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I had prime seats to see the London Knights host the Windsor Spitfires Friday – center ice, luxury box. Needless to say, it was a beauty – and afterwards, I had the pleasure of talking prospects with an NHL scout – he looked through the DobberHockey Fantasy Prospects List and with the understanding that the list measures a player’s potential in terms of points only, he was able to give me quite a bit of insight.
The opinions of a scout need to be taken with a grain of salt. While scouts are certainly more qualified to give the opinion, it also needs to be understood that if scouts were perfect then every player ever drafted would be in the NHL and the annual Draft would be reduced to three rounds.
First, some thoughts on the prospects in the game.
John Tavares (projected first rounder this summer) – This was the eighth time I watched him play live, but the first time since he was traded to London. Similar to what I witnessed in Oshawa, he dominated when challenged, but was rather ordinary when he wasn’t. The difference is really quite shocking. For 35 minutes, the only reason Tavares wasn’t completely invisible was because of a couple of terrible giveaways and a couple of half-hearted swipes at the puck defensively that was almost embarrassing to watch. With about five minutes left in the second, the Tavares of legend finally arrived. He drove hard to the net, protected the puck, got off some shots and started bulging the twine. It was night and day, the difference in his play and in that respect I was reminded of Alexei Kovalev. He ended up with two goals, but if he played the first 35 minutes like he played the final 27 (the game went to overtime), the Knights would have won 8-0.
Nazem Kadri (projected first rounder this summer) – He was noticeable throughout and made things happen even in the first period when he wasn’t on Tavares’ line. A smart hockey player who was probably knocked off the puck a little too much.
Trevor Cann (goalie, drafted by Colorado) – Unimpressive. I was told by a friend of mine to watch how he gives up the weak rebounds and how he will often get burned on the second shot. Sure enough, it seemed as though every goal on him was scored that way. I don’t think I saw him make that rebound save until late in the third period.
John Carlson (defenseman drafted by Washington) – He was the best player on the team in the first half of the game. They had him on the left wing for the power play initially and he scored two power-play goals that way. He loved to shoot and generally made