft stick handling allow him to enter the zone with control and make a great first pass in the o-zone. Good on face-offs and is trusted enough to play both PK and PP. His pass and shot in-tight are effective, though you would like to see him wind up and rip a wrister more often. Excellent edges when generating o-zone plays. He backs up and circles going inside-to-outside on his edges, allowing the seams and play to open up in front of him. Maybe more of a playmaker than a finisher at this stage, but the potential to score is there.
While he didn’t play on a high caliber team in Flint this year, that may have been just what he and scouts needed to see where his upside lies. Not only did he take on a leadership role, he was counted on to play heavy minutes, generate offense, and be reliable in any situation. A solid two-way centre who needs to round out his strength if he wants to maximize his ‘grinder’ potential. He’s made strides in his hockey sense as the season went on. However, he may still have room to grow there. In particular, if he can enhance his ability to ‘see' how the offensive play can progress - a few moments further in time - his skill set will make him a coveted centre who can play anywhere in the lineup. Perhaps a Nazem Kadri type player + coveted defensive zone awareness. Uses his stick well to tie up players and is willing to play hard down low, along the boards, and in the corners. A true 'grit-grinder' with offensive upside that coaches will love.