Late First Round Power
Zegmus Girgensons – C/RW – Dubuque (USHL) – 6’1 – 201lbs – Shoots L – January 5, 1994
I list Girgensons here, but he may not make it past pick 15 with the year that he had. A Latvian native, Girgensons is an extremely large and formidable presence on the ice. He has a strong skating stride that is much more fluid than you’d expect. While he might lack the mean streak of a true power-forward, knocking him off the puck can prove to be fairly difficult. He’s great in traffic and plays a responsible, two-way game. The lack of competition at the USHL level alarms some scouts, but the overall package for Girgensons is tough to miss on. He’s got great hands for a power-forward and scored goals in a plethora of ways this year. He was drafted by both CSKA Moscow of the KHL and the Kelowna Rockets of the WHL, but he’s currently slated to skate with the University of Vermont next year. Girgensons still has a lot to prove as the level of competition he plays against increases in difficulty, but he was a man among boys at the USHL level. You don’t see a lot of big forwards with the hockey sense that this youngster brings to the table.
2011-12 Dubuque Statisitics: 49GP – 24G – 31A – 55PTS – 69PIM
Colton Sissons – C/RW – Kelowna (WHL) – 6’1 – 189lbs – Shoots R – November 5, 1993
Sissons started the season red hot, scoring 20 goals in his first 35 games played for Kelowna. However, through the final 23 games, he only managed to score 6 goals. Sissons, to me, has a lot of boom/bust potential. He could just as easily become a top 6 threat as he could a 3rd line grinder. Sissons plays an extremely physical brand of hockey but has a good set of underrated skills backing up his power. His release is violent, his attitude is consistently sharp, and he will skate directly through any obstacle that presents itself. Sissons major flaw lies with his skating. His stride can only be described as unique. If he can continue to pick up acceleration, he should be fine, as his top end speed is solid. Perhaps his most attractive attribute outside of his power is his ability to consistently play at both ends of the ice. Sissons is a power-forward in every sense of the word, the question is, where will the rest of his development drop him en route to a chance at the National Hockey League?
2011-12 Kelowna Statistics: 58GP – 26G- 15A – 41PTS – 62PIM
Stefan Matteau – LW – USANTDP – 6’1 – 207lbs – Shoots L – February 23, 1994
You won’t have a hard time finding Stefan Matteau on the ice. The son of New York Rangers hero Stephane Matteau, this young man has a penchant for finding the crease and making the lives of defenders trying to box him out completely miserable. Matteau’s skating is a very, very large issue heading into this draft. He is neither mobile or graceful. His offensive toolset is limited. The goals he scores will be down low, in front of the cage, banging away like an animal. That being said, there’s no one better in this draft class at battling in front of the net. Matteau’s other large issues are with his consistent inclination for stepping over the line, both on and off the ice. Matteau spent a majority of this year suspended. He’ll need to up his skating level, tone down his attitude, and exhibit a bit more distribution ability to make it big. That said, we know that he encourages a physical game, and that bodes extremely well.
2011-12 USNTDP Statistics: 18GP – 6G – 4A – 10PTS – 93PIM
Thomas Wilson – RW – Plymouth (OHL) – 6’3 – 203lbs – Shoots R – March 29, 1994
Tom “The Train” Wilson is the first true agitator we come across in this list. When you have a young man who is 203 pounds and says his main goal is to get bigger, you pretty much get a good idea of what you’re dealing with. Wilson is an intensely physical presence who had a very poor regular season in terms of offense despite the decent ice time he received. Wilson’s offensive game is surprisingly good for his stature, but his skating needs some serious work. Like Matteau ahead of him, you can find him in front of the net quite frequently. Wilson fights quite a bit and could potentially pick his spots a little better when doing so. He’s good for one “Subway Sandwich of the game” type hit every night. He’s a talker on the ice and loves to cause trouble on the ice. He followed up his disappointing regular season with an exceptional run in the playoffs. Wilson needs to be a bit more aggressive on a consistent, shift-by-shift basis. It’s tough to judge what he projects into, but the intangibles are certainly there.
2011-12 Plymouth Regular-Season Statistics: 49GP – 9G – 18A – 27PTS – 141PIM
2011-12 Playoff Statistics: 13GP – 7G – 6A – 13PTS – 39PIM