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The fifth overall pick in the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft, Cole Fonstad had a breakout season in his second year with the Prince Albert Raiders. He put up 21 goals and 52 assists for 73 points in 72 games. The Raiders would run into the number one ranked team in the league, the Moose Jaw Warriors in the first round. Fonstad scored four goals and an assist in the series, and the Raiders put up a huge fight but lost in seven games. This was a significant improvement on his rookie season. As a 16-year-old, he scored 11 goals and 15 assists for 26 points in 69 games.
Fonstad also played for Team Canada at the IIHF Under 18 World Championships. He was given a limited role on the team and did not score any points in the five-game tournament. Canada would finish first in their group, going 4-0, but would be upset in the quarterfinals.
While Fonstad entered the WHL as a natural centre and played his rookie season in the middle; he moved to left wing this past season and had a lot more success at his new position.
Cole Fonstad Scouting Report
Left Wing/Centre — shoots Left
Born April 24th, 2000 — Estevan, Saskatchewan
Height 5’11” — Weight 163 lbs [180 cm/74 kg]
Fonstad is a very good skater. He has very good top-end speed, which allows him to get behind the defence and create breakaways and odd-man rushes. He reaches that top end speed quickly with excellent acceleration. Fonstad can beat defenders by changing speeds. If he gets a step to the outside, he can turn it up and cut to the net. He can also slow the play down to create space and open passing lanes. Fonstad also has good agility and the ability to make quick cuts to beat defenders. He can stand to add more lower-body strength. This will help him to be stronger on the puck and win more board battles.
Fonstad is an excellent playmaker. He slows plays down and has the patience to wait for plays to develop. Fonstad has excellent vision. He is a very smart player, anticipating where his teammates will be and hitting them with a tape-to-tape pass. Fonstad can put the puck through tight areas, whether it is threading the needle through traffic, or making a saucer pass. He controls the play on the half-boards on the power play, and creates plays from there.
Fonstad has a good release on his wrist shot, and it is accurate. However, it lacks some power and he can have trouble scoring from outside the slot. As a result he does not use his shot often, and that makes him somewhat predictable. Increasing the power in his shot and using it more often will be key going forward. He also does not seem to get that involved in the corners or in front of the net. When he does, Fonstad can be overpowered. He could use a bit more muscle on his frame.
Fonstad’s defensive game is very inconsistent. There are times that he shows a high effort level, cuts down passing lanes, and creates turnovers. There are other games where he seems disinterested in his own end. He can fly the zone looking to create offence. He also can get into the bad habit of puck watching, and leaving his man open. Further coaching in his own end will be needed. One area of particular concern is Fonstad’s work along the boards. This is another area where he needs more upper-body strength.
Projection and Comparison
Fonstad has the potential to be a middle-six winger in the NHL, but he will need to get stronger and work on his defensive game. He has the offensive skills but will need to bulk up before moving on to the pro level. Expect to see him spend another two years in junior, before graduating to the AHL. He is a bit of a project but could be worth it in time. Stylistically, Fonstad’s game resembles former NHLer Alex Tanguay, but this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on talent or potential.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages of Fonstad that are available on youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect on our draft board.
Embed from Getty Images
KELOWNA, BC – NOVEMBER 12: Cole Fonstad #24 of the Prince Albert Raiders warms up against the Kelowna Rockets at Prospera Place on November 12, 2016 in Kelowna, Canada. (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Getty Images) Cole Fonstad;