We caught up with Sens chief amateur scout Bob Lowes in Buffalo to talk NHL Draft, get his thoughts on the top prospects and more...
After we wrapped with Lowes for Sens TV I asked if we could talk specifics about some of the potential draftees and he was kind enough to oblige. You can check out his thoughts on a handful of the 2016 Draft's top prospects below...
He's a really good player. A big power forward with skill. He's a top 6 forward who had played some centre this year but I believe he'll be more of a winger in the NHL. That's the best position for him and he gives you some versatility if he can play the middle but I think his best position is left wing. He gives you a little bit of everything.
He's a winner. He's won at every level. He's one of those kids that you can tell loves the game and has a real passion for the game and loves to win. He's not the prettiest guy but he's substance over style. You don't get style points with him you get substance. From the top of the circles down he's really, really good. His a guy you want to add on to your team because he's going to help you win.
He's that big, skilled centre that's hard to find. He's 6'6", got great range obviously, puck protection skills are really, really good but with that range he can hold the puck so it's hard to get it away from him when he sticks his backend out. It's hard for defenders to get it from him and then he can make plays while he's doing that. His skating really improved as the season went on because that was maybe the thing...being able to do all that at pace and I don't think that's going to be an issue because I think his skating is good and it's just going to get better just because once he fills out he's probably going to be 225 lbs guy. So that's a big man with skill.
High-end skill, really good hands...some of the best hands in the draft maybe in terms of pure skill. I was really impressed with how he manages the puck. He doesn't hold on to it too long. He'll bump it somewhere or give it to somebody else to keep the play alive and then can get open again to get it back. He doesn't try to do too much. He subtlety gets the job done by just moving the puck in and then he can hang on to it if he has too. He's a high-end power play player on that halfwall, he can shoot or pass from there and he's a first line power play guy in the NHL.
Speed and work ethic. He gets on pucks, he gets on checks and he uses his speed really well to create separation and to back defenceman off. He can play a 200-foot game because of that speed...get in on the forecheck, get back to put pressure on pucks. He can jump on loose pucks anywhere on the ice and create some offense.
He's a top player in the BC Junior which is an older league as well so he's playing with older players and maybe the skill level isn't like the CHL but he was a dominant player at that level. Also he played at the Hlinka with all the best players and was on of the better players, played at the Junior A Challenge and they won it and he was the MVP there and then he goes and plays at the end of the year and breaks McDavid's record for the under 18 so it isn't just about the league he played in. He's got a good body of work that shows that he's a good player and this kid is a real solid, solid player and solid citizen. Plays a 200-foot game and is very responsible. Can play the wing a bit which will help him in the pros. He's captain everywhere he's been and he's got character combined with his skill level. He's maybe not the biggest guy at 5'11" but he's solid at 190 lbs. He's strong and strong on the puck.
Let's be honest, there's room for those types of players but it's still tougher sometimes but he's a special smaller player which gives him that opportunity to be in the top 10 because of that. High-end skill, broke Kane's records so that's all you have to say but he just brought it all year. You'd go watch him play college games and he was good at every level, every tournament, every game. He didn't have many bad nights, he was pretty solid. He's one of those smaller players that I believe will play.
He's the whole package. Big, can play all situations and, he really manages his game well. I think the biggest thing for him is to get in a little bit better shape so that he can play at a higher tempo for the minutes that he gets. At times the only knock on him would be that he was too casual because they played him so much and I think he just had to manage his game based on conditioning. When he puts it all together he'll play high-end minutes as a top 2 defenseman in all situations.
He had a heck of a year. #1 defenseman on the team that wins the World Juniors, follows that up with a Memorial Cup as one of the top defensemen so that's hard to contend with but he's a real smart player. Still a little bit physically undeveloped maybe but understands what he needs to work on to be better. He's a competitive guy. You wouldn't say he's the most competitive guy but he's competitive because he steps up in the big games and he plays his best. I think he holds himself and is highly accountable on his own. He's a real smart player and has got top-2/top-3 potential.
He's probably pro-ready. Physically he's pro-ready. He's one of those guys that people are being a little too hard on maybe and picking him apart a little bit. He has all the attributes to play a long time in the NHL.
He's probably the best offensive defenseman in the draft. Really, really intelligent. His hockey sense is probably his best attribute and then this hands are probably next. So he combines really good hands with really good hockey sense. Offensively he pushes the play up the ice and jumps into the play. Really good on the power play. Manages the puck really well. We've seen some games where he never turned the puck over. He needs to work on the defensive aspect of the game but the stuff that he needs to work on can be taught. The stuff that he's good at can't be. He has a special talent and special skill-set that is hard to find.
He's a good player as well. He came into the season a little overweight and he'd even say that and it kind of hurt him out of the gates. He got that managed and played in college as a #1 defenseman in all situations and he played at the World Juniors. He's got some good upside to be a top-4 defenseman that will play in all situations as well. Really has the ability to manage his game well, manage minutes. He gives you a bit of offense and is good defensively. He's a really good skater which now is the game and he can do a little bit of everything for you. I like his competitiveness which I think is a little bit underrated at times but I think this kid has really good upside.