Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Throughout the 2010-11 hockey season, four names will pop up frequently whenever the 2011 National Hockey League Draft is brought up in Saint John. To keep fans updated, we will be posting links and excerpts from any publication that features top prospects Nathan Beaulieu, Jonathan Huberdeau, Tomas Jurco, and Zach Phillips.

If you find any articles, blog posts, or videos featuring any member of the Sea Dogs’ “big four,” send us the info at


The Hockey News’ Ryan Kennedy named Beaulieu the best prospect at the NHL’s Research, Development, and Orientation Camp that was held last week in Toronto.

An excellent two-way defender who knows when to rush the puck and when to pull back, Beaulieu has a chance to make a great name for himself this season on a young and talented Dogs squad. A former defense partner of Vancouver second-rounder Yann Sauve, Beaulieu picked his battery mate’s brain during their time together.

“I was like a sponge,” Beaulieu said. “There are a lot of key things about him that got him drafted so high.”

But Beaulieu could go even higher. His plus-43 rating last year was a franchise record and the fact he has to wait almost an extra year to be drafted (he’s a late birthday) doesn’t faze him.

“This year I could have an even better year,” Beaulieu noted. “I have one more year to develop. There are more positives than negatives.”
The Sea Dogs defenceman also noted that he and his father/former Sea Dogs Head Coach and General Manager Jacques Beaulieu stay close.

“We’d talk after every game,” Beaulieu said. “He was always there for me, just like a father should be.”

A scouting report on Beaulieu from Crash The Crease.

Beaulieu is Sea Dog number three and the only defenseman on this list. A solid puck mover with good size, Beaulieu is an almost text book offensive defenseman. He registers solid numbers on the Saint John powerplay, has a decent release on his shot and ably joins the rush. Not a defensive defenseman by any stretch, Beaulieu will take criticisms for the size of his frame and his offensive ability. He’s got some toughness and has been known to occasionally drop the gloves. It’s tough to see Beaulieu as a first rounder when better prospects like Saskatoon’s Stefan Elliot have fallen into the second round in recent years.
Part if in depth scouting report on Beaulieu from Bruins 2011 Draft Watch.

He's a smooth skater with nice acceleration and an ability to rev it up into another gear, and is a player who isn't afraid to jump up into the play. A strong puck-moving defenseman, he uses a combination of vision, hockey intellect and good hands to set the breakout and help his team with the transition game. Beaulieu is also willing to fight when the opportunity presents, and isn't bad in that regard, with a flamethrower style and a willingness to stand in and take punches to give 'em.

Huberdeau was named the sixth best player at the NHL’s RDO Camp by THN.

With basically the exact same frame as Nugent-Hopkins, Huberdeau, naturally, has to put on some weight himself, but he does bring great instincts to the ice and some nice quickness. Huberdeau was also a member of Canada’s gold medal Ivan Hlinka team and certainly did his part along the way. Draft eligible in 2011.
A scouting report on Huberdeau from Crash The Crease.

Huberdeau is the second of four Saint John Sea Dogs on this list. Unlike teammate Tomas Jurco, Huberdeau is a more methodical player who reads and anticipates the movement of the play well. His lanky frame, quick release wrist shot and hockey sense bring to mind recent Q graduate Derick Brassard. It’s easier to see Huberdeau as a playmaker as opposed to a finisher at the NHL level, though he certainly has goal scoring upside. He’ll have to get bigger if he wants to be a reliable offensive option at the next level. Some scouts have him in their early top ten, but I see him more reliably as a 12-16 pick right now.
Part of in depth scouting report on Huberdeau from Bruins 2011 Draft Watch.

As you might expect, his lack of solid mass and strength works against him at this stage of his development, as he can be pushed off the puck easily and tends to retreat into perimeter mode when the hitting picks up. This player is going to be an interesting one to follow, because his overall game is not all that strong even with his high-end offensive upside. If he struggles with play in all three zones or doesn't show the kind of commitment scouts want to see in terms of going to the traffic areas and being willing to take hits to make plays, you could see a precipitous drop over the course of the year. As it stands right now, however, he's so skilled offensively, that you could make a case that he needs to be No. 3, possibly even No. 2 on the Quebec list, but concerns about his overall package move him down a tad.

A scouting report on Jurco from Crash The Crease:

Watching the Slovak import, one thing leaps out at you. He’s got a skating style that’s a dead ringer for countryman Marian Hossa. But that’s about where the comparisons between the two players would end. Jurco is more of a complimentary player than Hossa, relying on his pure offensive tools to create offence rather than the hockey sense that allows Hossa to dissect a team’s defence. Jurco is less of a puck possession player than an offensive weapon who creates chances off the rush using his superior skating and hands. He definitely projects as a solid second line goal scorer at the next level.
Part of in depth scouting report on Jurco from Bruins 2011 Draft Watch.

Although only average in size (6-0, 180) Jurco skates extremely well, with some real elusiveness and slippery moves. An excellent puckhandler with a bevy of moves, he can also really rip the biscuit as evidenced by his 26 goals as a rookie last year. Another late December '92 birthdate, he's a little older and more mature than a good percentage of the competition, so Jurco should take a quantum leap in his production and play this season. He's made the cultural transition and speaks pretty good English, so watch for Jurco, with minimal distractions, to be one of the more electrifying players on the Q circuit this year.

A scouting report on Phillips from Crash The Crease.

Phillips is the fourth Sea Dog on this list and he gives the impression this year of a player not dissimilar to Justin Shugg from the Windsor Spitfires of last season. Like Shugg, Phillips is a late birthday playing on a loaded team. It’s tough to come up with a real trademark skillset that Phillips has that commands your attention. Is he a good offensive player? Yes, but he doesn’t create the way Huberdeau does or explode the way Jurco can. So, playing with superior talents may inflate his stats but he might also suffer by comparison. Like Garret Meurs in the OHL, Phillips lack of an evident flaw might have him more highly regarded as a likely NHLer for a team looking for a pick in the neighbourhood of a safe third/ second line tweener.

No comments:

Post a Comment