With the 2023 Kubota CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game days away, NHL Central Scouting has granted a behind the scenes look at their evaluation of players involved in the game.
The OHL has 15 representatives led by Owen Sound Attack captain Colby Barlow while two of the top defensive prospects in the 2023 NHL Draft in Beau Akey and Cam Allen hail from Ontario.
NHL Central Scouting has provided the CHL scouting reports of all players that will take part in Wednesday’s game, detailed below, as they look to catch the eye of scouts ahead of the 2023 NHL Draft that will take place June 28-29 in Nashville, TN,.
The 2023 Kubota CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game airs live from the Langley Events Centre on TSN, TSN.ca, the TSN App, and RDS on Wednesday, Jan. 25 at 10pm Eastern.
Please note: the following scouting reports have been lightly edited for clarity.
Very good skater with speed and quickness – Plays a high pace game and provides great energy – Two-way player that plays a responsible game with a strong work ethic – Very good on special teams – Good skill and creative offensive ability – Good playmaking ability – Plays bigger than his size.
Powerful skater that is difficult to knock off the puck- Can beat defenders wide with speed as well as dangle and breakdown 1-on-1 in tight quarters – Intelligent offensive player that puts himself into high-quality scoring areas with consistency and can finish from all over the offensive zone– Possesses elite finishing ability – High-end shooter (all-types) – Team leader and captain that plays physical and with a bit of an edge –An elite goal scorer that is not intimidated by opponents or physical play – Hard worker that can play both a physical and a skilled game – Highly versatile and a big asset on both special teams’ units – Impressive all-around package – NHL power forward.
Nick Lardis — Hamilton Bulldogs (Team Red) 42GP / 19G / 32PTS
Elite skate that is both quick and fast – His quickness creates space for himself and he is able to pull-away from defenders – Plays with top end speed which allows him to open options and space off the rush – Strong shooter with finishing ability – Heavy shot that quickly jumps off his stick – Ability to get it off in gear and beat goaltenders from distance – Gets himself into scoring areas both off the rush, on the power play and in offensive zone play- Quick hands and reactions to finish in tight – Distributes the puck with zip and accuracy – Has good vision, creativity and execution with puck – NHL level skater that can both set-up and finish.
Power forward potential – Strong skater for his size – Good offensive player with strong instincts – Good hands and puck skills – Playmaking ability – Dangerous shot that he finds a way to get off and has sniper ability – Can be physical and a handful to play against – Dangerous power play player – Size / skill package is rare – Former fourth overall pick by Windsor who will continue his OHL career with Kingston after being the key piece traded to Kingston for Shane Wright.
Impressive combination of size, skating, physicality and puck skill – Plays a hardworking and effective two-way game – Handles and controls the puck well in all areas of the ice – Strong shooter with finishing ability – Gets himself into scoring areas for quality looks with consistency – Smart player that’s used in all situations – Confident and patient with the puck in offensive zone and very effective from the dots down – Can hold and shield until options open up – Protects the puck and can power thru defenders while maintaining control – A load to handle when driving to the net – Makes plays in heavy traffic and sets-up chances in tight – Has the physical tools and smarts to develop into an NHL power forward.
Cerebral player, very smart and always in the right positions on both sides of the puck – A strong and highly effective 5-on-5 player that is also used in all key areas and special teams situations – Great poise with the puck, takes his time and makes the right and often creative decisions – Willing to battle and fight through contact – Can fit pucks through tight windows and consistently executes difficult reads with speed- Very nice touch with the puck – Very smart and crafty – Makes lots of subtle, often under appreciated plays in all three zones – Good awareness to feel contact and roll-off – Slippery and difficult to contain in the offensive zone – Able to shoot in stride and changes angles to get shots through – Strong and creative plays off the cycle – Can weave thru offensive zone traffic with the puck and make difficult reads – Fights through abuse and is willing to give it back – Will play physical and battle – Excellent two-way player with great attention to detail – Makes his teammates better.
The type of player that makes you notice him all game – Plays hard and with a chip on his shoulder – Involved every time he is on the ice and is a difference maker – Highly skilled player that is dangerous as both a shooter and playmaker – Plays on both special teams and is a key contributor – He has taken a huge step in his draft year and has been a key leader on the number one team in the OHL – He is the type of player you don’t like to play against but you love to have on your team.
Versatile player that can play anywhere in the lineup and contribute – Strong skater with good speed and power – Very good size and is hard for the opposition to handle – Very good puck skills and is an offensive threat – Excellent accurate shot that has a sniper ability to beat goalie’s clean – Very dangerous power play player – Two-way player – Power forward upside.
The front-line type of centre that NHL Clubs covet – He’s an NHL skater with excellent offensive tools to generate and finish scoring chances – Can attack and create in multiple ways – Impressive work along the offensive zone boards – Quick and agile moves to create space plus strength to hold defenders and execute through contact – Strong on skates and utilizes counter hits very well – Execution to fit pucks through tight spots and make plays in traffic – Eludes coverage and pops into scoring areas for good looks – Patience with puck in offensive zone, hangs onto it avoiding defenders until options open up – Strong shooter that can get his shot off in gear – Top line player that’s deployed in all special team’s and key situations.
High-end skater with quickness and agility – Ability to beat defenders 1-on-1 both off the rush and in offensive zone traffic – Used in all special teams and key situations – Top line player that heavily relied upon in all facets in Erie – Team leader – Handles and distributes the puck effectively – Maneuvers himself into scoring areas with regularity – Gets open for quality looks off the rush and cycle – Elusive, difficult to contain and can beat defenders in multiple ways – Vison and creativity with the puck and makes difficult reads to set-up teammates for scoring chances – Works, competes and battles in all three zones – Willing to pay the price to get chances – Takes hits to make plays and plays physical when the opportunities are there – Impressive package of skating, skills, smarts and work ethic.
Elite skater who plays top minutes and all situations, very good hockey sense and transition game with and without the puck, impacts the game – Excellent skater with a smooth fluid stride – Very mobile in all directions which he uses as an asset in his two-way game – Provides offence from the back end – Strong puck mover as well as rusher and can get the puck moving up ice quickly – Good positional defender who uses smarts and positioning to contain – Has good vision on the ice and can make plays as well as find ways to get his shot through to the net – He is a strong contributor on both the power play and penalty killer and can be relied upon to help his team in any situation.
Extremely competitive player that shows up for battle every night – Plays with an edge to his game and tries to be hard for his opponents to play against – Mobile skater that can play a two-way game – Good puck mover from the back end – His shot is an asset and he gets it quick and heavy on net – He can be a punishing hitter – Contributes in all situations.
Oliver Bonk — London Knights (Team White) 41GP / 9G / 28PTS
Excellent modern day two-way d-man – OHL rookie that has adapted to the league very quickly and is a major contributor for his team – High hockey IQ – Threat on the rush from the back end – Very good puck mover that can break out and transition the puck quickly – Smart defender that uses his size and range to keep guys out of danger areas and has a great stick to shut down plays – High upside player.
Very good skater with strong mobility – Excellent puck mover from the back end – Sees the ice very well and can transition the puck or rush it – Playmaking ability from the back end – He doesn’t make many mistakes – Asset on both special teams especially the power play – Good positional defender – High hockey IQ and can be relied upon in any situation – Plays big minutes for his team – Smooth transition from the NTDP to the OHL.
Charlie Robertson — North Bay Battalion (Team Red) 14GP / 7-4-1 / 3.42 GAA / .881 save percentage
A good, pro size goalie that covers the net very well – Challenges the shooters well with good angle play – Got a solid upright stance with his catching glove highly positioned – Shows good quickness dropping in the butterfly and flaring out the pads – Good at sealing the ice and five hole – Very good compete and is quick to recover back to his feet – He shows good focus and patience – Shows good quickness and athleticism – Does a good job of absorbing the shots off the ice – Got good feet and efficient crease movements – With increased development he’s got a good pro upside.