I think this is what Beachie has now dubbed Johnathan Huberdeau. We have had the privilege to watch this kid play a couple of games now against the OHL's two best teams (and some say the 2nd and third best Junior teams this year). I hope you get to watch him play because he is absolutely magical with the puck. Here is what I have seen so far.
Let's just get a few declarations out first. I have not seen Landeskog or Laarson play and I cannot say who is better. I am not advocating a draft pick one way or another. I am only looking at two games and I am aware that anyone can have a good two games, so I am only reporting what I have seen, not the Junior career.
I said after the first round of playoffs that the Avs should really look at this kid, and I stand by that now (only because he has kept up his pace, other wise I would not bring that up again). Last night against Owen Sound he took control of the game in the third period and the OT, eventually getting the game winner with a wicked shot. The first two periods he was a bit quiet but I thought he still played good, the Attack were really physical and tried to take him off of his game. What we missed was Hishon's play against Hubbs. I wonder how Hubbs would deal with things such as a pesky tenacious player like Hishon. The one real knock I have on Hubbs is that he is not as fast as I thought he would be. He is not slow, but he is not blazing either. His passing ability would be amazing to see in the Avs uniform for the next 10+ years. He hit his teammates repeatedly in the slot for them to make a goal but the teammates let him down. He very easily could have had 4 assist in the third period alone. He is a tough player and has a strong stride to break through poke checks. He shields the puck well. His back checking was great also, breaking up 3 great chances for the Attack, so he is fast enough to track down someone. I am very impressed with his physical play and his board work. He peals off the boards with a torrent amount of power (has a good explosive ability) and keeps the puck on his stick. Simply put he is the best player on the Saint John team and we are taking about a potential four 1st round picks. If we do draft Hubbs then I will be excited, and you should too. If we pickup someone else then I will be excited because we got someone better then Hubbs and that is saying a lot.
Just a side note on a few other observations. Hishon is everything as advertised and more. My concern is his size and in that first game he showed size doesn't matter (TWSS or at least I hope they say that). I have not seen that mean of a player in I don't know how long. He has that old school mentality of "I am going to score on you and then pound you then score on you just because I can". Heaven forbid someone doing the same thing to him, he is going to knock you teeth out, just ask Strome. I know most people need a year in the AHL to build up to the pro game, but I don't think Hishon needs that time, he is mean enough to compete now, and he can play the game at a very high skill level. The best thing I can say about Hishon, the Attack was just a good team without him in the lineup.
Jordan Binnington has been amazing this tournament. He is never out of position and is very poised. I haven't seen a bad rebound and the first and last goal (cant remember the 2nd goal) he gave up against Saint John was not a bad goal and is a goal no goalie would have made. If he falls to the 4th round this could be a guy who the Avs might pick up. I never put stock in a goalie for one season let alone three games. But what does catch my eye is his positioning, he could give Elliot and Budaj some pointer about positioning.
Nathan Beaulieu is a guy I have seen a lot of mock suggest we pick up at number 11. His first game I was completely unimpressed. I do like his moral character, but not enough for a number 11. He has great speed just wished he used it. His one great play I saw he took advantage of a tired Owen Sound team that could not get off of the ice, His goal was all Huberdeau in the first game. I wished he used his size more. Ultimately picking Beaulieu would be like picking up a Skoula. I think he would have been torched several times if Hishon was in the line up.
I hope you guys are watching these kids play because they play with insane amount of intensity. These games are nasty and a showcase of some amazing skill. I am shocked at how good these kids are. I am now a fan of Juniors. Way better then NCAA.