Scouting Winnipeg's new team

TED WYMAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:17 AM ET

WINNIPEG - Winnipeg's NHL team has strong goaltending and a solid foundation of young players to build upon, but needs to add depth, particularly at the forward position, in order to be a surefire contender.

“This team has a core to build around but lacks the overall depth needed to carry them into a position to be a lock for a playoff spot in 2011-12,” said an NHL Eastern Conference pro scout.

“Free agency is key for them as they have limited depth in the minors. They are a team that could go either way in the next few years. Amateur scouting will be key.”

We asked our scout to assess the former Atlanta Thrashers roster and comment on each player who finished the 2010-11 season with the club.

He also provided an overall grade for each position, with the forwards scoring a B-minus and the defence and goaltending each rating Bs.

The scout ranked each of the team’s units in the top half of the league, with the goaltending coming in at ninth, the defence at 11th and the forwards at 14th.Bear in mind, this assessment comes before free agency and the roster is certain to change considerably before the puck drops at MTS Centre in the fall.

But this gives us an opportunity to see what this team has to offer and judging from our scout’s assessment, it should be a team that, at very least, is in the mix for a playoff spot.

FORWARDS

Nik Antropov

C, 31, Kazakhstan

  GP G A P +/- PIM
2010-11 76 16 25 41 -17 42
Career stats 679 172 240 412 +49 569

SCOUT SAYS: Top-6 skill. Crafty with the puck. Has a wow factor but consistency and game-by-game, shift-by-shift motivation is a problem. Possible PK guy. 2nd unit PP.

Eric Boulton

(UFA), LW, 34, Halifax, N.S.

  GP G A P +/- PIM
2010-11 69 6 4 10 +1 87
Career stats 549 27 46 73 -18 1150

SCOUT SAYS: Role player who has a tough time and is hanging on at this level. The effort is always there but his skills and overall reads are not.

Alexander Burmistrov

C, 19, Russia

  GP G A P +/- PIM
2010-11 74 6 14 20 -12 27
Career stats 74 6 14 20 -12 27

SCOUT SAYS: Vision is good and he can set good layer passes and break through seams in the offensive zone. Sees the ice as a chess board. Good player who is destined for top-6 designation.

Patrice Cormier

C, 20, Moncton, N.B.

  GP G A P +/- PIM
2010-11 21 1 1 2 -5 4
Career stats 21 1 1 2 -5 4

SCOUT SAYS: Young player who seems to be figuring it out quickly. Has two gears and agility to go with puck skill. A good young prospect who can play now and will only get better.

Radek Dvorak

(UFA), RW, 34, Czech Republic

  GP G A P +/- PIM
2010-11 66 7 15 22 +22 24
Career stats 1118 215 341 556 +1 394

SCOUT SAYS: 3rd line piece who can skate. His stick is busy and he is capable at killing the odd penalty. He hasn’t found his stride here. Low-end, third-line skill guy. I wouldn’t have much interest.

Evander Kane

LW, 19, Vancouver, B.C.

  GP G A P +/- PIM
2010-11 73 19 24 43 -12 68
Career stats 139 33 36 69 -10 130

SCOUT SAYS: Hasn’t reached his full potential yet. On-ice demeanour and attitude are improving. Has a good touch and finish and is dangerous in the offensive zone with room to shoot. Is getting stronger. Top-6 with special team attributes.

Andrew Ladd

(RFA), LW, 25, Maple Ridge, B.C.

  GP G A P +/- PIM
2010-11 81 29 30 59 -10 39
Career stats 402 92 116 208 +32 219

SCOUT SAYS: Has surprised of late with his attention to details and ability to get into open ice for scoring positions. Intelligence drives his game. Good second-line player.

Bryan Little

C, 23, Edmonton, Alta.

  GP G A P +/- PIM
2010-11 76 18 30 48 +11 33
Career stats 282 68 81 149 -2 95

SCOUT SAYS: Has the speed and aptitude of a decent second-line player. He is a puck carrier but doesn’t really have high-end puck skill. Puck finds him.

Ben Maxwell

C, 23, North Vancouver, B.C.

  GP G A P +/- PIM
2010-11 12 1 1 2 -7 9
Career stats 32 1 1 2 -10 17

SCOUT SAYS: Has the overall look and skill of a future NHL regular. He has the skill but has a tough time with the speed of the NHL. Still a prospect who could likely find a home on a team’s bottom 6. Similar to Brett MacLean in that regard. Heady type who relies on his crafty puck skill. Should have a chance to make this club.

Rob Schremp

(RFA), C, 24, Fulton, N.Y.

  GP G A P +/- PIM
2010-11 63 13 13 26 -20 16
Career stats 114 20 34 54 -23 26

SCOUT SAYS: Individual puck skill is top end. Not a great sense of the game and his overall IQ is not there. Minor leaguer.

Jim Slater

C, 28, Lapeer, Mich.

  GP G A P +/- PIM
2010-11 36 5 7 12 +4 19
Career stats 371 47 53 100 +4 280

SCOUT SAYS: Skates well, good energy player with secondary scoring potential. Good at both ends of the ice.

Tim Stapleton

C, 28, Forest Park, Ill.

  GP G A P +/- PIM
2010-11 45 5 2 7 -10 12
Career stats 55 8 2 10 -12 14

SCOUT SAYS: No report.

Anthony Stewart

(RFA), RW, 26, La Salle, Que. 

  GP G A P +/- PIM
2010-11 80 14 25 39 -10 55
Career stats 185 18 33 51 -14 93

SCOUT SAYS: Top-6 skill. Crafty with the puck. Has a wow factor but consistency and game-by-game, shift-by-shift motivation is a problem. Possible PK guy. 2nd unit PP.

Chris Thorburn

RW, 28, Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

  GP G A P +/- PIM
2010-11  82 9 10 19 -4 77
Career stats  354  28  43  71  -12  438

SCOUT SAYS: Tries to play the heavy but doesn’t see much respect from opponents in that category. Fourth-line role type who has limited hockey IQ. Acquired taste.

Blake Wheeler

(RFA), RW, 24, Robbinsdale, Minn.

  GP G A P +/- PIM
2010-11 81 18 26 44 +10 46
Career stats 244 57 70 127 +42 145

SCOUT SAYS: I have always questioned the attitude. Skill is there. Has a decent touch on the puck but is limited in physical battles. An underachiever who is a risky signing. If he puts it all together he could be a decent 2nd liner. I don’t see him getting there.

FORWARDS OVERALL GRADE: B- or 14th in league

 

DEFENCE

 Zach Bogosian

(RFA), 20, Massena, N.Y.

  GP G A P +/- PIM
2010-11  71 5 12 17 -27 29
Career stats  199  24  35  59  -34  137

SCOUT SAYS: Poised for long term success as a 2nd set hybrid-type. Physicality is ahead of schedule. Offensive attributes will come. Top 4 piece on any team.

Dustin Byfuglien

26, Minneapolis, Minn.

  GP G A P +/- PIM
2010-11 81 20 33 53 -2 93
Career stats 341 75 87 162 -17 361

SCOUT SAYS: Unique blend of power and skill. Bomb of a shot. Decent two-way player who has many diverse attributes. Foundation is there to build around.

Tobias Enstrom

26, Sweden

  GP G A P +/- PIM
2010-11 72 10 41 51 -10 54
Career stats 318 25 145 171 -6 178

SCOUT SAYS: Originally anticipated as a one-way type puck rusher who has added stability to his game in his own end. Two-way defenceman who is a threat in open ice. Skating is refined. A good piece on any team.

Johnny Oduya

29, Sweden

  GP G A P +/- PIM
2010-11 82 2 15 17 -15 22
Career stats 382 20 76 96 +36 189

SCOUT SAYS: Good hockey IQ, in his own zone in particular. Has the size and uses it well. Especially good at puck-tracking in his zone and can kill penalties.

Ron Hainsey

30, Bolton, Conn.

  GP G A P +/- PIM
2010-11 82 3 16 19 +3 24
Career stats 488 34 135 169 -30 238

SCOUT SAYS: Has a fair bit to offer at both ends. Agility is there. He skates pretty well but top-end speed is average. Intelligence gets him out of many situations. First pass is usually good.

Freddy Meyer

(UFA) 30, Sanbornville, N.H.

  GP G A P +/- PIM
2010-11 15 1 1 2 -7 8
Career stats 281 20 53 73 -20 155

SCOUT SAYS: Low-end piece who has likely peaked and would offer up as a 6-7 guy. Skill is still there. On the gradual decline.

Mark Stuart

27, Rochester, Minn.

  GP G A P +/- PIM
2010-11 54 2 4 6 0 47
Career stats 306 14 27 41 +29 308

SCOUT SAYS: Power type who is a low-end 5, more of a pretty steady 6. Defensive zone play is safe. A piece here, but hard to see him as a top-8 asset.

DEFENCE OVERALL GRADE: B or 11th in league

 

GOALIES

 

Chris Mason

35, Red Deer, Alta.

  GP W L SOL SO GAA SV%
2010-11  33 13 13  1 1  3.39  .892
Career stats  286  128  99  30 21  21  .911

SCOUT SAYS: OK backup who can give you performance at a decent price. He carries his glove hand low and it hurts him at times. Average with the puck. Doesn’t roam a lot and plays it pretty safe. Top one-third of backups in the league.

Ondrej Pavelec

23, Czech Republic

  GP W L SOL SO GAA SV%
2010-11  58 21 23 9 4  2.73 .914
Career stats  119  41  51  16 6  3.03  .908

SCOUT SAYS: Bona fide starter. Has the quick extensions that give him the ability to sit back a little more than most. Agility is an asset.

GOALIES OVERALL GRADE: B or 9th in league


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