Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2015 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Sports is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! The following is a complete listing of all our 2016 Draft Articles.
Its almost here, draft day. With 75 full NHL Draft scouting reports in the books, I now make a number of shorter write-ups over the next few days to take us over 100 prospects ranked and reviewed. If history is any indication, some of these players will get taken in the fourth, fifth, and sixth rounds. In my opinion, they will be big time steals at those picks. Yesterday, we did players 76-80; and today we move on with five more.
2016 NHL Draft Scouting Reports: Players 81-85
#81 Zach Sawchenko, Goaltender, Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL) 6’1″ 179 lbs
Sawchenko is one of the rare CHL goalies who has two full seasons as a starting goalie prior to his first year of draft eligibility. He played 51 games for Moose Jaw and put up a .916 save percentage this season. Sawchenko also represented Team Canada at the 2014 Under 17 Hockey Challenge, 2014 Ivan Hlinka Tournament and 2015 IIHF Under 18 World Championships.
At just 6’1″ tall, Sawchenko is on the shorter side of top goalie prospects. However, he makes up for this with outstanding athleticism and a never say die attitude. Sawchenko has a habit of making jaw dropping saves,with one of the quickest glove hands in junior hockey. He also has very good technique. Sawchenko gets down in the butterfly quickly, and also gets back to his feet just as fast. He moves side-to-side extremely well, and tracks the puck better than most goalies his age. Like many of his peers, Sawchenko could work on his rebound control. He also has good puck handling skills, and acts like an extra defenceman for his team.
#82 Jordan Sambrook, Defence, Erie Otters (OHL) 6’2″ 187 lbs
Sambrook had a hard time getting a lot of ice-time on a deep Erie Otters squad, but when he did get the chance he often impressed. Sambrook scored nine goals and 27 points in 61 games. He added four assists in 13 playoff games. His season was even more impressive when you consider he didn’t play any OHL games as a 16-year old.
Sambrook is another smooth-skating defender. He is quick in both directions, and his mobility helps him to be an effective two-way player. Strong pivots and agility allow Sambrook to quickly transition from offense to defence, and vice-versa. He has strong passing skills, both in starting the transition game, and working to set-up plays at the blue line. Sambrook has puck poise, patience and agility to walk the line and open up passing and shooting lanes. When he does find a line, he can fire a tape-to-tape pass to a teammate, or fire an excellent shot on goal. Defensively, Sambrook is strong along the boards, and clears the front of the net well. He shows the grit and tenacity needed to get the job done against bigger forwards, and the footwork to keep attackers in front of him
#83 Jonathan Ang, Centre/Right Wing, Peterborough Petes (OHL) 5’11 162 lbs
Jonathan Ang was very strong in the second half of the season and playoffs. He followed this up with a strong showing at the NHL Draft Combine. This is helping him to climb draft boards as we approach June 24th. Ang finished the season with 21 goals and 49 points in 68 games. He was at his best in the playoffs with nine points in seven games. Ang played for Team Canada Red at the 2015 Under 17 World Hockey Challenge.
Ang has blazing speed, as he is one of the fastest skaters in this draft class. He also has outstanding acceleration, and very good edgework. He can be extremely dangerous off the rush, but he does not always take advantage of his speed. Instead of going wide on defenders and driving to the front of the net; he is often content to pull up and try to set up a teammate. Ang has a good shot and release, but does not use it enough. He possesses real skills, and could score more goals, but is often a little bit too unselfish in the offensive zone. Ang is also good defensively, as his coaches already trust him to kill penalties and play in important defensive situations.
Ang could be a diamond in the rough though. A team that is able to help him develop, and properly harness those skills could get a real draft day steal. He is also a bit undersized, and will need to add muscle to his frame going forward.
#84 Ben Gleason, Defence, Hamilton Bulldogs (OHL)
Ben Gleason started the season with the London Knights, but was traded to Hamilton after only two games. He had a tough time getting ice-time in London, and the move to Hamilton was a real benefit for his development. Gleason got more and more ice-time as the season went on. He benefitted from injuries on the Hamilton defence, as they gave him the opportunity to show off his skills. He seemed to improve as the season went along, getting better at both ends of the ice. Gleason scored seven goals and 32 points in 62 games for the Bulldogs.
Gleason has excellent mobility, which allows him to play a very effective two-way game. He has very good edge work, agility and pivots; allowing him to cover a ton of ice. Gleason’s defensive game improved as the season went on. He got better at winning battles along the boards, and in front of the net. Gleason also became more willing to throw big hits. He is another prospect whose game will improve with added muscle. He also improved offensively, as he showed big improvements in his passing game. He became much better at starting the transition game as his first pass greatly improved. He can be prone to turnovers at times, but this was dramatically reduced as the season went on. Gleason took over the role of powerplay quarterback after Cole Candella was injured.
#85 Jacob Cederholm, Defence, HV71 (SHL) 6’3″ 187 lbs
Cederholm has come up through the HV71 system, and captained their U20 team this past season. He also got called up to play nine games in the SHL, getting in his first action in Sweden‘s top men’s league. Cederholm was also a leader for his country at the Under-18 level as he was the captain of the silver-medal winning team at the IIHF Under-18 World Championships.
Cederholm has outstanding height at 6’3″, but is a bit skinny and could stand to add some muscle. Cederholm does not have much of an offensive game, but is excellent in his own zone. He has outstanding hockey sense, reading the play well and anticipating opponents passes. He uses his size and long stick to intercept those passes, and can make a good pass to start the transition game. Cederholm has very good positioning and gap control. He keeps his body between attackers and the net. He is also not afraid to sacrifice himself and block shots.
Check back tomorrow for another NHL Draft Feature.