Nick Merkley: Games notes WHL Kelowna Rockets VS Vancouver Giants Oct 1st/2014

- Consistant heads up play, with an ability to keep momentum going and keep his body open to the ice, allows him to use quick directional changes and changes in speed to keep defenders guessing.

- Elite hand eye coordination with exceptional vision, strong puck skills and ability to maintain control of the puck in small spaces and during/after contact, especially in high traffic areas.

-Changes in speed and quick bursts in acceleration kept defenders guessing, will fake or cut swiftly into the middle, only to create a shift and quickly skate behind the net in rotation.. Evident on Chartier goal drew all defends around with him to pass cross ice for an open net.

-Strong edging and balance on skates make him very hard to track or hit cleanly, very rarely takes a full hit has a knack for minimizing body contact and slips checks; especially along the boards

-1 Goal 2 Assist night, currently the highest scoring draft eligible player in the WHL

Player Profile:

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Rourke Chartier – C – Kelowna Rockets WHL

Rourke Chartier – C – Kelowna Rockets

Shoots: Left

5’11 – 170LBS



Regular Season

72 GP – 24G – 34A – 58PTS, +26 – 8PIM


14GP – 6G – 6A – 12PTS, +3 – 2PIM


After a VERY slow start to the season with only 9 points in the first 2 months and change (including a 3PT opening night and going scoreless in October) Chartier looked a little snake bitten, but he was getting chances, indicating that his game was looking to breakout… Chartier established himself as a go-to in the defensive zone for Coach Huska… Tasked with the majority of Kelowna’s defensive zone face-offs and matching up against other teams top players, Rourke’s game immediately jumps out as well rounded and mature, especially for a 17 year old in a physical league like the WHL… Chartier’s chemistry with WHL rookie of the year, Nick Merkley, was evident and by the mid-season point they formed a very solid 2nd powerplay unit…



A wide stance and low center of gravity give Chartier stability on his blades. Edging is above average but not elite, has adept lateral movement and creates deception for slippery moves to squeak around defenders and create space… Speed is adequate for WHL standards but his first 3 strides give him that extra split second for initial space. Gaining an ability to create a bit more separation would lead to a jump in production and overall contribute to a higher and more consistent offensive output… Look for this in his draft +1 year as other high-end Rockets forwards move on to the next step and Chartier continues to mature physically…



The mental side of the game is Chartier’s biggest strength; from the beginning of the season he has looked efficient and poised with and without the puck… On the defensive side of the game decisions come quickly and often result in disruption of the opposition’s plans… Elite ability to read and react to what other teams game plans are, putting himself in a position to disrupt a pass or create a turnover, with a result that often leads to gaining possession himself or putting it on or the near the stick of a teammate… His physical limitations don’t seem to bother Chartier, as he doesn’t back down from throwing timely hits and competing against the larger sized WHL competition. Quite obvious is his will when wanting to succeed, but remaining disciplined…


A little on the small side, Chartier has shown a willingness to go into the dirty areas of the ice both on the offensive and defensive side of the puck, plays in the slot and around the crease where his stick handling shines, grabbing lose pucks, picking players pockets and blocking shots… At times gets dominated physically along the boards but can be slippery and difficult to contain, the small spaces on the ice are where his stick handling ability really becomes an asset… Finds small passing seams with quickness and authority, would benefit from playing with an elite shooter… Minimal wind up for his shot gives a quick pop off his stick. He looked slightly snake bitten for early parts of the year, so accuracy can be an issue… Seems more like bad luck since Chartier’s ability to track pucks, telegraph plays and knock pucks out of the air is very strong… Has excellent control of his stick in all situations, it is his biggest asset…   


Look for a team to take Chartier in the top 100 picks after a strong playoffs while Kelowna was dealing with injuries, and he saw all the tough minutes against a stacked Portland team in the WHL Western Final..

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Posted by on June 28, 2014 in Uncategorized


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Scouting Report: Madison Bowey – RD – Kelowna Rockets

Madison Bowey – D – Kelowna Rockets

Shoots: Right

6’1 ft. 195 LBS

69 GP – 12G – 18A – 30 PTS


Bowey pushes the pace of the game and has the ability to control the rush, his high end skating ability keeps defenders back peddling as he break out of the defensive zone and work the play thru the neutral zone.  His first steps are quick and allow him to pinch effectively with the ability to recover his positioning.  The key here is his ability to make plays at high speed and how that translates to his NHL future, I see it continuing to develop moving forward but it could use small improvement.



Bowey’s point totals don’t do his pure hockey ability justice from my observations. A coveted right shot D man, that shot was one of the best I saw in the WHL this season (better slap and wrist shot than Seth Jones IMO), his ability to skate at high speed backs off defenders in such a way that he becomes very effective on zone entries. He handles the puck extremely well, and works the line in an elusive manner that helps him maximize the space at the point and work the puck deep to his forwards. Never afraid to make moves into the slot he is hard to track because of his quick first steps and ability to carry the puck with his head up at all times. Difficult to read when making decisions, Bowey has a knack for getting the puck on the net (12 goals in 2012/13) and does so in a variety of ways, one move I found very effective for him was working himself toward the slot faking like was going to pass the whole time only to fire a shot on that routinely fooled goalies and defenders.



A high speed North-South skater with an elusive ability to move East-West, Bowey moves up the ice with a strong and powerful stride, he is a multi-dimensional skater when moving forward and driving the puck up the ice, keeps defenders back peddling and uses his body well. Reverse skating is just as elite and keeps pace when tracking most forwards on the their attack, his quick feet allow him to gamble a bit and recover position easier. He was one of the most fluid defenders in the WHL this season and I would call his skating top 5-7 in this draft.



Gifted with a high offensive IQ Bowey did not disappoint when given the opportunity to preform, however he has made a conscience effort to work on the defensive side of his game and has taken strides in this area, his gap control and timing have come a long way since the start of the season as loose defensive play is rarely tolerated in Kelowna. Gifted with that great reverse stride he closes off opponents quickly and rubs them out with authority, but on several occasions during the season got a little out of control and took unnecessary penalties for being over aggressive (Cross checks, roughing, interference) as his PIMs spiked from 39 in his first full year to 75 this season.



Bowey is a two-way defenseman with potential to have serious offensive upside, his ability to put up points was slightly hampered by the defense first system played by the Rockets, and his general lack of first unit PP time, but when give the opportunity he was very effective, especially when playing with fellow draft eligible player Mitch Wheaton. Bowey a young man who has seen a general lack of limelight because of top heavy draft, looked poised when chosen to represent Canada at the U18, he’s a humble well spoken guy and generally looked excited when I brought up the draft to him. Look for Bowey to be returned to Kelowna after suiting up for a few NHL games, I see a breakout year for him and increased opportunity with a few Rockets possibly moving on, but mostly because he is the best defenseman in Kelowna at this time. Which is a statement that should not be taken lightly. Like most 18-year-old prospects Bowey needs to add some strength and it would not shock me to see him play at 215-220 lbs one day. Tough to project an NHL comparable in this situation, reminds me a little of Subban however should develop into a more elite skater, should be a special player. Could go as high as 15, could slip out of the first round but I doubt it.

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Posted by on June 28, 2013 in CHL, NHL Draft, Prospects, WHL


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Scouting Report: Mirco Mueller – LD – Everett Silvertips

Micro Mueller – LD – Everett Silvertips (WHL)

6’4  – 185Lbs

Shoots: Left

DOB: 21-03-1995


GP: 64, G:6, A:25, PTS:31, -10, PMI: 57

Selected 11th overall in the 2012 CHL import draft, Mueller came to Everett and made a smooth transition to the North American game playing in all situation (PP, PK, 5on5) on the Silvertips top pair and never looking out of place. Skating stride is what jumps out during views. A very smooth and fluid stride skating forward, and already skates backwards at an NHL level.. Shows great agility and appears very light on his feet.. Does not lack in defensive ability or compete level, however a stronger physical presence when clearing the crease and guarding the slot is needed for NHL success.. Must fill out lanky frame to work against bigger competition without compromising smooth stride or quickness.. Very impressed with calm “no panic” play, highlighted especially when clearing the zone or against oncoming forecheckers, could benefit from making decisions a fraction sooner, especially when competition gets faster and more physical.. Looks very solid working the point on the PP and handling the puck along the line in tight spaces..  Passing ability is clean, crisp and accurate.. Has a better wrist shot than slap shot.. Offensive instinct creates chances.. Should achieve moderate point totals at the NHL level.. Scouts have Mueller placed anywhere from top 10 to top 50.. Look for him to go 15 to 30 and return to Everett for the 2013/14 season. NHL comparable: Carl Gunnarrson with more offence..


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A Sleeper pick for the 2013 NHL Draft, Mitch Wheaton D, Kelowna Rockets

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Feedback, Banter, Debate always welcome


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Posted by on October 31, 2012 in 2013 NHL Draft, CHL, NHL Draft, Prospects, WHL


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Korbinian Holzer

Position: Stay at home, Shut down, Defense

Shoots: Right  

Height: 6’3 Weight: 205

DOB: 1988-02-16

2011-12 Stats:

Regular Season: 67GP, 1G, 19A, +7, PMI 68

Playoffs: 17GP, 1G, 5A, +2, PMI 39


-Holzer does not have breaking speed and at times can get burned to the outside or inside by high-speed forwards, however it is rare due to strong position and ability to read the play.

-Directional Changes, pivots and foot work are what help Holzer keep up his strong defensive play, ability to track and follow opposing forwards closely he rarely gives up space when defending, may come off as slower, but position play makes up for it. Doesn’t overreact.  

-Not a defenseman known for his pinching, generally has a head of speed when skating backwards and rare to see him get burned, NHL caliber with his reverse stride.

Puck Skills:

-Shot is accurate but not overly heavy or quick on the release (goal total good example) can be blocked effectively.

-Seems to know effectiveness of his shot therefore plays puck deep to create cycles and has ability to keep play in the zone. Doesn’t force shot, would rather keep play alive.

-Effective using first past to clear the zone or skating out under pressure, relies on D partner, utilizes D to D passes and doesn’t rush clearing attempts.

-Not at all flashy with puck skills, stays poised and makes timely, simple, well thought out decisions. Rarely seen forcing a play.


-Will never be cast as a fighter but brings a tough streak, wont back down or be pushed around and always comes to the aid of teammates during post whistle scrums etc.

-Works hard night in and night out, shows a sense of maturity that seems to come from being an older prospect, having played 2 NHL games and at the Olympics. Speaks well with the media and appears mature and composed.

Physical Play:

-Digs pucks out well and frees up space, pounces on loose pucks

-Although strong on the boards Holzer gets knocked down a bit easier than it seems a player his size should. Could benefit from a bit more core strength.

-Can take a hit to make a play and doesn’t appear shaken up as a result. A Strength in Holzer’s game is separating his man from puck quick and effectively. This helped with a quick Marlies transition game in the 2011/12 season.

Hockey Sense:

-Not a defensive playmaker in the sense that you will never see Holzer lead the rush, true highlight of his game is making his goalies life easier.

-Anticipates the play well, drops back for coverage early and remains in solid position majority of the time.

-Plays below the goal line a little to much at times, would like to see Holzer as more of a net clearing presence; leaning on forwards (D partner was more inclined, coaching?)

-Calm under pressure, usually part of the first shift on ice after scoring or conceding a goal, frequently in starting line-up and mainstay on the PK

-Heavy PK minutes for one of the top units in the AHL all last season. Not overly versatile beyond PK and shutdown D

Defensive Play:

-Defensive play is Holzer’s strong suit, he reads and reacts very well and controls gaps with persistence giving opposing forwards very little time and space.

-Position is always solid and knows what zone his game belongs in, doesn’t stay to high ever.

-Works the slot well and has an active stick in passing lanes, breaking up plays, especially on the PK 

-Ties up opponents effectively but would like to see Holzer clear the crease in a more physical manner to increase effectiveness. 

Psychological Factors:

-Speaks well, knows the language and conducts himself as a professional on and off the ice.

-Constant communication with D partner, leads the defensive charge on the ice. 

In Conclusion, Holzer cracking the Leafs lineup seemed pretty likely especially when Franson committed to Europe for the entire 2012-13 season and they have very little resembling a true shut down D man on the pro roster. It can’t hurt of he continues to develop in the (talent boosted) AHL for this year, but expect him to get a long look if training camps open. His time is now, just gotta wait for the ink to dry on the new CBA

Feedback, Opinion and Debate always welcome.


Leafs most important D Man of the (possible) 2012-13 Season: Korbinian Holzer

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Posted by on October 19, 2012 in Uncategorized


Quick Hits on the Newest Leaf: James van Riemsdyk

Since the JVR for Schenn trade broke earlier today I have spend sometime getting aquainted with the arsenal that van Riemsdyk brings to the Leafs top 6 (more on top 6 later). I put together a few notes to give Leafs fans an idea of whats coming.

James van Riemsdyk:

- Looks quick on his skates pivots well to find open ice to shoot from. Has a good first step and can create separation from defender on the rush. Lets hope his hip problems haven’t slowed him down at all, that speed is essential for him to fit in the line-up

-Has a couple good curl moves that put him into the slot for good shooting position. When he creates a fraction of space he gets his shot off quick to capitalize and looks to catch goalies off guard.

-Hands are good in tight with a soft finish, he seems to hit the top of net with ease, he is shiftier that I would have expected and almost fools goalies by the looks of it.

-While I wouldn’t call it the fastest shot in the league JVR gets his off quick and heavy, can find small openings. He’s shifty in tight and uses his defender well as a screen when backing them down taking advantage of that ability to shoot accuratly into small spaces.

-Comes off the boards well, not sure how well he plays on them, could be more physical with his size and I’m sure he could still fill out at only 23 years old.

Here one of the better vids I saw:

I would Pencil JVR in on the second line for now, which is gonna push one of MacAuthur or Kulemin down the line-up or out of it all together, I get the sense that one (or both) will be moved at some point to make room for the newest addition.That 1st we were apparently offer for MacAuthur at the deadline would look good right now based on who fell in the draft.

Luke Schenn it was great ride, would have liked to see you after a summer with Barb Underhill (Leafs new skating coach who has helped many players get quicker) always liked you, hope you hit your potential, thanks bud.

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Posted by on June 23, 2012 in Leafs, NHL Draft


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